Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Updates and a Recent Letter

A letter from last Monday, January 4, 2016:

Hey fam. 
     Its your fav elder reynolds here in the frigid denver north pole zone. I know I havent written for a bit but tbh ide rather play basketball on pday then write home haha sorry momma i warned you. Oh guess what i also hit my 4 month mark this last week. 20 more to go.
 This week was a tough one. temperatures dropped a lot but it was also a good one as far as missionary work goes. We had a mission meeting. we set a goal for 500 baptisms in the mish this year. yes not a lot it seems like, but that means every missionary personally has to baptize like 2.5 people this year. its do-able but man life happens and we have to remember that theres no such thing as half a person. 
After the meeting I was on a spiritually motivated high and I reflected on the long drive home across Denver, why im on a mission. Why do i do what i do? Why do i brave 9 degree weather at night on a bike. Why do i stay happy when all of our set appointments for the day fall through. Why do i smile in response to a 6 foot 5 gangster who threatened to shoot us for tracting so late. Why do i shed tears over an investigator who we took to the hospital because he was contemplating taking his life and he was the third investigator this week to tell us that.  Why am i here? Ill be honest I had a hard time figuring out why im putting all my heart and soul into a work that seems like such a dead end. But I figured it out. In order for me to become like our father in heaven and inherit all the blessings he has in store for me, I have to see true sadness and true happiness. The mission has highs and lows but we learn invaluable life lessons from this work. Also, I learned that no matter how much I get beat up mentally, its still not about me or how I feel.
The Savior lives. When in his work I am never alone. If thats all i have to say from this week. Its enough, and thats my motivation. *Drops mic* Plus i cant complain because I live across the street from a walmart and of all the places to go on a mission I only wanted to go to a place with one. 

Love, Elder Reynolds

Last weekend (January 3, 2016) Brother Powell, a counselor in our bishopric, read a testimony from each of our missionaries. He sent them an email requesting they write back something he could read over the pulpit. Here is what Elder Reynolds' sent to him from the Denver North Mission:

YO HOME WARD! I'm on a mission right now and it's kinda crazy. I have the chance to reminisce and think about when I was preparing for a mission in primary and I remember singing the songs and thinking, a mission is so far away I don't need to worry. But it's here now! I've been out 4 months today, and it has flown by. As I teach and bear my testimony of the Savior my belief of him becomes strengthened. That's one of the blessings of being on a mission. You cannot deny the Lord and his love or the children when you cheerfully submit yourself to him and align your will with his. I've seen miracles through this.

This Christmas season is the first I've actually been happy with what I've received. I know it's selfish but I never truly took the time to remember why we celebrate Christmas. This year, I did and my heart was filled with so much joy that it would be selfish to keep it to myself. So I don't, I share it. That's why I'm here, to share the love and joy I feel from the Savior in my life. That's the greatest gift I've been given, is the knowledge that the Savior has my back. Simply put, there's no depth of sorrow we can face that the Savior hasn't already felt for us. I bear you my cheerful witness of the Savior and pray that we can all grow closer to God and his son. I'm thankful for all the support this ward has given me. I feel your prayers. They bring not only me, but the rest of God's army on earth spreading the gospel, strength. I encourage all of you to reflect within yourself the relationship you have with our Father in Heaven and His Son and do whatever necessary to strengthen it. You will see a love start to develop for the gift of life we've been given and for those around you. I say this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 Instead of getting an email, we got real, handwritten letter! It was received from Elder Reynolds
12-10-2015. Here is the contents of that letter. I have re-typed it, but it really was handwritten!

Dear Mom, Dad, Didi, Zan, Claira, Eve'Llyn, Georgia, Dane, Addie & Honey,

Just last night I felt the spirit more strong on my mission than I ever have before. Yesterday morning, I got a text from a sister in the ward who is less active. She told me she needed an oven for Christmas because she didn't have one. I told her we would take care of it. I prayed to our Father in Heaven and asked him what to do. Immediately a name of a gentlemen came into my mind. I texted him and told him the situation. Not 1 hour later, as we were walking down the street, the phone rang, it was a text from Brother Lester, who I asked to help. It said, "It is done."

My heart was filled with such a humble and absolute joy that could only come from the presence of the spirit. Now this is what christmas is all about. When I read the text my mind was brought to the Saviors final word on the cross of crucifixion. It is done. Both acts whatever small or large were service. Service for our fellow  man in which can bring no greater joy to ourselves.

This Christmas I challenge all of you to seek out someone in need of service. Pray about a name then pray about what to do for them. The answer is simple if we really want to have the best Christmas, serve. I know I am and I can't be there but I can think of no better place for me but here in Denver, in the service of God.

The Savior lives. I bear you my witness and the love that comes from the words I speak as I testify of His name. He loves us. His arms are always outstretched to us. As a disciple of Jesus Christ this my testimony. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ. amen


Elder Reynolds