Elder Reynolds Nametag

Elder Reynolds Nametag

Monday, December 28, 2015

It was a Holly, Poly Christmas‏



I figured out how to neatly format some of my poems into a little picture with the mission's logo on it. It's typically red, but I thought I'd make it green this time around just to see how it would look. I'll send it attached with this email.


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! We were blessed to get some snow here in Surrey... but only on December 27th, so it just barely missed Christmas!


This Christmas was indeed a Holly, Poly Christmas. I say Poly in reference to the number of Polynesian families that we visited this week and the abundance of food which they gave us. We've been eating a lot of food that I don't know how to spell, and it seems that we will not be going hungry at all this week.


The week was filled with carolling, fun, and food. We even had a conference call with the zone to read Luke 2. I just love the Surrey zone so much! We are on fire! We just hit our monthly baptismal goal for the 3rd month in a row, and we had multiple companionships hit the Standard of Excellence this week!


Love y'all!

Elder Reynolds





2nd Christmas as a missionary

The Hunters


The following poem is one that I wrote for the Hunter's, a senior missionary couple who will complete their mission in a couple of weeks. I've been able to serve alongside the Hunter's for almost 6 months now:


The prophet Jeremiah once foretold

The Lord would send the Hunters and fishers.

You heard the call and came up to the cold

And bid farewell to friends and well-wishers.

Dear Hunters, how we've loved your presence here,

But Canada Vancouver won't forget

The service you have rendered us this year,

And so our hearts will always be tight-knit.

Wherever you are called to serve our God,

You'll always be a part of Delta Squad.


Anywho, Merry Christmas everybody! Also, a happy Winter Solstice! It is crazy to already be in the second Christmas of my mission; surely the calendars lie to me this season, because I cannot conceive it to be the end of December already.

Today is going to prove to be a very busy P-Day, and a busy week, so thoughts today are a little unorganized. It was a wonderful week of miracles; we had another fantastic zone meeting, went on exchanges with the Assistants, sang in our Sacrament meeting, and set a date for baptism with one of our friends over the phone last night.

Here's a couple of great quotes that I've received this week:


"When life hits you with a wave of stress, pick up a surfboard."

"Success isn't what's etched on a chart. Success is what's etched on your heart."

"Sometimes God parts the Red Sea, and sometimes He gives you strength to swim."

Love you all! Merry Christmas!

Surrey 1st District


Surrey Zone

Torches



I didn't write the following poem. This comes from a talk by Vaughn J. Featherstone:


The God of the great endeavor gave me a torch to bear.
I lifted it high above me in the dark and murky air.
Straightway with loud hosanas the crowd acclaimed its light,
And followed me as I carried my torch through the dark and starless night.
'Til mad with people's praises and drunken with vanity,
I forgot it was the torch that drew them and fancied they followed me.
And my arm grew sore and weary upholding the shining load,
And my tired feet went stumbling over the hilly road.
I fell with the torch beneath me, in a moment the flame was out.
But lo, from the throng a stripling sprang forth with a mighty shout,
Caught up the torch as it smoldered and lifted it high again,
'Til fanned by the winds of heaven it fired the souls of men.
As I lay alone in the darkness, the feet of the trampling crowd,
Passed over and far beyon me, their praised proclaimed aloud.
And I learned in the deepening shadow this glorious verity,
'Tis the torch the people follow, who'ere the bearer be.


I've thought a lot about this poem this week; we've been working hard to prepare for our upcoming zone meeting on Wednesday and praying often for how we can lift our zone. It's important to remember that the people follow the "torch" and not Elder Asi and I.


This week was very very busy. It was transfers, meaning we spent a ton of time in the car. We drove to and from the airport, the ferries, the mission office. But over 300 kilometers later, each missionary was where they needed to be. We also got to go on splits with some of the brand new missionaries, which was wonderful!


I hate to cut it short, but time is always short!


Love you bye!


-Elder Reynolds

Pictures

Apparently Elder Asi caught a picture of me making oatmeal at a homeless shelter




At the Christmas Party


Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas in Surrey!

The rest of the song, to the tune of "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer"

We just got rejected on the doorstep
Tracting house to house on Christmas Eve
He can say there's no such thing as Jesus,
But me and my companion, we believe.

We had planned to teach a lesson
But our member didn't show.
The investigator called us,
And said "For the final time, the answer's no!"

Well, our hands are nearly frozen
And there's snow in my right sock.
But we've got to preach the gospel,
So let's go to the next door and try a knock.

We just got rejected on the doorstep
Tracting house to house on Christmas Eve.
He can say there's no such thing as Jesus,
But me and my companion, we believe.

We'll get through this winter weather
With a shiver and a cough.
And my companion's getting trunky,
But he doesn't know his girlfriend wrote him off!
(Wait what?!)(Nothing!)

So we went on to the next house
And gave this woman quite a fright.
I guess she got a little freaked out
By two guys dressed in black jackets late at night.

We just got rejected on the doorstep
Tracting house to house on Christmas Eve.
She can say there's no such thing as Jesus,
But me and my companion, we believe.

But in spite of the rejection
And each scoff and scream and scorn,
We know how we get salvation
For unto you this day, a Savior's born.

Christ descended from His kingdom
To the Earth that Christmas morn,
And we proclaim the gladsome tidings
That unto you this day, a Savior's born.

We just got rejected on the doorstep,
But we'll still rejoice; it's Christmas Eve!
You can say there never was a Savior,
But in the Surrey 1st ward, we believe!

We performed the song this past Saturday at the ward Christmas party, as well as the Tongan song we sang a couple of weeks ago. It was a wonderful Christmas party; we had a great turn out and many investigators in attendance (at least, more than we were expecting), which made Saturday amazing.

Transfer calls have come and gone. Elder Asi and I will be staying in the Surrey 1st Ward for another transfer, and I wouldn't have it any other way. One year ago while serving in Willoughby, I would often go on exchanges to Surrey; I find it such a blessing to be here in December to see all of the decorations I fondly remember from last year. This means I will also be spending Christmas, New Year's, and a 20th Birthday in Surrey this transfer, which I am really looking forward to!

This past week was filled with some amazing spiritual experiences, especially this weekend:

On Friday, we received a text from some distant missionaries about a man named Cody in the ICU at the Surrey Hospital. When we went to visit him, he wasn't looking too good. We talked with him for a bit, and he was pretty out-of-it; he was struggling to even keep his eyes open, was half-asleep, and look overall uncomfortable with the tubes in his veins. Cody was not a member of the church, and as we talked, we explained to him about priesthood blessings. He asked us to give him a blessing; I remember that in the blessing, he was blessed with strength to raise his son in righteousness, that these things would be for his good, and that he would be alright. The Spirit which we all felt was strong, and after we said "amen," we were surprised to find that Cody's eyes were wide open. Suddenly, he was fully attentive, and he expressed great gratitude as we left.

At church on Sunday, Elder Asi and I were honoured to be a part of the confirmation of Dorothy (a recent convert of the Sisters), and then we also gave a baby blessing to her daughter, Sadie, which was the first time I'd ever been a part of that. Again, the Spirit of God was nearly tangible.

After church, we'd received an impression that we needed to call one of the companionships in the zone. In our apartment, we have a whiteboard with the names and faces of each missionary in our stewardship. I stood in front of the whiteboard, said a quick prayer, and instantly knew that we should call the Sisters in the Delta ward. I wasn't really sure why we should call them, so I just shared an insight that I'd learned earlier that day and left it at that. Those Sisters texted us later that day, thanking us for following the Spirit because one of the Sisters really needed to hear that insight at that time. That strengthened my testimony that the Lord does work through us to strengthen the zone.

The insight I shared was regarding pride and humility. I find that there are 3 types of pride:

1) Self-elevating Pride ("I've received all these things, therefore I'm better than others")

2) Self-aspiring Pride ("I deserve to have all the things which that person has; I'm better than that person anyway.")

Previously, I'd always thought that the solution of these two forms of pride was simply to tear oneself down. If I started thinking I was better than others, I could just convince myself that I'm terrible so I could be more humble. However, that leads to the third type of pride:

3) Self-degrading Pride ("I'm way down here because I'm worthless and everybody else is better")

Each form of pride involves perceiving others as being on a different level than us. Humility is found when we begin to see that everybody is on the same level. That does not mean, however, that we pull ourselves down to be on everybody else's level; it means that we need to lift everybody else up to our level. For example, the thought "I'm better than you" would be more productively countered by "We are both great, though perhaps in different ways." That's what made the Savior the ultimate example of humility.

-Elder Reynolds

Patience is a Virtue

(To the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer")

We just got rejected on the doorstep,
Tracting house to house on Christmas Eve.
He can say there's no such thing as Jesus,
But me and my companion, we believe.

We had planned to teach a lesson,
But our member didn't show.
The investigator called us,
And said "for the final time, the answer's no!"

Well, our hands are nearly frozen,
And there's snow in my right sock,
But we've got to preach the gospel,
So let's go to the next door and try a knock.

We just got rejected on the doorstep,
Tracting house to house on Christmas Eve.
He can say there's no such thing as Jesus,
But me and my companion, we believe.

This Saturday is our ward Christmas party, and yesterday we were "volunteered" to sing "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer" during the talent portion of the party. Well, that song isn't as missionary-esque as we would like, so I'm in the process of rewriting it. It isn't finished because I couldn't start until last night, but I'll send the full lyrics once it is done (and possibly the video if it is filmed).

This week, I'd like to briefly touch on the Christlike attribute known as Patience. I've learned a lot about patience this week as I've tried to study it out of Preach My Gospel.

There is a major difference between patience and complacency: To be complacent is to be apathetic, to not care. If something is bothering you, you can choose to be apathetic and accept the situation, not caring enough to try to change it. However, patience is hopeful endurance. Christlike patience is laced with Charity and Diligence. To be patient is still to care, work persistently, to do all that you can, but to avoid frustration, disappointment, and stress with a less-than favourable result. To be patient with cold weather does not mean giving up and staying inside; rather, it is to bundle up and endure.

When it comes to oneself, one can choose to be apathetic to faults and weaknesses, accepting mediocrity, or one can desire improvement and progression while being patient with setbacks and imperfections.

"And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
(Mosiah 24:15)

-Elder Reynolds

Monday, November 23, 2015

1 Peter 5‏

My dear Elder, I exhort you
Feed the flock of God among you

The ensample of the flock is you,
The crown of glory given you

If humble, God may exalt you;
Don't worry, He careth for you.

Though Satan would devour you,
Jesus will strengthen, settle you.

The church and I doth salute you
The peace of Christ will go with you.
Amen.

Hello everybody! I apologize for not writing last week; the internet in the Family History Centre went down last week. The above poem was the poem that I wrote for Elder Kelly upon our farewell. He was transferred up to Terrace, which is the northern end of our mission. Just in time for the winter!

I have also been transferred to the Surrey 1st Ward! That is right in the downtown heart of Surrey! There's so many people here, and it's easy to find people to talk to. It's also the sketchy part of Surrey... there are some places to avoid at night. But I am still in the Surrey zone, so I still know many of the same missionaries. My new companion is Elder Asi, whose family hails from Tonga!

Sadly, time is short today. There are results and goals to be reported and things that need to be bought. I'll give more of an update next week. Happy Halloween!


-Elder Reynolds

Mary Had a Little Lamb‏



Mary had a little lamb

Who came down from above.

He came with healing in his wings,

His bosom filled with love.



God gave us a little lamb

His love for us to show.

The Lamb of God slain for the world

Will make us white as snow.



We are each a little lamb

Who's strayed off from the path.

Christ left the ninety and the nine

To give us all He hath.


At our recent zone meeting, we talked about the connections between the Old Testament burnt offerings and weekly planning as outlined in Preach my Gospel. Hence, the lamb-inspired writing.


It's been great week! I often feel spoiled to be serving the the Surrey zone; we have some amazing Elders and Sisters, and we're close enough to the mission office to make emergency trips if necessary. Elder Asi and I pray for the missionaries daily, but we aren't worried about a single one. Each zone meeting is nature changing, and the best ones that I've had on my mission. By the end of this week, our zone will have had 4 baptisms in the month of November!


Sometimes, things can often feel overwhelming because there's so many things that we want to do. We want to be out meeting new people, we really want to help the young men in the ward, we want to plan for successful exchanges, we want to prepare for Zone Conference this week, we want to study, we want to work with the members more, we want to keep in more contact with the Elders and Sisters in the zone, to name a few things. It makes we wonder how stressed President Burt is all the time. I've also thought a lot about how Jesus was able to fulfill all that His Father asked, because He certainly had no easy task.


But this has also proven to be one of the most rewarding times on my mission so far. There's a wonderful Spirit that comes when you get on your knees with an investigator as he asks in prayer, "Am I really your son?" It's been great to see how much these missionaries have changed as well, and closing a Spirit-filled zone meeting is more fulfilling than a final curtain call.


The Church is true.



-Elder Reynolds

Malolelei!‏

This week's poem isn't an original, and is a classic Tongan hymn:


Folofola mai 'a Sisu, Ke mou fou 'iate Au,

Ko ia te ne kumi hala Loi mo e kaka.

Fou 'a i, 'I he folofola,

'A mamahi hono kotoa 'I he folofola.


I can't actually watch the video because we don't have access to Youtube; I just copied the link that a good friend sent me. Elder Asi and I will be singing that song in sacrament meeting this Sunday with a Tongan family in the ward. Perks of having a Tongan companion!


Honestly, I spent a little too much time looking for this song, so time is really short. We had MLC this week, which was amazing! This mission is about to get fired up! We have some amazing missionaries in this zone.


I also found out that yet ANOTHER person I taught in Salmon Arm just got baptized! That makes three since I left. Elder Farris, my "grandson," has been been tearing it up in Salmon Arm, and it's great to see how these people have progressed. Now we just have to ignite the city of Surrey.


Love you all!


-Elder Reynolds

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dinner with the Sloan family


Rally in the trenches


Rally in the trenches!

Rally in the trenches, brethren, gather in thy might!
Our enemy is pressing forward to destroy the light.
We shan't be moved, we cannot fail, our line defends the right,
And though the foe may fearsome seem, he shall be turned to flight
Rally in the trenches, brethren, gather in thy might!
Our Captain is the Lord of Hosts, and victory's in sight!

Summon all your courage, brethren, join in unity.
The message that we carry is of peace and liberty.
Do not despair, hold fast to thy righteous tenacity.
Do not give darkness tolerance; to sin, give no pity.
Summon all your courage brethren, join in unity.
Our hearts and minds will meld as one, just as Enoch's city.

That was one I came up with last night; it is not nearly finished, but I wanted to at least send you something! As the weeks go by, it is becoming more and more difficult to find time to write, but I believe that's a very good thing.

The reason I write you on Tuesday is because President Burt was holding interviews for our zone yesterday. It's always a pleasure to get to talk with that man. Let me just take a second and tell you how inspired he is: President Burt sends out a weekly newsletter to the mission, and he wanted us to have some copies ready for the missionaries when they came for their interviews. However, we had no access to any computer in the church. We sat down near his office, not sure how we could get copies, and just as we sat down, he peeks his head out of his office and says, "It occurred to me that you don't have any way to print the newsletter. Take my keys to open the family history centre and print it off there."

I doubt that was coincidental. AND THEN later that day, we were meeting near his office with the Sister Training Leaders to discuss a new mission Standard which will soon be implemented; we realized that we had a few questions that we were uncertain of; just as we began pondering our questions, President Burt (who was in the middle of an interview with a missionary) opens his door, peeks around the corner and says "I want to talk with you all about the new Standard. Do you have any questions about it?" Our inquires and concerns were then discussed and resolved.

The icing on the cake for an amazing week: the Sloans! You may recall one of my trainers, Elder Sloan. He was released from his mission a couple months ago and is now back with his family in the Surrey 1st Ward (where Elder Asi and I now serve)! They had us over for dinner the other night, and I couldn't pass up a picture with the whole family.

Until Monday! Happy November!
Elder Reynolds



We felt strongly prompted to knock on a certain door as we passed by, and the man that answered had a bird on his hand and a bird on his shoulder. He wasn't interested in learning, but he let us pet and hold his birds.   Also, a picture with Kushal.




Sunday, October 25, 2015

Spirit and Manner

What if there's more than we perceive?
What if our minds cannot receive
An elementary wisdom
Of elemental things to come?
What if within Spirit beings
Are spirit atoms, quarks, and strings?
Can spirit atoms then take on
A different form with each proton?
What if, beyond our mortal sphere,
Beyond that which we see and hear,
The elements of truth and light
Are tangible and God's delight?
Perhaps across the veil, we'll learn
Of finer things eyes can't discern.

This poem summarizes the things which have been pressing upon my mind as I've studied the scriptures this past week. While these things have peaked my curiosity and pricked my reasoning, I also recognize that an understanding of such things (if at all possible) would yield no benefit to missionary work, so I don't want to lose any hairs over the matter.

It's crazy to think that I have now been through two Canadian Thanksgivings! Time becomes an unfathomable concept while on a mission, and it is impossible to tell whether the months pass rapidly or slowly. Canadian Thanksgiving seems to be more of a weekend event; the official holiday is on Monday, but most people have their big family gatherings on Saturday and Sunday. Monday then becomes a leisurely day-off from work. As missionaries, we like to work even harder on holidays, which is why P-Day is on Tuesday.

Elder Kelly and I have been using the chapel's gym for our morning exercise. When we arrived at the gym this morning, the seminary students in our ward informed us that they didn't have a teacher. So we taught the seminary class in our gym clothes, which provided a wonderful mental workout to prepare us for the day.

The work itself has been a bit slower. It can be difficult when so many people are from Punjab and don't speak English. However, we've been able to meet some amazing people, and we are changing up the way that we work with the ward and how we meet people on the street. Transfer calls will also be coming up this week, so it will be quite interesting to see what is in store for us now.

In the event that I get transferred, I've created a Delta Bucket-List:
1) Learn to tie a turban
2) Go to the Gurdwara (Sikh temple)
3) Eat at Krispy Kreme (the only one in BC and one of two in all Canada)

Today, Elder Kelly and I bought turbans, and we'll be visiting with a member this evening that says he'll teach us. On Saturday, I accomplished goal number 3. So if we get transferred, we'll go the Gurdwara next P-Day. 

Love you all!


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Dance with the Angels‏


At the sign of the conductor,
The band begins to play.
The angels take the dance floor
To waltz the night away.

Every angel takes a partner;
They dance with you and me.
We step within the rhythm,
And keep the beat of three.

The conductor picks up speed now,
His purpose to perform.
The tempo starts to hasten-
Allegro is the norm

As the angels start to quicken,
Some people fall behind
The devil hates the music
And wants it undermined

The hastening of this music
Is fought by shouts from hell.
Who will join us in the work
And dance with an angel?

Happy October! I have often considered October to be one of my favorite months, and I look forward to the experiences and stories from everyone, that in store this time around. A quick shout-out to my brother Brady; he will be eleven years of age on the 9th of the month.

This week was a week filled with meetings, but I felt extremely blessed to be serving the missionaries in our stewardship. We went on 2 exchanges, met with the District Leaders to provide additional training, gave a baptismal interview, and held what was perhaps the greatest zone meeting I've ever attended. The Spirit was strong within each of these meetings, and in each instance, all I had to do was prepare; when the time came, the Spirit was able to draw upon the things which we had prepared to accomplish the Lord's purposes.

This weekend's General Conference was phenomenal, and just what each of us needed. What a historic event it was to witness and sustain the calling of three new Apostles. Many of the talks given provided great comfort, and President Nelson and Elder Holland spoke eloquently on the rights and responsibilities of motherhood and the divine role of women in the Lord's plan. Love you, mom!

One of the commitments from Conference was to select one scripture each week to ponderize (80% pondering, 20% memorizing). My scripture of the week is Alma 13:24, which reads:
"For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."

Have a great week!
Elder Reynolds

Monday, September 28, 2015

Adam's Autumn

Adam fell that men might be
As Autumn falls the leafy tree.
Since Adam's Autumn, we can see
The natural man, the enemy,
Opposes all things heavenly.
And Satan, with his enmity,
Still seeks to reign with tyranny.
But by the Lord's divine decree,
The devil's hosts shall quake and flee.
Then every soul shall bow the knee
And see Christ come in His glory.
And when we're in Eternity,
Mankind's Autumn will find mercy
For from the Fall, we finally
Have endless joy and agency.

Autumn is, by far, my favorite of the seasons, and though we often find ourselves on different doorsteps, I do miss the yearly celebration of Halloween. I've already got some costumes planned in mind!

Last night, we were able to catch a small glimpse of the blood moon, but it was a very cloudy evening, so that was a bit of a disappointment.

Last week was great! We had a lot of meetings, including Mission Leadership Council, which was phenomenal, and we had the opportunity to train some of the missionaries about Weekly Planning. Despite the amount of time that we lost, we were miraculously able to find 5 new investigators, and we've talked with many amazing people that are interested in meeting with us. Our faith is higher than ever, and it has truly been a spiritual witness to us after last week's trial of our faith. This week has no shortage of meetings either, including zone meeting, but we are hoping to find and teach even more people.

A fun fact I learned this week: Apparently British Columbia has the highest population of Indians than anywhere else in the world, except, of course, for India. From what I've seen in Delta, I would agree.

Another fun fact: most of the men that translate General Conference into Hindi live in this ward! So if you watch General Conference in Fijian Hindi, you will likely here the voice of one of the Prasad's.

Also, Kushal was ordained to the office of a priest yesterday in church, and he is preparing to go to the temple on October 9th (Brady's birthday). 

Sincerely,
Elder Reynolds

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gone a'Fishin

I decided to go for some Southern soul with this week's poem. I wrote a specific rhythm and melody as well, but that doesn't really convey over email:

Saint Peter was out on the sea
It was a lovely day on Galilee
But when he heard his Lord say "Follow Me,"
He cried, "Ma, we're gone a'fishin!"

My Lord said "Preach the gospel that you've heard,
"I've cared for every lily, fed every bird,
"Go feed each creature My holy word."
Ma, we're gone a'fishin!

I read His word in the Holy Book,
I'm heading on down now to the brook,
I got my bait, I got my hook,
Ma, we're gone a'fishin!

This ain't a dream or vain ambition,
It's the job of every Christian,
Ma, we're gone a'fishin!

I apologize that I was unable to write last week. It was transfer week, and we had to arrange travel plans for the missionaries in the zone, so our P-Day last week was a little hectic. Since we are also some of the closest Elders to the airport, ferries, and mission office, we were also given the task of driving missionaries around during the transfer week. We also had to drive a missionary to the hospital because of a stomach infection. (Fortunately, that has been resolved). We also had 2 of the missionary cars in the shop, which means even more driving as we facilitated the car transportation. Needless to say, we have been in the car a lot.

Within the past 2 weeks, 5 of the cars in our mission were totalled, and the mission doesn't have any spares. In order to prevent further accident, President Burt has said that phones are not to be used in the car while it is in motion, not even by the missionary in the passenger seat. It has been difficult making this adjustment due to the copious amount of time we spent in the car. However, it has made us even more effective with our phone usage; it is not something we take for granted, and we are making more calls outside of the car than we ever did while driving, so it has been a blessing in disguise.

Through various arising circumstances, our teaching pool has diminished greatly. This past week, we only taught one lesson. It has been a bit of a trying period, but we've been able to learn so much, and despite the heightened opposition we have faced, our faith is greater than ever. Any time we were out of the car, we truly were "a'fishing," and though the work seems to have slowed down a bit in Delta, I can stand with a clear conscience knowing that we are laboring with all our might. Though we have many imperfections, we strive for improvement.

At many times in our life, we face opposition on all sides. Sometimes, we're trapped between blood-thirsty Egyptians and an unforgiving Sea, with no route of escape. Sometimes, we are called upon to stretch forth our hand, the Lord parts that Sea, and we can freely walk on dry ground. However, sometimes our route of escape is less miraculous. I believe that sometimes we are called upon to jump in and start swimming, relying on the infinite mercies of the Lord to provide us the strength we need to push past the opposition and endure to the shore.

Always be mindful, however, that "Just Hang in There" is not a principle of the gospel. The phrase "Endure to the End" can be better rendered as "Enjoy to the End!"

-Elder Reynolds

Mind and Heart

Some say they have a shoulder angel
Rivaled by a little devil.
Some say a boy who has no strings
Has a cricket that can sing.
And others yet claim they have ghosts
And all sort of hellish hosts.

Now here I am with none of these,
But I'm not worried in the least;
I have my own bickering guides
Whose endless fight remains inside.
One is that constant, rhythmic Heart, 
And then, the Brain, the counterpart.

The Tell-Tale Heart, the story goes,
That beats with its poetic prose,
Will often drive my mind insane
For feelings cannot be explained.
And when the Brain demands reason,
The Heart simply cannot appease him.

My Heart's description of emotion
Can stir up a great commotion
When my Brain has much to say,
My Heart always wants his own way.
So here I am stuck in between,
And this whole thing is just obscene.

My thoughts and feelings often fight
When I'm not sure what choice is right.
But now and then the Spirit guides
And Brain and Heart become one mind.
So how is it these enemies
At last decide they can agree?

"I'll tell you in your mind and heart;
The Holy Ghost will not depart.
And with this Spirit, you can be
As Moses parting the Red Sea."
So in conclusion, my dear friends,
Follow the Spirit whom God sends.

Surprise! I'm emailing you on a Tuesday! Monday this week was Labor Day, which means our P-Day was moved to Tuesday. Not only that, but we were able to attend the temple today! It's been such an amazing day, and we have some great appointments later in the day that we're looking forward to.

Also, here's a fun little update: Deana and Emma Slack were baptized back in Salmon Arm last week! I've not written much about them, but they are a wonderful mother-daughter family that we were so blessed to teach.

Our teaching has recently dropped substantially, so we've been spending a lot more time out and about in the community. We've seen some really cool miracles as we've been talking to people. Just last night, we had an amazing, hour-long conversation with a young man named Kyle at the bus stop. He's the first white guy I've met on my mission that had never heard the word "Mormon" before. We're going to see him again this weekend.

Kushal has been doing very well! Those his understanding of Christianity is still limited, he's recently been talking a lot about how his friends need to "put the alcohol away and get Jesus." He's also now one of the happiest people I know, and he always has Christian music playing in his house, and he reads the Book of Mormon every day.

It is worth noting that next Sunday, we will be receiving our transfer calls. Personally, I doubt that Elder Kelly or I will be transferred, but I'll keep you on the update of anything that happens.

It's starting to get cold and rainy, and it's likely going to stay that way for the next 6 months. Welcome to BC winters.

Until Monday,
Elder Reynolds

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Outage



When we awoke on that unforgettable Saturday morning, we never could have imagined what was in store. From our limited perspectives, the weekend was going to be as ordinary as any other weekend; the cloudy skies and light breeze was nothing notable in the eyes of a couple of young men with a purpose. The sprinkling rain was no bother; in fact, it was extremely welcome, and the occasional broken branch created a humorous scene as it was carried away by the wind.


That afternoon, we were feasting on pizza as we eagerly prepared for the upcoming baptismal service. Our spirits were high as we anticipated the beautiful ordinance which was about to take place. Access to activate the baptismal font faucet was denied us by a locked door. Immediately, Elder Kelly retrieved several small materials for the purpose of picking the lock. Harnessing skills he'd acquired in Coquitlam, the lock was picked within seconds, and the lever was pulled to free the water. As we set up chairs for the wonderful people we were anxious to see, our ears alerted us to the diminishing sound of water filling up the font. Our eyes, demanding explanation, were drawn to the font, where the water pressure had indeed decreased to a slow trickle. This was an obstacle, but no cause for alarm, for we devised a plan to start filling up buckets and dump the water in the font.

And then... it happened.


The lights began to flicker, as though struggling for dear life to stay on. The struggle was quickly lost, and electricity fled the building, leaving only the emergency lights for illumination. Puzzled, though not deterred, we continued to set up chairs and tables; the ordinance did not require electricity, and surely the Lord, who "seeth in secret," could observe the baptism regardless. However, our ears soon alerted us to the utter silence filling the room. Now filled with concern, we checked the baptismal font to confirm our fears: the water had completely ceased. We frantically rushed to the kitchen, where we collected several pots, buckets, and bowls. We turned on the kitchen sink faucets, whose water pressure soon came to a deadening stop. We hurried to every washroom, every sink, every drinking fountain, retrieving every last drop that we could muster, but it was hopeless. We walked through the building, desperately searching for solutions. We saw the gym, where we had once shared memories of basketball and soccer. We walked through the classrooms, where laughter and wisdom has once exuded. Now, only darkness remained, and the hallways were filled with the faint sound of an emergency alarm buzzing from a maintenance panel. How sad it was that the only source of life within the entire building was a solitary alarm, desperately attempting to reach out to someone, anyone, that could assist the situation. The depressing sight was almost too much to bear, and we departed.


However, the Lord's purposes shall not be stopped. The baptism proceeded at another building half an hour away. It was a delightful service, and Kushal Sra made sacred promises with his Father in Heaven and committed to follow Christ.


The following day, we happily prepared to attend church. We received a phone call that the chapel still had no power, but sacrament meeting would still be held to accommodate for Kushal's confirmation. We arrived at the building an hour early, and the bishop gave us several assignments as we prepared to have the meeting in one of the large classrooms, and we labored side-by-side with our members to ensure the service still happened. Armed with flashlights and willpower, we delved into the shadowy corridors to retrieve the necessary supplies. We journeyed into the empty chapel; as we collected hymnbooks, we could not help but reflect upon the many things which we had learned as we sat on the now-abandoned benches. What a sight it was to travel back with our minds to when we would take this chapel for granted. There we were, young men in darkness, standing within walls that contained no light, no power, and worst of all, no water. The back-up lights had lost all resolve to combat the darkness, and now hung lifelessly upon the blackened walls. The cry of the little alarm continued to pierce our hearts as we completed our tasks.


Sacrament meeting was amazing; huddled in that little room, we were all filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and Kushal was confirmed and sustained as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. No power, or lack thereof, can halt this work.


Today is Day 3 after the Outage. Many are still without power, including our once-beloved chapel. The storms continue and roads are blocked as trees are uprooted. The Surrey 1st West Elders' car was smashed by such a tree, but fortunately the car was empty. We've had missionaries stay at our apartment, for we were blessed to receive power again, and we've stored others' food within our refrigerator to preserve what food remains. I do not know whether we shall survive this impending apocalypse, nor does there seem to be an end in sight, but this I do know: I've been called of God to minister to His children, rain or shine.


(It's really not as bad as I'm making it sound, I just wanted to write a dramatic story. All of the above is true though.)



Haiku:

Baptized with water

Though the font was never filled.

We cannot be stopped.


-Elder Reynolds

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Instruments



How sweetly sings the violin,

How beautiful and free,

How deeply it can touch the heart,

Whoe'er the hearer be.



Its polished wood reflects the gleam

Of every bright-eyed tear,

Its strings are waxed and tuned to be

Exquisite to the ear.



And yet inside its hollow mind

The instrument is flawed,

Its deep maroon turns envious green

For 'tis the player they applaud.



"I create the lovely tune,"

It squeals in agony,

"Although my player holds my bow,

They should all bow to me!"



The strings then all fall out of tune

When tangled up with pride,

The music that could once fulfill

Can now only deride.



The violin always forgets

The One who tunes the strings,

Or who it is that shines the wood

And who plays everything.



All praise and glory be to He

That orchestrates the Plan,

And we are all but instruments

Within the Master's hand.



This week was crazy! Tuesday evening, we were accompanied by Brother Peterson, the head of the In-Field Representatives Department (it's a cool thing for mission presidents). He took us out to White Spot for dinner, and we took him out teaching with us (thankfully, the rest of the night was booked with appointments). As he asked us questions about missionary work and taught us about teaching, we learned so much. We really grew to love him, and it was hard having to say goodbye, which was very strange considering that he critiqued us very bluntly and tore out any pride that we may have had. Repentance can truly be a wonderful feeling.



On Friday, we had our Mission Leadership Council. Brother Peterson was there, as well as Brother Hemingway, the head of the Proselyting Department. He was the executive producer of the "District" videos and had a major part to play in the creation of the "Preach My Gospel" manual. He taught us so much, and the craziest part was that he taught us out of the scriptures and "Preach My Gospel." These are things that we read for almost 2 hours every morning, and yet there is so much that we have yet to comprehend.



Also, on Saturday, Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy visited our mission. We had a big meeting at the Langley YSA chapel, which is in none other than Willoughby! It was really nice seeing my first area after almost a year, and being able to greet so many of the members as well.



We've been working very closely this week with a man named Kushal Sra. Kushal is a prime example of the blessings of the gospel. When we'd first meet with Kushal, he was a very sad man. Seriously, very sad. As in, our early lessons with him consisted of him crying for 40 minutes. Well, Kushal is getting baptized this Saturday. Now, he holds his head high with a wide smile. Our lessons are becoming more and more enjoyable as his personality starts to shine. A few days ago, we sat for several minutes laughing because one of his light bulbs died. This is truly a gospel of happiness.



Pictures to come next week!


-Elder Reynolds

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hurrah for Israel


Hurrah for Israel! The cry is heard
As two young men leave home and family
They're not afraid; they're off to teach the word,
And for two years, they serve whole-heartedly.
The stone cut without hands will fill the Earth;
The gathering of Israel is nigh.
These two Elders were called before their birth
To teach their fellow man and testify,
They work in cutting cold and summer's sun
Until the Lord shall say: "The work is done."

Life is great here with the Delta Squadron! This is a really cool area to be serving in, and that's not just because we have the only Krispy Kreme in BC!

We've been doing tons of exchanges, and as such, we are seeing tons of miracles with the Elders that we are serving with. "Have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men." (Moroni 7:29)

Also, this week, we will be visited by some of the heads of the missionary department in Salt Lake City, and Elder Kelly and I will have the privilege of spending several hours with one of them as we go about the work in Delta. And this Saturday we have a meeting with Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy. And in 2 weeks we have a special meeting with the Surrey Stake President. Awesome meetings with awesome people. 

I recommitted to keeping a daily journal; I fell behind on that for a few months. I would recommend anybody keep a journal; if nothing else, you can read it in a few years and see how far you've come. 
Elder Maloy is also teaching me some sign language. I learned the alphabet yesterday, so at least I can spell.

Finally, I doubt my mother would be satisfied if I did not mention that I've now completed my one year milestone. Honestly, it feels like so much has happened, but within so little time. It's a funny thought; I'd been looking forward to serving a mission for most of my life, and now I'm halfway through. That's a little daunting! However, I look forward to what this year has to offer. I've learned a lot, and plan to keep learning. One of the most important things I've learned would be this:

Get off the internet, go outside, and learn something new!

-Elder Reynolds

Delta Squadron

Poem of the Week:

Oh God, hear my plight,
My spirit's contrite,
There's no truth in sight,
Oh which church is right?
I'm surrounded by night,
Satan puts up a fight,
So I pray with more might,
And when my pain reached its height,
I saw a pillar of light.


Hey everyone! I write you today from one of the many Surrey libraries. This past week serving in Delta has been extremely busy, but a lot of fun. We have one of the closest areas to the Vancouver International Airport, the mission office, and the ferry port, so our week was filled with a lot of driving as we worked to make sure the missionaries were where they needed to be for transfers. We also took some time to get to know each of the companionships in the zone. I soon discovered that there are 8 missionaries in the Delta ward:

Delta 1st: Elder Maloy (District Leader) and Elder Nelson
Delta 2nd: Elder Reynolds and Elder Kelly (Zone Leaders)
Delta Sisters: Sister Holbrook and Sister Gregory
Senior Couple: Elder and Sister Hunter (an awesome senior couple from Cedar City, Utah.)

I guess you could say that makes us the Delta Squadron.

Also in our zone are the Surrey 1st West Elders, Surrey 1st East Elders, Surrey 3rd Elders, Surrey North Sisters, and the Assistants to the President (despite all the work they have to do in the mission office, President Burt still expects them to work hard in their area as well.)

Also, blast from the past! Elder Sloan is serving in the Surrey 3rd area, so I get to spend a lot of time with him again. And this is his last transfer! Fortunately, he lives in Surrey, so when he's released as a missionary, he'll still be around.

This is definitely the most diverse area I've served in yet. Since I've been here, we've heard prayers spoken in Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, and Tagalog. The diversity is quite interesting, and I think that the Caucasian and Indian ethnicities are very closely matched in terms of population. There are several Sikh temples around as well, and another being built very close to our house. We've been teaching a diverse group of people as well; one of the most notable is an awesome man named Kushal who plans on being baptized at the end of the month.

Talk with you next week! Enjoy this picture of Elder Sloan!

-Elder Reynolds


  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

1 Kings 18

1 Kings 18
If the Lord be God, follow him.
But if Baal, the follow him.
Or if ye choose thy god to be
Only that which thou canst see,
Or follow all that is worldy,
These idols will bring misery.
If thou wilt trust man's will and whim,
Let man be God, and follow him.
The God that answereth by flame,
Let Him be God; praise ye His name.
 
Ye cry aloud, wail and complain,
But canst thou see thy cry is vain?
Can that which hath no power save?
Doth Babylon free from the grave?
O man, why dost thou misbehave,
And not accept the blood He gave?
O priests of Baal, ye slice thy veins
As Satan wraps thee in his chains.
The God that answereth by flame,
Let Him be God; praise ye His name.
 
My God doth not flee, nor doth He sleep.
Thy god speakest not, no, not a peep.
My God heareth all,
The great and the small,
To thy god ye call
And so thou shalt fall.
For just as ye sow, so shall ye reap,
And soon comes they day when ye shall weep.
The God that answereth by flame
Let Him be God; praise ye His name.
 
"O Lord my God, be it this day
Known to them that dwell in clay:
That these idols hath no part
In the kingdom where thou art."
The Spirit burned within our hearts
A fire that would not depart.
All they that felt began to pray
And then they heard the Spirit say:
 
"The God that answereth by flame,
It is the Lord; praise ye His name!"
That is based on the confrontation that Elijah had with the priests of Baal in 1 Kings 18; it's always been one of my favorite Old Testament stories, so it served as a wonderful muse for this poem.
 
So of you may be aware that yesterday, August 3rd, was BC Day, so our P-Day was moved to Tuesday. As such, it has been one of the most hectic P-Days I've ever had. We often have a bunch of regular appointments every Tuesday, so we last week we were trying to shift things around a bit so we could have our full P-Day. This week is also transfer week, so if we were transferred, we'd likely have to leave Wednesday morning. Thus, we made are plans accordingly.
 
So we then found out that I was getting transferred to Delta, which is an area just south of Vancouver and Richmond, right on the US border. We then received a phone call this morning that I needed to leave Salmon Arm today at 4pm. This news completely destroyed our plans today, because I needed to be fully packed by 4pm, and we were losing 2 hours of P-Day, and we have an appointment later this afternoon. So it has been an extremely crazy day as I've been trying to get everything organized.
 
Next week, I'll send some pictures of my new area and companion! I have to get going, for reasons previously stated. Love you all!

-Elder Reynolds
(photo of Elders at the golf driving range)

Friday, July 31, 2015

July

Hello Everybody!

In order to be better motivated to work out, Elder Blasko and I have bought some sweat-bands for our heads and wrists; we figured we'd be more excited to exercise if we looked like we were on some 1970's exercise show. And you know what? IT TOTALLY WORKS.

Also, just an update. Next Monday, August 3, is a "Civic Holiday" in Canada. From my understanding, it's just one of those days where people take a day off. As such, President Burt has asked that we treat that day as a normal day, so that we could talk to people who would otherwise be working. That said, P-Day will be moved to August 4th. So don't freak out when I don't write next Monday!

My mom's birthday is August 3rd, so I'm sorry that I'll miss the opportunity to email then.

Brian Gorner is a young man who returned from his mission last week; I'm very grateful for that, because we've been bringing him out with us all the time!

It's weird to think it's been over 11 months. The more I think about it, the faster it goes. I just can't get over how much I've learned in this short amount of time, and how much more that I have yet to learn.

My mind is just really jumbled and scattered today, but I can't quite figure out why. I've determined that next week, I'm writing another poem.

Love you all!
-Elder Reynolds

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An Equal and Opposite Reaction‏

This week has undoubtedly the busiest and best week that I have had laboring in this small portion of the Lord's vineyard. We've talked to more people than ever before, and as a result, we are teaching more people. This week, 5 people committed to be baptized. Elder Blasko is a fun, diligent companion, and we have pushed each other to work harder than ever before.


We've also been blessed with an assortment of other miracles as well. Just a few days ago, a man approached us in a store and offered to pay for all our groceries; it turns out he was a member of the church in Las Vegas and was just passing through town when he needed to go to the store. We've also been able to contact a lot of people whom we haven't heard from in a while; throughout the week, we would feel prompted to call somebody we haven't been able to reach in a while, and they would finally answer!


However, there must needs be opposition in all things. This week, we've also had more people yell at us, try to bash with us, and give us anti-mormon stuff. It would seem that we are truly at war, and the adversary is not pleased with what we've accomplished this week. It's certainly been exhausting, but worth every bead of sweat.


But, despite it all, we try to keep things fresh and fun. We've been singing, we had a dance-off with an investigator, we've been checking out more of the stores downtown (there's a store called the Candy Vault where I can buy Yorkie bars!), and today we're going to the driving range to hit some golf balls.


The days just seem to be zipping by, and it doesn't seem like there's anything I can do about it. Elder Blasko and I were philosophizing last night: Because God is Eternal, He doesn't really exist in time, for how can there be time in eternity? That said, it would seem that the closer we are to God, the less we exist in time. That rings true in missionary work, because the more consecrated we become, the faster it goes. Just some food for thought!


Have a great week! Remember Pioneer Day: July 24, 1847.



-Elder Shane David Reynolds