Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Week 5

Dear Family,

Thanks to the awesome Photo album, (and care package filled with all sorts of goodies that James and Hill sent me), I've been able to see your faces for the first time in over a month. The general consensus from sharing the photo album with my zone has been:

I look EXACTLY like Dad, apparently I jump really high, my brothers are built and have beautiful wives, Mom looks 20 years younger than she is, and they all want to date my Sister and drive Dad's car and James' scooter.

Another couple of things I've gotten after they see all the Time Again pics were, "...after all that, you're out here, that's amazing." A lot of the Elders admit that if they were in the position I was, they probably wouldn't have been able to give it up and come on a mission. I assure them that it was a much easier decision than they think (albeit a late one.) I honestly think that what some of these other Elders had given up would be a lot harder.

One of the Elders, Elder Eisenhower, was the quarterback for Cornell. He gave that up and his scholarship to come on a mission. He still thinks being in a band "is waaaaay cooler." I'm not sure about that. (Side note; he sounds JUST LIKE Peyton Manning, and I've had him say things like "Come join Me and my Brother Eli in the Double Stuft Oreo League...." I'm the only one who laughs)

There is absolutely nothing else I'd rather be doing than preparing myself to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At times, looking back at my life before hand, and I feel bad that I took for granted some of the simple truths that we have through the restored gospel -- The fullness and clarification that The Book Of Mormon offers. How much comfort do we have in our lives to know exactly where we came from, why we're here on earth, and what our Heavenly Father has planned for us after this life. We have the answers, the understanding, and the testimonies that people spend a lifetime trying to find and figure out. Don't take it for granted, and don't keep it to yourselves.

Like I said last week, we'll be getting in 34 new missionaries in our Zone that me and my companion have to welcome in as our calling as Zone leaders. But here's the kicker... apparently all 34 new missionaries are ELDERS! Having to keep a companion in line is work enough, but keeping 17 new companionships of 19-21 Elders, on top of the 7 we already have will be........... quite the blessing :) As hard as it may be, I know God has prepared a way for us to help build and uplift these new Elders.

Thanks again for all the sugary love, and the letters. Keep on sending them.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Week 4

I wish my P-days were the day after MTC devotionals, instead of having them after I'm able to e-mail you. Just like a couple of weeks ago, right after I was done emailing you last week, we were able to listen to an Apostle of the Lord. Two Apostles in three weeks is a pretty amazing perk here at the MTC.

Last Tuesday, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke at devotional. He is known to be one of the most powerful (and blunt) speakers, and last week was no different. I wish I could've counted the amount of times he slammed his hand on the pulpit, but I was too busy taking notes (4 pages worth). Only with a man with that much authority, and that guided by the Spirit could make such a BOLD talk come off so loving and warm.

"You need to come home with at least one convert, and it better be you!"

"You don't have the right to compromise what an LDS Missionary is supposed to be."

Even after BEASTING all the missionaries in there, about 3,000 or so, he left the room by blowing kisses to everyone.

The language study is coming along great. I now have the ability to teach someone from Korea the proper way to communicate with their Heavenly Father through sincere prayer.

That's where I've had my sights set for a while, and I can't wait to use what I know out in the field,
and help people build a relationship with God.

In gospel study we've moved on to the Plan of Salvation. What a marvelous doctrine that I get to share with those who have been prepared to hear it. Families truly can be together FOREVER! And there is a very clear, and loving opportunity for those who didn't have the opportunity to hear the Gospel to learn, and accept the plan of Happiness.

The older District in our Zone is leaving next week. So they called new Zone Leaders this last Sunday. Their main job is to welcome in and help transition the new missionaries into the MTC. The last ZL's had to welcome in 14 new missionaries (myself included). The new Zone Leaders have 34 new missionaries to welcome in and be in charge of...!!!! I feel sorry for them... and by them, I mean my companion and I.

Keep sending those letters/emails through, much easier on me and my limited time here on the comp.

-Elder Reyes

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Week 3

I am now able to read and write a different language with relative ease. But as far as understanding everything I'm reading, I've still got a long way to go. The flashcards we used to learn the Alphabet (so crucial and hard 3 weeks ago), are now down right laughable to look at. The ability to learn so quickly is only accomplished through the power of the Spirit, hard work, and patience.

Even as our teachers are only speaking to us in Korean, it's amazing that we can understand what they are teaching us. It is also great training for listening to the language. Another thing I'm doing is listening to General Conference talks, and then rewatching them with Korean translations. If you'd like to hear how fast the translators speak, and how dizzying of a language it is, you can go to and do the same thing... it will give you a headache, I promise you.

After Breakfast this last Sunday, I got stopped in the hallway by an Elder Holbrook, who is from CO. You guessed it... HUGE Time Again fan. He apparently went to a bunch of our shows, and even came up on stage and sang "The Stories Are True" with us. He said he was amazed at how nice I was to him and the rest of the fans. And he said when he found out I was LDS, it made a lot more sense. He's friends with another friend of mine in UT, and he heard that I was in the MTC, so he brought a Time Again t-shirt for me to sign. He also had hoped that we'd get called to the same place, so that we could be companions. I told him, "Well, Korea and Montana are pretty far away from each other, we'd have to ask our mission Presidents."

I am so grateful to have so much time to prepare myself in the language, but more so, in studying the Gospel. The resources here are amazing. I've learned so much about simplifying lessons, and in turn have gained a better understanding of the Doctrine by doing so. Listening to the words of modern-day Prophets, and being with people who are motivated by all the same things you are, is so humbling.

Having James' scriptures has been another blessing. It's like retracing the steps of his mission, knowing what he was thinking, getting insights from him when he was being inspired by the Spirit. I would like very much to be able to do that with Dad's scriptures as well. I vividly remember how dad would highlight and perfectly underline passages. What were the scriptures that converted him? Answered his questions about the gospel???? I suggest one of the siblings find those, and do that.

I love you all, but I don't have the time to miss you :)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Week 2

Dear Family! And friends who are also my family!

I am finally starting to comprehend the days here. I used to toss and turn at night, but now I am so exhausted at the end of the day that I end up sleeping through the 3 different alarms that go off in my room. I miss wakingup to Kevin and Bean (KROQ).

Two weeks in and we already had our first injury... Elder Paxman (Yes, hilariously close to Pacman the video game) sprained his ankle while playing basketball. I was gasping for air for the first few days of playing basketball at gym, and I thought I might be asthmatic :( But now I'm back in tip top shape, and I've beat Elders in games of H.O.R.S.E and 21 (1 on 5 version), even though the average height advantage all of the Elders have on me is at least a foot or more. Doing fade away jumpers over guys who are 6'10" or more is one of the best feelings in the world... John Stockton would be proud, but that's about the only non-Spiritual Enjoyment I have time for.

Everything else I do here is with an eye towards my purpose. Learning to avoid complicated vocab and "Church Terms" when teaching a lesson has been an amazing experience. The more simple and clear the lesson, the more trust you put into the Holy Ghost and ultimately message is more powerful and personal.

Being able to attend the temple every week has been such a blessing, I hope I can keep it up when I get back home. Watching church films and attending the temple, I've gotten to see a couple of familiar faces... Joe Paur, and Leo Paur.

A few hours after I e-mailed you last week, I got to hear Elder L. Tom Perry Speak. The Spirit I felt when he entered the room was so powerful I thought I was going to collapse. The Elder standing next to me (Elder Bishoff from St. George, who is also our District Leader) felt the same power testify so clearly that this man truly is an Apostle of the Lord!

-Elder Reyes