Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nourish Your Testimony Daily!

Hello everyone!!
What a great week this was. Another week in the mission...another week of blessings. Our investigator Aida still has a baptismal date for the 5th of August and we are so stoked!!! It is so awesome to see the change in her. We had a lesson about the word of wisdom this week and she has a problem with drinking coffee. She would give up her whole house before she gives up her coffee!! haha But we had such a powerful lesson and she truly is the epitome of Mosiah 3 verse 19. We told her this commandment was revealed through a prophet of God. And then we asked her to define for herself what a commandment is. Simply she said something for us to obey for the love we have for our God. How simple and powerful that is!! When she said that it was like a lightbulb illuminated her mind and she accepted it from that time forward. Even though she still jokes about drinking coffee, I love her response as to why she gave it up. She said, at least now I can sleep calmly at night knowing that I am doing what God has commanded me to do. Man she is an inspiration to me. I know she will give up whatever is asked of her if she knows it is from God. She would be a great missionary! haha We had a service project for her house this week and it was awesome to see the ward pull together. Even though we are few in numbers, we got the job done!!! It was simply amazing. Because we literally planned the service project the day of. We were with our Mission Leader, he called the
Bishop and the Bishop called the Relief Society president and the Elders Quorum president and then they called their peeps and we had a great turn out! More than anything, Aida loves the order that we have in the church. 

So a funny story again from the food portion of the mission... We ate fish again and the fish here is really good! We have one family in our ward that is pretty wealthy. So we eat like Kings haha no but we eat in a very proper manner. thing that I have never known that is the hardest thing in life to do....Eat fish with a fork and a knife!!!! haha Man is that a hard task to do!! I am pretty sure I have just a bit more bones in my body because I got impatient with trying to use these utensils to eat a fish  lol But all is good. It is always funny the way the people look at you when you eat. They think that I am so weird because of the way I eat hahaha 

One thing I learned this week is how fragile a testimony is. We taught a menos active (less active) and he is a return missionary and loves talking about his mission. It was a little hard not to say then why aren't you living up to the things you taught!! But then I realized how fragile a testimony is. That it needs to be nourished daily by scripture study and prayer. And every week going to church. It isn't a mission and boom you have a testimony, it is a constant battle or choice. So read your scriptures and say your prayers!! Follow the example of the primary answers! They will save your soul. I love you all! Until next week...
Elder Reynolds

Service Project at Aida's

The ward comes together and provides service for Aida!

Ambato, Ecuador

 Elder Reynolds and Aida

 Elder Wilson and Elder Reynolds
Elder Wilson gets his first bad haircut and Kyle couldn't help but laugh!

This little boy reminds Elder Reynolds of his younger brother, Caiden!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Endure to the End, Always Abounding in Good Works!

Hello everyone!!
Wow what a great week this has been! We finally had an investigator attend church!! And she absolutely loved it!!!! It is so awesome to see the light of Christ in her eyes! She used to be a Jehovah's witness.. Not saying anything bad about their religion just that they are usually so knowledgeable and extremely hard to convert. But she is progressing just fine!! I now have a strong testimony of attending church and the importance of it! She is 84 years old, somewhere around there. She has been putting off church ever since the first lesson we had with her which was about a little over a month ago. But finally she attended church and we had a lesson with her right after church and lunch and man.... she was totally open to everything we would say to her!! The spirit was so strong in the lesson and she was literally feasting on the words of Christ. We would teach one principle and go on asking questions about how she can apply it in her life.. It was like she was watching a movie because she was sitting on the edge of her seat!! Ahhhh she has a baptismal date for the 5th of August! We are hoping all goes well with that! She is such a special person. 

One thing I did learn from her is what she said about her friend.. She is a reference from one of the members of the church. And by the way.... references are the best!!! Help the missionaries out and give them references!! haha But the member is a little menos activo (less active) and she didn't attend church. The whole time in church she was asking where her friend was and all we could explain to her is that she has her own agency and has the right to use it in whatever way she pleases. It was so sad because Aida is the investigators name, was so stressed about that as to why she wouldn't attend church. It just made me think... About one of the things my teacher in the MTC said.... after the mission is not the end of it all. We all have to endure to the end and live up to the things you have been teaching for 2 years. Think of how your investigator would feel if he or she saw you on Facebook doing things you are not supposed to... Doing the exact thing you told them not to do!!! The very person that taught them all that they know about the gospel is now lost.. How sad is that?? It just strengthened my testimony that people are watching us. As members, we have a name written in our hearts that we have to live up to so the world can see. I love you all! I hope we have that change of heart in our lives and are always abounding in good works! It's not easy, but it is expected and hoped of us. With the help of the Atonement, everything is possible. I love you all! Keep striving and enduring! 
Elder Reynolds

Elder Reynolds learning how to make Empanadas!

 Making pancakes for them!

 Bishop's family

 He is always making people smile....Miss that smile!!!!!

My little puppy I am going to bring home!

Scorps Rock!
Un bar en donde se vive la musica (A bar where the music lives) hahaha

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Finding Joy and Peace in this Life!

Mis-sion-ary, (noun)
Someone who leaves their family for two years so that others may be with their families for Eternity.

Hello again!!
This week was another great one! We had a lot of service this week. Right now I actually feel like I have been working at my old job haha in construction (EZ Shade). We had service for 3 days of helping a member excavate some dirt and rocks then pour some concrete. Man..... another luxury we have in the united states is the big concrete trucks!! I remember Logan telling me about how they poured concrete in Africa and how I was like yeah that must have been extremely hard... And yep I can testify about what I said!! haha So to pour concrete or mix it we mixed in the concrete dust and some fine dirt and then some gravel. Then after that we would pour in water and use our shovels to mix it in... haha We didn't have to work out this week because man was that hard!! haha But it was interesting to see the different ways they improvise since they don't have all of the nice tools.
It was also a great week of teaching. We had a lot of citas (appointments) with our investigators and we feel like they were all good. As I am studying more in the New Testament and seeing how Jesus taught I am learning that he really had a strong personality! At least for me, I thought of Jesus Christ as this super kind and loving person that would please anyone so that they can be happy... But in reality the real charity or the real love is being completely obedient and expecting that of everyone else through example and encouragement. I don't know how many times Jesus said, O man of little faith to his apostles... But really it made me think that although He is the epitome of love, it is so much different than what we think of love and making people happy. .....I don't know if this is making any sense... ha But I am going to try and keep on explaining and hopefully some people will get it...... So to apply that in this week is I tried to be more direct in lessons. At first I felt like I was being completely mean and brutal!! But when my companion and I talked about how we felt during the lessons we agreed that being more direct we felt the spirit more. We felt the spirit guide us more in our teachings. We felt that our investigators finally got the point of what we were teaching. Man the things you learn along the way you wish that you learned them before so that you could go back and re-teach or redo all the things you now learned!! But I am super happy I learned this Christ like concept or attribute. To apply it into everyone's life, Mosiah 3:19... A promise to everyone! Yes the commandments are sometimes hard to keep. Maybe not for you guys but for me, yea it's hard. But the only way Heavenly Father can bless us is through our obedience. He cant bless us if we are disobedient...that is something He cannot do because wickedness never was happiness. Wickedness never ever brings something good. Being on the mission I have finally felt the powerful influence of the spirit. And sometimes when we do break a rule or aren't completely diligent, I feel the influence go away... and how sad I am!! But thanks to the Atonement! I can be forgiven every time!! I know it is hard, but estamos en la verdad (we are in the truth). There is no other way to find joy and peace in this life. I testify of that strongly. And because we are in the truth, life will never be the same. Like Elder Holland said, after an experience with the Savior, nothing will ever be the same again. We can't go back......  I love you all!! I hope someone is able to understand all these jumbled up words! haha keep at it! Never look back. 
Elder Reynolds

 Pouring Concrete!

 Good thing he has experience in pouring concrete in his previous job at EZ Shade!

Hermana and President Christensen
President and Hermana Barlow 2017-2020
President and Hermana Barlow
New Mission President
He's a young President, 48 years old! His family doesn't speak Spanish. They have two kids with them and will start International School.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sacrifice, Love and Heart

These Elders are great examples of Sacrifice, Love and Heart!
Elder Reynolds and Elder Marquez

Hello everyone!! This week was a great week!! It was sure a cold one too!! I have no idea what happened for every day it rained and we sure were not ready for it! lol The worst part is we don't have a very good house so we have lots of.....opportunities for the water to find us haha! But it's all good. Elder Marquez is such a great example to me. He is the district leader and one of the sisters in our district has been having problems with her hips and been in extreme pain. Even though we have been crazy busy with our own schedule, He has been just as attentive to her as to our investigators. It is so amazing the sacrifice other missionaries have wrought to be here out here on their mission and to stay on the mission. Crazy story of the week is one Elder in our zone got kissed.... haha by a pit bull! I don't know all the details but unfortunately he had to get emergency surgery and has 50 or so stitches on his face but he's a strong Elder and is still on the mission! I feel so bad when I think woe is me with my little bruises, or little pruebas de fe (faith tests) that I have when others are so willing to bring forth this work no matter the cost. It is such a testimony builder to me to see others making these sacrifices. What I love most is that it doesn't matter the amount of sacrifice each of us make. All God requires of us is our heart and what sacrifice we can give. Like the parable of the woman with the one penny. haha I don't know what it is called in English lol Now I am having the problem of not being able to speak English or Spanish!! haha But anyways we had a great humbling week this week. Full of problems and full of trials but all for our well being.

Our investigators are progressing slowly but surely. We had actually quite a few investigators committed to coming to church but....none of them came.. ha It was frustrating but I love what our president of the mission said to us. That the reason investigators don't keep their promises is due to the fact that they don't understand fully what or why we are asking it.

We had an awesome experience in one of our lessons. We were teaching a less active and his spouse is of another religion and doesn't really like us coming to visit haha. They fight a lot because they have 2 kids and want them to be baptized. But one of their kids was so sick and the less active asked us for a blessing. How humbled we were because one all eyes were on us and two it was almost like the spouse was scowling at us because we were giving her daughter a blessing of our faith. But we shared a lesson beforehand and talked about faith and explained how Jesus works by faith and you could just tell her heart was being softened as we spoke. We later gave the blessing and in it said that the very next day she would be completely healed and ready for school and everything. This was important because this week was finals for all the kids and the little girl could hardly get up let alone she couldn't speak or open her eyes... After the lesson we looked at each other like what..... hahah but sure enough the next day, there wasn't a trace to be found that she was sick. The authority found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the power of God. I believe that with all my heart. I had the opportunity to give the blessing which I was nervous about because I could just tell the spouse was eyeing me closely but once I started the blessing, it started flowing and the most amazing part was when the spirit instructed me to say "Te digo sea sanada (I tell you to be healed)." I literally felt this power inside of me I have never before felt. It was such an amazing experience. I know this church is true!! I love you all! We need all of you in this work. I love you!
Elder Reynolds