Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grateful for President and Hermana Christensen!

This is President and Hermana Christensen's last week!
Ambato Ecuador Zone

Hello everyone!
Unfortunately I don't have any crazy food stories this week. Hopefully these food stories will only come maybe once a change haha I think the worst thing is when I am sick and we go to lunch and there waiting for us is a chicken foot or the head of what we are about to eat staring right back at us lol All I want is just a nice plate of chicken nuggets from McDonalds! lol Its all good. Experiences are the best out here. Oh I did learn something about eating fish. Every time we would eat fish of course we would eat the eyeballs too. Until the other day my comp asked me why I do that. "Do people in the US eat the eyeballs of fish?" And I said "no...." Then he said "oh because here you are just suppose to suck on the eyeball, not swallow it." I said "Man...... how many times have we had fish and why did you not tell me that?!!!!" haha Maybe my vision will get better or we can hope at least.

So this week was a good week. We didn't have any investigators attend church but we did have a lot of menos activos (less actives) attend! I kind of see them as investigators too because they are a little bit lost and just need a bit of a push or a guide to get them back on track. The asistencia (assistance) of the barrio (neighborhood) is going up too so that is a good thing! This ward is a lot different from the other ward I was at. Even though there are fewer people, this ward feels more like a family. It is funny because we have the noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) as a ward and it is basically like another sacrament meeting because the whole ward attends! lol And yes the games we play are very competitive! I can't believe how involved and into the games everyone gets regardless of their age! The mission is getting a lot more enjoyable as I am conversing more with the members. I used to have a lot of fear because of my limited Spanish and my Spanish still is limited, but they are so patient with me. Sometimes I use that to my advantage hahaha Like if they ask me to give a talk I just say I don't understand.. No hahahaha But that is a great idea... lol We have a great ward here in Ambato. I love it here. The weather is so cold though. The coldest months of the year are June, July and August.. Of course! haha

Our mission president is leaving!! This is his last week here and he sent out a mass email about how he is going to miss us and everything like that. It was kind of sad but really an eye opener to me because I remember starting the mission and him saying he is leaving in July! I thought July is never going to come and here it is!! Wow.. how time flies. But the next president is President Barlow. It is going to be interesting to see how the mission changes or if it changes. But I definitely have a testimony of revelation. Man how tiring it must be for Presidents of the Missions! I cant even believe how much work they put in! I am very grateful for all the leaders and their example. Well until next week! I love you all!
Elder Reynolds

Monday, June 19, 2017

Time is flying by!!

La Casa Del Arbol (The Treehouse)
Banos, Ecuador
A tourist attraction, also known as "The swing at the end of the world!"

Hello everyone!
This week was a great week! Although we didn't have any investigators attend sacrament meeting, we had a great week full of great lessons! It is weird the trade off we have.... Because some weeks our numbers are horrible.. yet we felt like we did all we could. And then other weeks were simply great and our numbers showed it! Not saying that we worked any harder or any less hard than the other weeks.. It is just weird to me. But this week was when our numbers were great, but felt like we didn't have a lot of success. We have a lot of success with finding people, but having a follow up lesson is where we struggle. Don't know if its our fault or simply just their agency... Also this week seemed like it flew by! Each day while we were climbing into bed I would look up at the ceiling and just think wow another day has come and gone!!

We had an interesting lunch this week. This lady that usually feeds us opened up a restaurant so now we go to the restaurant when we eat with her. Its funny because you know when you are eating something funky when the person giving it to you is staring intently at you waiting for your reaction.. And of course as a missionary...you cant say no!! haha So we had this soup and I could tell it was a little weird and then they gave us this shredded meat looking thing. So of course we ate the soup. I think the key is you just have to eat it like you have eaten it before and not think about what it could be... But we ate it and it wasn't that bad. Then we had the other dish and it was tripe or cow stomach. Actually wasn't that bad either. So of course the lady that was feeding us was trying to hold in her laugh the whole time while we ate the dish. She told us the soup was pig intestines and a bunch of other stuff I didn't understand haha As we were about to leave this other couple came and sat down and ordered what we had. We were saying goodbye and then the couple asked if there was any more blood.... My comp and I looked at each other and was like Hermana!! What did he say?!! She just started laughing her head off and looking at our expressions. So that shredded meat stuff was cooked blood or something like that!! Luckily our stomachs handled it well and we are all good! It was kinda nasty afterwards because just thinking about it made it seem like our stomachs were hurting ha. So that was a crazy cool experience we had. It was also funny this week as we always pass by this dog and as 20 year olds....we taunt it a little. Well we were passing the dog and we were about to do our regular ritual and taunt it and then we realized....this time it wasn't chained up!!! It ran after us and....... licked us! haha Man I though we were going to die because of the way it was running after us! But it was all good! I guess the dog liked our taunting or forgot all about it haha But we lived!

I hope all the fathers had a wonderful Fathers day! It was kind of weird thinking of this Sunday as a holiday because the last holiday we were able to call home! But unfortunately Fathers aren't as important as Mothers.... haha just kidding. It was a hard long Sunday because NO ONE wanted to meet with us. We barely got fed on Sunday because everyone was going out of town or having a party haha. I felt like the dogs on the street looking for food and then someone with a soft heart throws them a part of their meal lol but it was a good day. We mainly spent it with members of the bishopric lol. But we took advantage of the holiday as we invited people to church! People said they couldn't come because they were inviting people over to their house. We used the tactic that our Father in Heaven is doing the exact same thing...Inviting people to His house to worship on His day! Unfortunately no one came...but I thought it was a pretty good idea! haha Man people and their agency is sometimes no bueno (good) lol

For P-day we went to a really cool swing thing called la casa del arbol! It is a swing and even though we went on the worst possible day, it was still a beautiful sight.

This work is definitely not easy but it is worth it. One of our lessons consisted of Mateo (Matthew) 14 when Peter was walking on water with Jesus. It is interesting that in that miracle and also in Lehi's dream, the Savior always invites us to come with Him into the dark and dreary waste or out into the crashing waves of the sea... I love that. I love that the Savior invites us to enter into this crazy life. And at the moment we ask for help, He will always give it to us. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are just waiting for us to ask them for help. All we have to do is humble ourselves. And for some people....me.... it is hard! haha But I have gained a testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are literally just waiting to bless us. I love you all!!! I hope this week is great!!
Elder Reynolds

Deep in the Ecuadorian wilderness is a seismic monitoring station in a tree known as Casa del Arbol. Its purpose is observe Mt. Tungurahua, the nearby active volcano, from its precarious perch. While the treehouse itself is a sight to behold, the real attraction is the crude swing hanging from one of the tree's skinny branches. With no harness, net, or any other safety feature the swing (nothing more than a plank suspended by two ropes) arcs riders out into the air over the canyon.

A swing to dangle you off the very edge!

A beautiful sight!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Elder Marquez and I are a great team!!

Elder Reynolds and Elder Marquez

Hello everyone!!!
This week was a very hard week... haha Like every week! But lots of blessings have come from this week. I was sick yet again this week. I don't know what is wrong with me!! ha Last week we studied patience as an attribute we want to develop and man was it a challenge last week with our investigators and with our no success streak... In preach my gospel it talks about patience as not only accepting the will of the Father, but also being happy about it! We have been trying but as you all know how difficult it is to develop patience! lol So this week we studied diligence. Man... maybe we should stop trying to develop Christ-like attributes because it seems the mission keeps getting harder! haha But I got sick this week and I knew Heavenly Father was testing our level of diligence. I can say we conquered it and hopefully Heavenly Father trusts us a little bit more!

This week there was a lot of rain. It reminded me of my days in Quito. (I love how I can finally say I have 2 sectors and can compare the 2!) But each day from Wednesday on there was rain and it wasn't too fun. haha Rain makes me want to stay in and watch a movie. haha But no rest for us! We finally found an investigator who is golden! We have been praying hard for everyone of our investigators but we don't know what we are doing wrong as it seems our investigators aren't progressing. But we found Fabian Saturday afternoon and taught a great lesson about the Restauracion (Restoration). He took it extremely well as he considers himself Catholic but doesn't practice it. He understood everything we taught him and was quite intelligent. He is the same age as us and is studying at an University. But we invited him to church and he accepted! And when we went to get him in the morning before church he was all ready! Man was that what we needed. We have been working hard, but maybe not working with the enthusiasm we should be having. But that really lifted our spirits! We have another lesson with him this week so we are hoping he stays on schedule with his baptism for the 1 of July. Man time seems to be flying by! We are encouraged to invite people to baptism in the first lesson. And to be baptized they at least have to attend church 3 times, and when planning it is so crazy how we are planning for the middle of July for invitations!!

Elder Marquez and I get along great. We are a great team and luckily changes came and we stayed together! I say luckily because this change is going to be 9 weeks instead of the regular 6 weeks. Because this change is when the new mission president comes in! We are sad that President Christensen is leaving, but we are excited for a new greenie to come in haha!

Not much to say... Just working our tails off! We are trying to change our mode of teaching. We are really trying to listen to what the investigator is telling us. And that means not thinking of what to say while the investigator is talking! which is so scary! But we are trying that and we will see how it goes! It is always so nice to hear an investigator say how good they feel when we teach. Not that it was us, but the spirit. I can definitely tell when I get prideful because my Spanish goes down hill and I cant teach for nothing! haha Heavenly Father always has a way to keep us humble. Especially Elder Reynolds.

Thank you all for your prayers! I really appreciate them! Keep on working diligently. I know this is the work of the Lord. May the Lord bless you all. I love you all! till next week..
Elder Reynolds


Something has moved, 4 blocks and is diagonal to the Mormon church!!
I think haha

Missionaries in Ambato, Ecuador

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Through Trials we are taught Patience!

~Cotopaxi Volcano~
It is the 2nd highest active volcano in the world!!!
19,347 feet
Hello Everyone!!
This week has been a really good week!!! Although we haven't had a lot of success...We have been working hard! ha This week has been really good like I said, but definitely really hard. As a companionship, we have a goal to try to develop Christ-like attributes. There is 9 listed in preach my gospel so every week we study 3 attributes. Since this change is short we have to do 3 a week to accomplish them all. But this week one of the attributes we were studying was patience.... And we all know when we ask to have more patience and to help us develop patience... The trials come and don't seem to stop!! haha We were actually teaching these less actives and she also wanted to have more patience with her family and kids and she told us that but didn't want to commit to trying to develop this attribute because she knew trials would come! ha But then we asked the question why do they come? We came to the conclusion that they come because that is the only way we learn. It is like working out, if we keep doing the same things not pushing ourselves, we are not going to grow muscle. We have to push ourselves to a new level in order to ganar (win) something we have never had. It is the same exact thing with the gospel!! I love how the gospel can apply to all phases of life.
We have had so many good lessons this week with our investigators...but it is frustrating because none of them showed up to church!!! You begin to wonder did we do something wrong?? Are we really not following the spirit?? But then we talked it out as a companionship and it is simply just patience on the will of the Lord. Sometimes agency is a bit frustrating... I know out of all people, Mom's know that best! haha But we have to remember that that is the very principle of what we fought for in the pre-mortal life. That was the most profounding difference in the plan of Satan and the plan of God. Our investigators are really great people. I love being able to visit them and help them in any way we can. We actually have a lot of service projects this week so I am excited for that! Washing dogs, help build a wall, do some concrete stuff....

Elder Marquez and I are becoming really great friends! He is a really great guy with great ambitions. We like a lot of the same things. My Spanish is getting a lot better and his English is getting better too! It is funny to hear him speak sometimes hahaha But that is exactly how I probably sound as a gringo trying to speak Spanish!! We went to a volcano today and it was probably the worst day to do so lol But it was fun. It was SO cold! It was snowing or hailing, I don't even know what it was doing but we had to ride back in a packed van with other missionaries for an hour and a half soaking wet.... haha But it was a great experience.

I am loving the mission. It is a great opportunity to learn what is really important in this life. We can get sucked into our jobs and other things but just like our dear Prophet once said, families are what is most important. I love you all! I hope you have a great week and continue to move forward!!
Elder Reynolds

Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains!

Last eruption: August 2015

It was a VERY COLD day there!

Love these Missionaries!

Doesn't he look great!?!