Wednesday, January 25, 2017

First week in Ecuador!!!

Elder Reynolds and his companion, Elder Jacobs!
Check out his tie that Bishop Nygren gave him to wear on his first day in Ecuador!!

Man I am loving it out here!!! I am so happy to be out of the CCM haha. It is so much different here! The culture, the people, and my purpose is finally real to me!! I am pretty psyched that I finally get to preach the gospel or at least try haha. My Spanish is NO BUENO! That’s about all I know... jk. But it was nice to be able to go to the Mexico MTC because at least there I wasn’t taught by a bunch of gringos... Nothing against the Provo MTC but yeah the Mexico one is better!

Man where to start is hard!! So I got here in Ecuador at about 11 am and from there I had to go do visa stuff and then met with President Christensen at his house. The whole day was so hard to stay awake... The plane ride was alright. Of course I didn’t sleep because I know best... Pfff that was the worst idea I have ever had.. Every chance I got to fall asleep without President Christensen seeing me I took haha. I didn’t want to come across as I didn’t care... I just really, really needed sleep!! So then on Wednesday we got our companions! Elder Jacobs is my new companion. He is pretty cool! He is from North Carolina and speaks really good Spanish but also really good English thank goodness!! I’ve learned that in the CCM they really do only teach you how to communicate ONLY if you are talking about the gospel. The first day we went out I had no idea what was going on. Like literally I just sat there during lessons and pretended like I was understanding by smiling and nodding my head.. It was so hard!!! Especially when Elder Jacobs would nudge me and that was my cue and all I would do was bear my testimony. It wasn’t bad but I so wish I could say more stuff!! It is so true about learning a language…the best way is to just immerse yourself in it. Now I can understand a whole heck of a lot more!! I still can’t talk as fast as I want or say what I want to say but I can understand somewhat of what everyone is saying. The first day we got there we had one lesson and it was pretty freaky. But yeah I only bore my testimony so it was good. The only way to grow is to get out of our comfort zone. I am out of my comfort zone 24-7 here and that is so good for me! Elder Jacobs does a great job at putting me out of my comfort zone.

It's so funny that everyone mistakes me for being Latino. They ask if my parents are Latinos and I say that my mom is Navajo and they are so fascinated by it haha. They don't know the term Navajo so it is just Indians to them!

It gets pretty cold here where I am at in Quito. I am in the poor part of the city. Our apartment is not that great. I miss American showers and toilets. The toilets are so small here!! When I think of American toilets, I think of Elf when he said "have you seen these toilets they are ginormous!" We also have rules in our you can't run 2 faucets at one time like take a shower and run the sink water or else the power goes out. This happened to us and it sucks!! Now the kitchen power is no mas. So now we have to plug our little stove looking thing in the living room area. There is no light in my shower so I have to use that headlamp for light when I take a shower! I feel so spoiled in America now!! And there is no hot water so if you want hot water, you have to let it trickle out slowly almost like in drops and that way it at least stays a little warm but it takes like 10 minutes to shower. Of course, you can't drink the water.

The hardest part of a mission is contacting!! That is where we just knock on doors or go down the street talking to people. Because I put myself in their position and if I was them I would definitely not want to listen. But the culture here is so much different for the better! Well kind of... haha. So we were contacting and a normal greeting is buenos noches..(good evening) So that’s usually all I said and I would stick out my hand to shake theirs and they would be like what the heck... so my comp told me you have to say more to them so that they actually stop! haha It is so freaky. Because they won’t stop unless you get right in front of them and start talking to them. Kind of like forcing them to talk!! Ugh that is not my favorite part but esta bien.(ok or fine).

The first week has flown by for me! It is so fun being out of the CCM! I can’t stress that enough haha. So funny stories of the week! So my toilet doesn’t work and turns out its because it’s been clogged for I am pretty sure decades. lol So we got a plunger and of course one of our investigators is there at the store and so for like 15 minutes we were walking around trying to avoid them because I don’t want to explain why I have a plunger. haha So what also sucked was that the tienda (store) was about 20 minutes away from our casa. So here I am walking down Ecuador with a plunger. A gringo with a plunger.. Yeah.. So I Just kind of put my head down and walked that 20 minutes while my comp was trying to figure out a way to pretend like he wasn’t with me haha!!!! Another story!! So we are in church and before my comp told me to just listen. And I was like listen for what.... So he was like you will know what I am talking about when you hear it. So I was like okay.. And no joke right in the middle of sacrament meeting you just hear a duck!! quack quack quack quack! hahahaha So I guess this guy brings a duck to church every Sunday and just sits with it!! hahaha  The bishop just cracks up and what is bad is the stake president was there this Sunday and he was like what the heck is going on.... lol I couldn’t believe it. I guess the guy had a puppy before and then it died so he got a duck.. hahahaah I don’t know why that is so funny but it is to me.

It is so cool to be out here serving Gods children. It is hard sometimes to get up at 6:30am.. But my comp said it doesn’t matter what you want.. it only matters what the Lord wants. How true is that!! I am solely out here to serve the Lord for 2 years. It doesn’t matter if I feel bad or I am too tired.. It’s not what I want! I am still learning that lesson but how true that is.

The people in Ecuador are so giving and so friendly. The families we go to visit seem like they have nothing but they are so happy and receptive. It is the best. This is definitely going to be the best 2 years. I hope to be able to learn Spanish quickly so that I can help as many people as I can. It was a cool experience for me because we were contacting one night and we knocked on this door and no one answered so we went to the next door and knocked on it and simultaneously both of the people answered their doors! So I was trying to share our short message in Spanish and the lady was sooo nice and I got an appointment!! My first solo appointment!! haha I know the Lord touched her heart because she kinda yelled when she came out but when I started talking I could tell she had compassion and probably a lot of sympathy for me. The Lord is always going to help us when we do His will. Till next week!! Hasta Luego!! (See you later)
Love you all!
Elder Reynolds
Oh if you ever send me a package, it has to be under 4 pounds.

Elder Reynolds, Welcome to Quito!

Elder Reynolds, President Christensen & Hermana Christensen

Dear Brother and Sister Reynolds,
President Christensen and I are so pleased that Elder Reynolds is serving in the Ecuador Quito Mission.  We welcome him with all our hearts and know that the gifts he has been given from our Father in Heaven and the talents he has developed will bless the lives of those with and for whom he serves in a unique way only he can offer.   He has impressed us as an outstanding young man.  His dedicated service will further increase his abilities and character in remarkable ways.
There are currently 182 missionaries in our mission, serving in 8 zones.    Elder Reynolds has been assigned to serve in Quito in the Col√≥n zone with Elder Jacobs as his companion and trainer.  Elder Jacobs is known by the other missionaries as being happy, and positive.
Attached are photos that show Elder Reynolds with his companion, the group of missionaries with whom he arrived, this group with their trainers, and with us. 
Monday is Preparation day when he has internet time to read emails you send as well as write to you. It is against mission rules to chat.
If you would like to send letters or packages, these are mailing instructions:
All mail should be sent to the mission office.  Any letters or packages are then sent by pouch to the zone leader where each missionary is serving. 
Elder Kyle Lynn Reynolds
Ecuador Quito Mission
Calles Robles E4-151 y Av. Amazonas
Casilla: 17-03-078
Quito, Pichincha

The mail system here is very frustrating.  It seems very random that some packages make it through and others don’t. The green customs sticker must be filled out and packages must be under 4 kilos (8.8 lbs.) or they end up in what we affectionately call “Mail Jail” and are either returned or are subject to heavy fees and the officials go through and take out what they deem unacceptable. I understand that there should be no used clothing, and that food items should be limited so that it is not the entire package and should not all be the same thing.
(Kyle said packages need to be under 4 lbs.) 

We know and understand that there is sacrifice on your part both emotionally and financially to support him during this period of full time missionary service and we express our gratitude for your offering which furthers the work of inviting others to come unto Christ and to receive the blessings of the Gospel in their lives. May your family be blessed during this time.

Hermana Christensen
 Arriving Missionaries

 New Missionaries

New Missionaries and Trainers

Elder Reynolds and Elder Jacobs!

Elder Reynolds after a long day of travel!     

I'm Alive and in Ecuador!

Kyle flew out of Mexico City today (January 17, 2017) at 12:30 am! Yes this morning!!! Had a layover in Colombia and arrived in Quito, Ecuador around 11:00 am. Someone from the CCM texted this picture to me and said "best looking zone leaders!!" This is Kyle and his MTC companion, Elder Philpot before they flew out of Mexico. Love these Elders! Friends for life!!!

So the plan is to meet my companion tomorrow and get assigned to my first area! I stay there for 12 weeks with my trainer and then after that it is free game for where I go! Quito isn't as humid as I is really nice! Cloudy. You (my momma) and I would love it here! It kind of looks like a run down San Francisco haha. It is crazy because everyone is right...everything is in Spanish!!!!!! I hope to get a Latino trainer so I am forced to speak Spanish but who knows. The APs are super, super cool people. My new P-day is Monday so expect emails on Monday!! That was a long day of traveling. I am excited though to meet my companion and get to work!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Semana 5: FIVE more days until Ecuador!

We get to hear from Kyle this weekend to hear his traveling itinerary!! He should be flying out of Mexico next Tuesday, January 17 to Ecuador. Last week he was able to go to the Mexico City Temple. This was Kyle's 7th temple that he has been to since he's been to the temple! Before he left, he went to 6 temples in 10 weeks....DEDICATION!!

Holaaaa! I am pretty psyched this week because I finally get to go out and practice my awful Spanish! haha The thing about the MTC is that they teach you so much about the gospel language Spanish, but just out on the streets... Nothing! So it is going to be really really rough I already know that. But I am ready to go out and see what the world has to offer and try my best to bring as many people to the fold as possible! I am so excited to meet new people is the main thing. The Latino people are so friendly. So we were going to the temple last week and our bus broke down! We were stranded for about a good 30 minutes before we were rescued by another bus. So we were able to walk around Mexico for a little bit and the people were so receptive of us! We had no idea what they were saying but it was fun to try and communicate with them!

So this week they are teaching us a lot about what is going to happen outside of the walls ha sounds creepy. But they said a quote that really hit me..."They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." It is so true!! That was a real stress reliever to me because obviously I want to be fluent as soon as possible but you can take the most fluent missionary and he isn't worth anything if he doesn't have the spirit. There is always a universal language which is the spirit. So I am trying to build up my testimony as best as I can day by day.

So funny story! Most important part of the email right? Actually this week is a bonus so I have 2!! So we were in a devotional and we were sitting a little towards the back. It was a really good devotional. The mission president was speaking and really feeling the spirit. So my companion had a bag of skittles with him. Yeah I know its already getting bad.. But let me tell you this before, it took us 4 weeks for us to figure out how to bring snacks to the devotional! The first 3 weeks it was hard to stay awake and of course always hungry... Then this guy sitting next to us was like you want some snacks and of course we were like yeah!! So he reaches under his seat and has this backpack FULL of snacks! Chips, almonds, Powerades, cookies! I was like what the heck have we been thinking! haha So anyways it was a real quiet part of the devotional. The speaker asked a rhetorical question and just had us ponder it for a bit. And so Philpot reaches for his suit jacket and as he does all the skittles fall on the floor! For a straight probably 5 seconds!!! And then they all started rolling to the front and so that made so much noise! Everyone looked back at us and we were just staring straight forward like nothing had happened. oh man that was so funny. I could not focus after that because I was just laughing. We have a good time here at the CCM.

So another story is we were having a district meeting and just going around to everyone.. And we were ending and one of our Hermanas was laughing like crazy. so we were like what the heck is going on. I guess, her name is Hermana Guttery, before she knew a lot of Spanish, during lessons if she didn't know what the verb was she would just use any verb she knew!! I was like what the heck!!? Hahahaha I couldn't believe it.. She would be in the middle of a lesson and just wouldn't know what a verb was and so she would just use a verb she did know and put it in there... Gosh that was so funny. We laughed for a good 5 hours about that.

This week we finally put our skills to the test in volleyball! Me and Philpot straight crushed it! It was about Friday (I think) and the whole time we played volleyball. No joke everyone came and watched us. We were playing King of the Court and we were on there the whole time. We had a crowd and everything!! Probably 20-30 people were watching us play and it got so loud when one of us would hit it. We had a Gringos vs Latinos game and crushed them! It was so fun. Some Latinos knew how to play so it was a blast! Now everyday people give us high fives and what not and ask if we are playing volleyball that day. It is pretty cool. This is literally like a high school haha. Its funny, every time new missionaries come in, Philpot and I go up to them and pretend like we are the big dogs. Just as jokes though promise ;)

I keep forgetting to tell you but the BYU kicker is here! Oldroyd! We are pretty good friends with him now. If you don't know, he is the freshman kicker for BYU who made that field goal in the Arizona game. At least I think haha, I may be wrong but that's what my comp told me.

It is so crazy that I am finally leaving the CCM! I am excited but I know I will probably miss all the amenities here. I have learned that in order to change we have to get out of our comfort zones. I am constantly out of my comfort zone here on the mission. But that's the point! I want to come back a different person. You know how much it would suck to be away 2 years and come back the same person?? NOOOOOO. We should all strive to become a changed person everyday. Do something out of your comfort zone. Continue to build up those around you and make lasting friendships. I have been struggling obviously with the language but the more I share and the more I love people, the better I become at it. It is crazy how willing God is to bless us. He wants us to rely on Him. That is hard for me because I feel I am being selfish if I do that. But truly He wants us to do that.

If I am still alive next week..... I will tell you guys how it went being out of the CCM!!! Love you all!!

Elder Reynolds

His first haircut out in the mission!! He said it is weird having someone else cut his hair because he's use to his momma cutting his hair! He said it was going all good and he thought she was done and then she started cutting it even shorter!hahahaha

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Semana 4--Two more weeks in the CCM!

I cant believe it is already Week 5 for me!! It is so crazy to think that. It seems like just yesterday I was getting on the plane and every night I go to bed I am like wow another day in the books. It is so true the way missionaries describe it. Weeks feel like days and days feel like weeks. I am so excited though that I technically still have like 2 years to be able to learn and preach about the gospel!!

New Years was like any other day out here. All days seem to blend because we usually do the same things. On Sunday, we have what we call Netflix haha. We watch a church video of some sort and they are always so uplifting. I don't know what it is about videos but they always get to me! We watched The Testaments this time. I haven't ever seen them so it was nice. It is about people in the Americas and in the Old Testament (people acting out the life of Christ) and Him appearing into the Americas. I would definitely recommend watching it.

This week I lost 10 pounds! I finally caught the Mexican food bug and straight diarrhea. It suuuuuucked. I was hoping not to get it but of course I did! I spent a lot of time in the bathroom studying haha. I think it was the food after fast Sunday.. so of course they serve Mexican food here but they decided to serve American food for the "break the fast" meal... Hamburgers and fries!! Ahh it was manna from heaven. But I think there is a reason they serve Mexican food here is because they don't quite know how to cook American food right? haha Because immediately after I ate, that is when it all started. Anyways besides that it was a good week.

Ahh funniest story ever! We were walking to class after gym time and obviously we get to shower so we were all nice and clean and Elder Duke (from Boise, Idaho straight redhead and white as ever. No joke he is the epitome of Boise Idaho) was in mid sentence when a bird pooped on his forehead!!!!!!! hahahaha He was like what the..... nooo no freakin way! Dripping from his forehead was a white and little brown milky poop! It was the funniest thing. He didn't go back home to shower he just went to the bathroom and washed his face like 10 times. Oh man... That was definitely the highlight of my week. It is so funny because the bird was red too.

My Spanish is getting better slowly but really the more you learn, the more you get confused and realize how much you do not know.... I didn't get a concept this week for straight 30 minutes while the teacher was holding up class talking directly to me. It was passive voice if anyone was wondering... Finally I got it and the whole class was just staring at me like really dude... ha. Some concepts just don't come to me as good as others. I am trying though!  And that is all God asks of us. This week has been a faith builder for me because of the language barrier I have. They try to teach you to listen to the investigator and really love them and take no thought for what you are going to say. I am trying to do that but it is soooo scary. Even though it is a fake investigator I know God will help.

So in the Testaments video the part that always gets me is when Christ is suffering and then is being crucified. How easy would it have been if he would think one bad thought and feel bad for himself or one thing to say to the people who are literally spitting on him after he had been whipped? And one of the last things he says in this life is "Forgive them, for they know not what they do".... Man what a powerful phrase from the most perfect man ever. How often do we feel sorry for ourselves when a little thing happens to us? After the video our mission president stood up and quoted from Elder Bednar's talk about how the Savior is always turning outwards. When he gets bad stuff done to him or whatever he never thinks woe is me, he turns around and serves others. That is my goal for this week is when I am feeling sorry for myself to have the power to turn outwards and serve others.

Love you guys!
Elder Reynolds

These two Elders are perfect for each other. The Lord knew what he was doing when he put these two together!! We are so grateful for Elder Philpot!

Today, they went to the Mexico City temple!