Elder Reynolds Nametag

Elder Reynolds Nametag

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Canadian Quarter

I am not sure how familiar any of you are with Canadian currency, but coming from America, it was a bit of a culture shock. Every single coin has a picture of Elizabeth II, as in the Queen of England. British Columbia certainly has a lot of English spirit to it.That said, with this week, I complete my first quarter of the mission. I can easily say that I've loved every bit of it! It hasn't all been easy, but it feels like it has just zoomed by. I've really enjoyed being able to serve in Willoughby, especially with Elder Sloan. Transfer calls are tonight, so it'll be interesting to see what happens there.

Several nights ago, Ray was feeling extremely depressed; he was doubting his testimony and questioning if God truly loved him. I sat there silently pleading with the Lord, as I had no idea how to address this. I felt prompted to go sit next to Ray on the couch and put my arm around him. As soon as I did so, I knew exactly what to say, or at least, I began saying things that I never would have thought of. It was the first time I truly felt like I was teaching by the Spirit. By the end of it all, Ray was extremely happy, wrote down his testimony, and threw out his cigarettes. A big theme of my mission has been learning how much God really loves us, and since that lesson, I'm starting to understand that I'm just here to show people God's love for them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ simply revolves around our Father's love. We sang some hymns, watched some Mormon Messages, and then I made some french toast for everyone. It was a wonderful evening.However, I am not yet satisfied! I still have 18 months to go, and I don't want any less. I've still got a lot to teach and even more to learn.Today was the first day in several months that I wore short-sleeves. It's a strange feeling, especially since I imagined February in Canada being much colder.Our district is going out for some sushi today. As it turns out, I really like sushi. I've been much less selective on the mission, and I'm finding lots of foods that I really enjoy. I'll let you all know next week if I get transferred!

(Picture of Langley Zone Conference)
-Elder Reynolds

Happy Family Day!

Happy belated Family Day! I write this to you on 10 February 2015, and Family Day was 9 February 2015. Family Day is a national holiday that began in Canada 2 years ago. It's one of those "take Monday off" holidays, so the library was closed yesterday.

Because our options were limited on Preparation Day, the Elders in our zone held a small barbeque by the church. It was really fun getting to know the other Elders in Langley. Elder French-Cooper, serving in Port Coquitlam, is actually from Denton Texas, which is rather neat.

The rain here has been really consistent, but at least it isn't cold out.

We've recently been watching "Treasures in Heaven: The John Tanner Story" with a lot of different people. It's a really good film, only about 20 minutes long. It's definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it. The acting isn't top-notch, but it's an excellent, true story.

Have a good week! I hope you all enjoy some Valentine's Day candy!

 (Candy in Canada)
-Elder Reynolds 

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day everybody! At this time of year, I often reflect upon the movie starring Bill Murray; if I were to live today over and over again, what would I do to make each experience different? What would I learn?

Today is going to be a great day in Willoughby. We have Preparation Day until 6pm, and at 6:30pm we’ll be watching “Meet the Mormons” at the chapel with some of our friends that we are teaching. It’s also a beautiful day outside, so that is always a plus!

Happy Groundhog Day everybody! At this time of year, I often reflect upon the movie starring Bill Murray; if I were to live today over and over again, what would I do to make each experience different? What would I learn?

This week was fantastic; on Thursday, we had a specialized training meeting with President and Sister Burt and the Assistants. We talked a extensively about stepping out of our comfort zones and the importance of effective planning every day.

Happy Groundhog Day everybody! At this time of year, I often reflect upon the movie starring Bill Murray; if I were to live today over and over again, what would I do to make each experience different? What would I learn?

Whoa, deja vu.

I’ve heard that the most recent musical at Byron Nelson was a smashing success! Congratulations to all that participated!

I was able to upload some pictures this time around, some of them as old as Christmas. I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful week and an even better Groundhog Day!

-Elder Reynolds

(Vancouver Temple with Elder Winkler)

A Black and Blues Week

It’s always a great day in January when you can wear short-sleeves in Canada.

Hello all! I hope your week has been marvelous! My week has been simply splendid. One must not become too focused on the material things of the world, but I am rather pleased with some shiny new things this week.

As some of you may know, the Church recently released DVD’s containing 50 clips from Biblevideos.org which contain highlights from the Savior’s life. Elder Winkler and I received a free copy from the Distribution Center because the complimentary booklet was missing from the DVD case. We’ve been using the videos in lessons, which has been really helpful.

Elder Winkler also received an extra set of black, pocket-sized scriptures, which he gave to me. I now carry them everywhere, and they are a great resource. I’ve been highlighting my favorite scriptures so I can show them to other people that we meet.

Ray has been feeling much better; he has a subscription to a Steve Nash gym, so he’s been much more active and energized. Because of this he’s recommitted to be baptized, and he bought Elder Winkler some sunglasses and he bought me a nice Blues harmonica, which I’ve been teaching myself to play. The zone leaders asked if I could play harmonica at district meeting on Wednesday, so I need to learn fast!

I would also like to give a special shout-out to the Rawe family- Subway has become the unofficial restaurant of the Langley zone, so the gift card did not last very long. Thank you so very much!

In other news, I finally received my official British Columbia driver’s license, so no longer must I deal with the temporary paper copies that I had to use.

I’m still working out a way to send pictures, but don’t expect any photos anytime soon… Sorry!

-Elder Reynolds

5 Months

Happy Tuesday everyone! What a rare occasion this is. Our zone attended the temple today, so our P-Day for the week has been moved to Tuesday. I do not have much time today, so this week’s update will be rather short.

It’s been a great week! I’ve passed my 5 month mark now, and it has really gone by quickly.

Elder Winkler and I had several people this week yell at us, and somebody put an anti-mormon pamphlet on our car. The Elders in Brookswood had one of their car windows smashed in, but nothing stolen. Honestly, it just gets us more excited to go out and teach the gospel!

The temple was great, the work continues. Many people in our zone are going home at the end of this transfer cycle.

I recently received some more name tags, which was good because I’ve been working off of one name tag for the past 3 months now.

We’ve been doing lots of service for an older gentleman in the ward named Brother Christensen, who’s the father of Elder Christensen of the Seventy, so that’s pretty neat.

That’s about all I got for this week. We have to go out and work tonight; we’ve only got a few hours left in the day and several appointments to make.

-Elder Reynolds

The Maiden Voyage of 2015

The weather here isn’t very fitting for sailing; this cold rain really dampens the mood, but the crew is as willing as ever to ensure the safe journey of our ship.

The spirits are high and the sails have been set! If you take a look off the starboard side, you’ll see Russ, who is a very kind, older gentleman that we met several days ago. He’s never met with missionaries before, but loves what he’s read in the Book of Mormon. Looking towards the stern, you’ll notice that we are sailing away from Barnston IslAs you are all aware, the HMS 2015 has set sail this week from the Canada Vancouver Port; where the ship will take me, I know not, but I know that when I depart the vessel, I will not be the same man that climbed aboard.

and, where we spent our entire day yesterday; some very kind people and a First Nation’s reservation dwell there. If you were to hoist yourself up to the Crow’s Nest, you just might be able to see a baptism coming our way, but it is too early in the voyage to be certain.

We’ll soon be arriving at our first milestone, which is January 11th. There, I will turn 19 and become a legal adult in British Columbia.

Aye, the great sea holds many mysteries, hardships, and adventures. But as any good sailor knows, we need to simply look up to determine our course and direction. That’s the key to sailing.

I hope you all can get your sea legs soon, because this is going to be quite a ride. I bid unto all a Bon Voyage, and I invite you to never forget that with Him as your helmsman, you shall safely return to home port.

-Elder Reynolds

2nd Lieutenant of the HMS 2015, Willoughby Division

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and I hope you all have some exciting plans for the arrival of 2015.

It was a great Christmas here in Canada. He did not have any snow, but there was a little bit of rain. Elder Winkler, Elder Sloan, and I spent a lot of time carolling. Results were mixed, and many people were surprised that carolling still existed. Perhaps it isn’t as common anymore. It was a lot of fun though; I had my pitch-pipe handy, and Elder Sloan sang his heart out all week.

On Christmas morning, I completed my first read-through of the Book of Mormon since I began the mission, and I’ve started over again. I was also blessed to Skype my family for about 40 minutes, which flew by.

Elder Winkler and I have been blessed to be able to teach Ray, who still plans to be baptized on January 10th. We’ve also been teaching a woman named Ayron, who plans on being baptized on January 24th. We’ve also been meeting with a man named Jeff, who is very curious about the Book of Mormon.

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, I hear that the musical will be coming into Vancouver very soon. The mission is really looking forward to that, because people always ask us lots of questions about the church.

We’ve had to do a lot more walking than normal. We are only allotted a limited about of kilometers to drive each month, and we have reached our limited. The difficult thing is that Ray and Ayron live on far opposite ends of our area, so we’ll talk with the zone leaders about our car usage.

I want to thank you for all your support and love that you continue to send. I am very grateful for all of it.

Happy New Year!

-Elder Reynolds

Canadian Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have some marvelous plans this week. It’s always a wonderful time of year.

To answer the question that many of you are thinking, no. I haven’t seen any snow since the beginning of December. Winter solstice, Christmas, and Canada do not mean snow here in Willoughby.

Elder Winkler and I have been able to talk to so many more people with the “He is the Gift” program. People are much more open during this season, and we’ve found several more people to teach, through our efforts and through the Christmas spirit of the members.

It’s been a great week; Elder Sloan is still a ton of fun, we’ve been able to meet with Ray again, which is fantastic. We’ve also been able to find more opportunities to do service, like raking twigs and leaves after storms.

It’s been a real blessing be able to give and receive the Christmas spirit, both with people here and at home. I’m extremely grateful for everyone’s support.

Picture with Shanes two companions, at a ward members house for dinner

December in Canada

As I spend my first December in Canada, I wonder if perhaps there has been some seasonal confusion. The past week has been surprisingly warm. I’ve not been wearing my coat as often as I did in November, and it wasn’t until this morning that we again saw ice. I am grateful that I’ll be able to sit through the winter solstice in Willoughby, but transfer calls are January 3rd, so I’ve yet to know if I’ll be turning 19 here.
It’s been a very enjoyable week of missionary work. This weekend, we were priviliged to see Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorum of the Twelve at the Abbotsford Stake Conference. He did not hold a zone conference with the missionaries, but hearing him speak on Saturday night and Sunday morning was phenomenal; I took many notes.
This week we were also blessed with finding 3 different people that were interested in learning about the church. We also helped settle a bit of a dispute between a woman and two furniture delivery men. We’ve had several people approach us and start yelling at us for talking to people in their neighborhood; looking back on it, each of the experiences actually came from a little miscommunication, and Elder Winkler and I have had a good laugh on the matter.
Sadly, we have not been able to contact Ray, so he will likely not be baptized this coming Saturday, as we don’t even know where he is or if he still wants to. Other than that, however, this week has been filled with miracles and wonderful people!
I will keep you all posted as the month progresses. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!
-Elder Reynolds

He is the Gift

The past week, the mission has been emphasizing an initiative known as “He is the Gift.” We’ve been given different pass-along cards for the holiday season, and we’ve been showing everyone a 3-minute video on christmas.mormon.org. The whole thing is truly meant to help everyone remember the meaning of Christmas, and, more importantly, to share that gift with those around them. I would encourage all of you to take a few minutes out of the day to watch the video and to share it with somebody else.

Ray has been out of town, so I do not have any updates on him for this week.

The weather has been warming up, oddly enough. Today, the thermostat read 10 degrees Celsius, which is roughly 50 degrees Farenheit. A good day in Canadian December.

Elder Sloan, Elder Winkler, and I have been having consistent dinners with members the past week, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gained a bit of weight on the mission. We don’t have a scale in the apartment though, so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

I’ll send pictures eventually!


Elder Reynolds

Someone New, Someplace Old, Sometimes Awesome, Always Cold

Happy December everyone! Winter here in Willoughy started a little early; last Friday night we saw our first snow fall, and though the ice on the roads has melted, the fields are definitely white (but not because they’re ready to harvest). I’ve been told that the temperature in this area rarely drops below -8 Celsius, so at least it can’t get any worse as we progress toward the winter solstice.
I’ve been buying clothing to keep warm for the winter, including a couple of sweaters, gloves, and a jacket. I even bought a black flat cap; it was the first time I could find one in black that wasn’t too small. It even has little flaps over the ears to keep the ears warm. Now, I can’t wear it while we’re out and about proselyting, but let me just say that I definitely have warm ears in the apartment.
I yet remain in Willoughby, but Elder Smith has been transferred to a city in the east named Penticton. My new companion is Elder Winkler. Elder Winkler was on the same plane as Elder Smith, so he’s been out for the same amount of time. He has a lot of energy and a lot of heart; he genuinely loves knocking on doors, which originally struck me as odd, but it’s a ton of fun being able to work with him.
Ray, the man I mentioned last week, has a baptismal date set for December 20th. He’s really excited, and he is determined to overcome his smoking addiction in preparation. He was at the ward Christmas party on Saturday night and came to church on Sunday. He’ll also be able to attend stake conference on December 14 with Elder David A. Bednar, which is a huge blessing.
I’ll send pictures eventually!
(Photo was taken at the Willoughby Ward Christmas Dinner.. with Shane’s new companion Elder Winkler)
Elder Reynolds

Happy Thanksgiving?

I’ve already had my Thanksgiving dinners, but I bid all of you Americans a seasonal greeting for your sake. While I appreciated my early Thanksgiving, Novembers in Canada are lacking in holidays, which is a bit weird. Christmas decorations go up after Halloween.
Transfer calls are happening tonight, so next week I’ll let you know what happens to Elder Smith, Elder Sloan, and me.
We’ve seen many miracles this week, which has really been a blessing. Our biggest miracle this week was a man named Ray. Ray had met with the missionaries in Surrey multiple times, but he moved into our area recently, so the Surrey Elders gave his information to us. We were able to meet with him twice last week. Ray loves the church and the Book of Mormon; he’s currently fighting a smoking addiction, but he has a lot of support from his friends and family.
Ray is 33, single, and loves music. He has a really nice set-up: MIDI keyboard, recording microphone, various musical programs, the works. His goal is to become a professional musician, writing and performing songs to bring people closer to Christ. He and I have agreed we’ll write a song one day.
There was a stake fireside with President and Sister Burt last night, and the missionaries perfomed the musical number, “Hark All Ye Nations.” It was a fantastic meeting, and we had several of our friends attend: Ray, Damien (also learning about the church), and Roger, who is an older gentleman who hasn’t been to church in 5 years. It was a remarkable night.
But of course, the highlight of the night was Ray. As we were talking with Ray before the fireside started, the Stake President walked by. We introduced them to each other and Ray said “I haven’t been baptized yet, but I will be soon.” The miracle there is that we haven’t even asked him if he wanted to be baptized. We’ll be meeting with him tomorrow night.
It’s hard to believe that 3 months have already gone by. That’s an eighth of the mission gone. Because of this, I’m officially “trained.” But I still have a long way to go.
I’ll send pictures when I can; we took one today, and if one of us is getting transferred, then we’ll definitely be taking more.
Also, I got my first parking ticket ever. It seems I’m really going off the deep end!
Until next week,
Elder Reynolds


It’s been a really interesting week up here in Langley. I brought my journal to the library so that I didn’t leave out any weekly highlights.
When I became a missionary, I expected lots of hardships and challenges. I knew it would really test me, and that I’d fight my share of monsters and giants. Naturally, as I gain experience, I’ll develop more feats and skills, gain more power, and level-up, as it were. What I didn’t know, however, was that at a certain level, I would gain an animal companion.
Those of you with limited knowledge of roleplaying games may, understandably, be confused, so I will elaborate.
On Thursday afternoon, Elder Smith and I went to visit a family in a rural neighborhood. This family had a small dog in their front yard. Following our visit, we decided to talk to some of the neighbors. As we walked to the next house, we turned to find that the little dog had been following us. The dog followed loyally behind us as we knocked on several doors along the street. As we’d walk up to doors, it would just follow us and sit next to us as we’d talk the home owner. It was our genuine animal companion. However, the core rulebook, which is to say, the Missionary Handbook, did not allow pets of any kind, and houserules were not an option. Eventually we returned the dog to its home by placing him in the backyard and closing the fence.
We’ve seen some extreme kindness from all kinds of people this week; on Friday night, we went to a gas station to find a cheap dinner. As we ordered our inexpensive gas station food, the manager pulled us to the side and said “Anytime that I am here, you two eat for free.” He then offered us a variety of food from the gas station. In case you’re wondering, he is not a member of the church; he’s actually Muslim, and his generosity made the rest of that night a lot brighter.
Similarly, Saturday afternoon, as we were walking to lunch, a member from another ward pulled over and drove us to Fatburger, which he paid for, then he dropped us off where he found us and went on his way. We’d learned that many years ago, he’d served a mission in Las Vegas, and he was always offered food, so anytime he sees hungry missionary, he feeds them.
Not everything has been perfect, of course. On Friday, we had 5 appointments set up with people that wanted to learn more about the church. 4 of them fell through, and the other had to reschedule, so that was disheartening.
It’s been rather difficult being this far north in winter, especially after Daylight Savings. The sun sets far too early; on Saturday, we were in a rural neighborhood, simply inviting people out to the Christmas party that the ward is having. It was about 6:30 pm, but the sun had long set. As we headed back to our car, a police officer approached us and said “Isn’t it a little late to be knocking on doors?” Apparently somebody called the police because we were inviting everyone to a party really late at night. But, again, it was only 6:30. The sun is working against us.
Until next week!
-Elder Reynolds

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is a holiday in Canada comparable to Memorial Day, and people take the day off of work to remember the troops. It always falls on November 11th, as opposed to always being on a Monday. Leading up to the 11th, the citizens wear small pins with red flowers, known as poppies, over their heart. I received a poppy from Elder Sloan last week, and have worn it ever since.
Speaking of Remembering, I was able to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in my own little way; I made a small figure out of paper, drew a face on it, named him Guy, then struck some matches. I have some pictures that I’ll try to send later. Sadly, it was not the first time I set off the fire alarm in the apartment…
It’s beginning to get chilly up here, though we’ve been told that there is no expected rain this week, which is welcome news.
As far as the work goes, a few days ago we had exchanges, and it was the first time I stayed in Willoughby for the exchange. Elder Heiner, my companion for the day, was unfamiliar with the area and people, so I was forced to take on more of a leadership role. It was a little daunting, because I would normally have Elder Smith with me, and he’s always on the ball. It presented a new challenge, but was enjoyable, and because I had to take more initiative than normal, I felt more enjoyment from the work. It’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.
Last Wednesday, we found a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD in the car left by a previous Elder, so we’ve really been enjoying that.
The end of November is looking very busy; November 23rd is a Stake fireside with the mission president, and Elder Smith and I are hoping to attend. November 24th is transfer calls (we’ll see what happens there), November 29th is a ward party, and December 6th is Stake Conference, so there’s a lot to look forward to!
If you have any recipe ideas, please let me know. I’m becoming proficient with eggs, toast, and sandwiches, but I’d like to know how to quickly make other varieties of food, preferably with fruits or vegetables. Remember, we’re kept busy, so we only have about an hour to prepare and eat meals.

-Elder Reynolds

Remember, remember, this week of November

Unfortunately, it is not likely that Canada will be celebrating Guy Fawkes day this Wednesday, but, seeing as it is British Columbia, I’ll try to celebrate it in my own little way.
It’s been an enjoyable week! We’ve met lots of interesting people, and my morning studies are becoming better and better. Elder Smith, Elder Sloan, and I are only finding that we have more in common that we thought, so our time has been very enjoyable.
We’ve been very fortunate the past week; for example, the battery in our car had to be jumped once a week, and we found out that the airbags in the car were not working. Turns out that the car had seen many miles, and it was time to sell it anyway. We now have a much safer car, a Chevy Cruze, which we have decided to name Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11).
At our recent zone conference, President Burt showed us the new movie “Meet the Mormons.” It’s simply a documentary showing the lives of six amazing familes around the world, and is presented very well. The beginning is very funny, showing several misconceptions that the church has received, and even features some short clips from South Park and The Simpsons. It does not really attempt to throw any church doctrine at the viewer, so it makes for a great feel-good movie for people of any background.
I do love the area, and transfer calls won’t be until November 24, so even if I am changing areas, there’s still plenty of work for me here in Willoughby.
With that, Elder Smith and I are off to Walmart! We plan on stocking up on Halloween candy today.

Elder Reynolds

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween week everyone! I hope you all have made some awesome plans this year; it’ll be a few years before Halloween falls on a Friday again.
The weather of Willoughby has only increased in rain. There was a big storm Tuesday night; when we left the apartment Wednesday morning, it almost looked like a tornado had hit. Many branches had fallen, and it seemed as though every leaf had fallen to the ground. On our “Park-the-car” Saturday, the rain was pouring all day. I’ve had to discard too many pass-along cards, and it’s taken a while for my scriptures to dry.
This week, I was able to go on exchanges with our zone leaders. I went to the Langley YSA area with Elder Atwood while Elder Atwood’s companion, Elder Nielsen, came to Willoughby with Elder Smith for a day. Elder Atwood has been out for over 19 months now, and he is very familiar with the scriptures. He also loves Star Wars as much as I do, and we were able to have a good chat about some of the Star Wars trivia that other people really don’t care too much about. He asked me “How many times does Luke Skywalker say ‘May the Force be with you?’” When I answered correctly (I won’t tell you the answer), I had earned his respect.
President Burt emails a newsletter every Monday; it’s in a .pdf file, so we often go to the clerk’s office in the church to print it out. When we went to print out last week’s email on Tuesday, we ran into none other than President and Sister Burt! They were meeting with some leaders in the Brookswood ward, and the meeting had ended just as we walked in. We found it funny that we bumped into him in an effort to print an email he himself had written; we had a really good conversation with both of them about missionary work in the ward.
We’ve also begun leaving “thank you” cards at the church member’s homes every time they have us over for dinner, as suggested by Elder Nielsen.
I hope everything is going well for you all; if you’re having a rough day, I leave you with Elder Smith’s favourite joke. It’s better heard than read, but hopefully the humour can come across in the text. You just have to read it in a very thoughtful tone.
“I couldn’t help but wonder why the frisbee was getting bigger… And then it hit me.”

Tuesday P-Day!

Hello everyone! Hope you weren’t too worried when I didn’t email yesterday.
Today we had the opportunity to go to the Vancouver Temple! That’s why P-day was moved to today. It was gorgeous, and it was really needed after the busy week. It’s nice, because the temple is actually in the Willoughby boundaries, so we are very blessed by that. We’ve talked to a lot of people not in the church that love seeing the temple.
One thing I didn’t mention last week is that I now have a British Columbia driver’s license, so I feel more Canadian than ever.
We’ve seen some really good miracles recently, especially from a Taiwanese couple named Violet and Stephen. They were referred to us by a member from Taiwan; we taught them on Friday, and we brought Allan, a young Chinese man who will be serving a mission in Nova Scotia in 2 weeks. He was able to teach them in Mandarin, which they really appreciated. Allan called us last night and told us that Violet said she wants to join the church, and we only met with her once! They are a wonderful couple and this is a miracle that we are really going to take care of. We meet with them again on Thursday.
I want to go shopping this week, so I’ll have to cut email short again, but you’ll certainly hear more from Canada next week!
-Elder Reynolds

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Up here in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October, which is really weird. I’m not complaining though; I’ve had 3 Thanksgiving dinners in the last 24 hours, so I’d say I’m pretty thankful to be here in Willoughby.
That said, transfer calls are today. That’s when people from the mission office call the missionaries that will be transferring to new areas. I don’t think I’ll be transferring, given that I’ve only been here 6 weeks, and I’m fairly sure Elder Smith will be staying too. I’ll let you all know where I am next week!
Today has just been a very crazy P-Day. I only have about 40 minutes to email, as opposed to the typical 2 hours, and we haven’t even been grocery shopping yet. It’s going to be an interesting week. It’s a good thing I watch my dad cook eggs so many times; I’ve gotten rather good, and can now flip eggs simply by tossing them in the air. I will soon be a master chef!
We’ve seen lots of miracles this week. The mission president has placed a huge evidence on member finding, which is to say, strengthening the members and asking if they know anybody that could use the message. We’ve only done about 2 days of member finding, but we’ve already set up about 5 appointments this week, and it’s only Monday. Tracting will now only a back-up plan.
We’re also starting a new program called “Park the Car,” and every Saturday we drive to an area, park the car, and walk to every appointment until we head home. It’s going to take some expert planning, but it was a real success last Saturday.
Hope everything is going well! Enjoy the week!
-Elder Reynolds

Planting Seeds and Olive Trees

Welcome to October, everyone! October has always been my favorite month; the trees have changed colour, the weather is perfectly cool. It’s the best time to go out into the woods with some friends or family and have a campout, using the fallen leaves to kindle a campfire, taking in the scent of burning wood mixed with the chilled air. Everyone begins to prepare for Halloween, the stores filled with various costuming options, assorted horror cosmetics, and enough candy to satisfy any sweet tooth. I can’t wait to go camping and make costumes and… Wait a second. October is going to be very different this year.
As for this last week, the work continues! We were blessed with the opportunity to watch every session of General Conference this weekend. If you did not have the chance to watch it, I strongly recommend it. The talks were amazing, and the music was captivating. It was not televised in Canada, so could only be watched online or at the chapel, and it was nice to see so many people taking time to attend Conference at the chapel.
We do not, at the moment, have any new people we meet with, but Elder Smith and I feel very confident about this week. Something feels different about it. We’re going to spend lots of time in the Willoughby field this week, ploughing the tough ground, planting seeds, and harvesting the wheat that has already grown. It’s going to be hard, we’ll return home exhausted, and at times we may even return empty-handed. But on the bright-side, the temperature is dropping, so at least we won’t sweat too much.
You may have noticed my odd spelling of “colour.” I am trying to blend inn as a Canadian. They will soon accept me as one of their own.
Recently, I’ve been taking far too much enjoyment out of making scripture-related puns. It’s a difficult but entertaining game. I shall leave you all with the best pun I’ve thought of today. May it bring a smile and raise your spirits despite what leaves may fall in your path:
What was the olive tree’s favourite class in school?
Arts and Grafts!
-Elder Reynolds

The Routine and the Poutine

It’s been another week of the great and marvellous work up here in Canada!
Weather in Willoughby at this time of the year is very wet. In winter, the temperature drops a bit, but the biggest difference in the changing of seasons has been the rain. They say it never really snows here, but the rain is constant; so far, we’ve kept warm and dry, but as winter approaches, we’ll have to just wait and see what happens.
The week has definitely been faith strengthening; we may not have had much success in this area, but I’ve been learning a lot about myself and the gospel, and this week we’ve set some really high goals, and we’ll be working hard to acheive all of them.
 On Saturday, I had my first poutine. Being new to this country, I’m still not sure what the proper way is to address poutine. I don’t know if I call it “a poutine,” “some poutine,” or if the proper form really is just “poutine.” Either way, poutine is a Canadian dish that I was encouraged to try by the zone leaders. I’d heard a lot about it, so I was curious. It was good, but it’s really nothing special. Poutine is basically french fries covered with gravy and cheese. I ordered the poutine at an A&W, which are very common fast-food restaurants here. It was good, but it definitely weighed me down as we went tracting after lunch, so it’s not something I’m too willing to order again unless I can lie down for a while afterward.
We are really excited for General Conference this weekend, and we’ve had several less-active members promise us that they’d watch it, and even Wayne (the only person we’re teaching right now) is really excited to watch it.
Our calendar just keeps filling up with members that want to have us over for dinner. I’m glad our ward mission leader coordinates that; I’d hate to approach people at church and ask for dinner one night. We are making an effort to visit every member, just to see in what ways we can strengthen them. The members here are really solid, and are always willing to have us over.
Miracle of the week:
Last Thrusday we were walking down the street and met a man on the phone. It seemed like an intense conversation, so we just gave him a card and were about to leave. As we turned to walk away, the man asked us to wait until he was done. Elder Smtih and I stood there for about 10 minutes, not sure what to think about this, wondering if we were wasting our time waiting. When he got off the phone, he introduced himself as Dave, who owned a restaurant in Fort Langley. He asked us some very good questions and we basically taught the entire Restoration lesson right there and gave him a pamphlet. He had to leave abruptly though, so we got no contact information. Then, on Saturday, the night was growing late and we were trying to talk to people in Fort Langley. Just as we were about to head home, we met Dave in front of his restaurant. He was very busy, but he gave us his phone number and told us to come back later. He’s really nice and seemed interested with what we told him, so we’re hoping we can meet up with him again and talk more.
That’s about it up here. I better figure out this Celsius thing pretty quick, so I can start reading the thermostat.
-Elder Reynolds

My Fellow Americans

Hello everyone! This is Elder Reynolds once again.
The first thing I’d like to say to you all is that Canadian patriotism is really cute. The Canadian flags everywhere, the red maple leaf on every American restaurant, the “O Canada” song taped at the back of every hymn book, it’s really adorable. I like Canada, I do, but growing up in the USA, and spending so much time in Texas of all places, I find the patriotic effort really admirable. It’s just not quite the same. Still a great country though.
The work is still happening up here in Willoughby. It’s still very difficult to find people that will even talk to us, but those we do find are often very kind, and we have some appointments set up this week.
To those of you who were not aware: for the last few years, the Canada Vancouver Mission has had a strict rule stating that missionaries could only have dinner with members if there was somebody of a different faith at the dinner. About 2 weeks ago, that rule was revoked, and our calendars have been filling up really quickly with people wanting to feed us. When I first got here, I had hoped to maybe lose some weight, but it seems that goal has become impossible. But I’m not complaining.
I had my first exchange on Friday. An exchange is where you spend a day (usually 24 hours) with a different companion. You either go to their area or they come to yours. For my exchange, I went to Brookswood, our neighboring area, with Elder Heiner. Elder Heiner looks like a blond Alan Tudyk; the resemblance is a little freaky. It was a really good learning experience, as I got to see how he talked to people and studied. He has a really long life story, but I’ll just say that the fact that he’s on a mission is a miracle.
We had a big service project on Saturday. Thanksgiving is celebrated pretty early in Canada, so we were helping out with a massive, province-wide Thanksgiving food drive, which was really successful.
Things are going great though. We just have to keep up the faith. One of my favorite quotes from our zone meeting last week was “You have to get out of your comfort zone before you can be in the miracle zone.”
-Elder Reynolds
PS. If you ever happen to come across a movie called “Small Miracles” on the Hallmark channel, I just want you to know that we tracted the houses they used for filming and got to talk with most of the film crew.


Just a reminder, Shane can be emailed here…
And mail/packages here…
Canada Vancouver Mission
P.O. Box 149
Point Roberts, WA 98281-0149

Life in Willoughby

Greetings everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Cannuck!
Unfortunately, I still am not able to send any pictures yet, and I’ve yet to figure out how to send mail, but these weekly emails have been sufficient these last few weeks
I’ll be honest, there’s not too much to update this week. Elder Smith, Elder Sloan and I have been working hard every day, and though our lessons have been few, we’ve been keeping up the faith.
We have had some teaching appointments though. The first was with a guy named Mike; he insisted on meeting us at a coffee shop for his lunch break, which we knew probably was not a good sign. Mike had talked to the missionaries before and had been reading the Book of Mormon, but not for the intent of praying about it. He said he will not accept the book until he has thoroughly researched it on the internet and has solid physical evidence of its divinity. When we walked away from that lesson, it was clear that Mike did not quite grasp the concept of faith in God, and praying as opposed to researching.
Another lesson we had was with a very nice man named David. He was from China, and his English was not perfect. The lesson was not a bad one, but we learned David was only interested because he liked to learn the different rules that different churches and applying the ones he liked to his life.
We also did service for a man named Wayne, who had met with the missionaries before. Wayne had recently had a tree in his yard cut down, and he requested our help to chop up the tree into little pieces that he could use for his wood-burning stove. It was exhausting, but in the end we learned that he had been reading the Book of Mormon every night and really wanted to come to church. So our bodies were fatigued, but our spirits were high.
Elder Smith is also a very smart guy. He and I have had a lot of good, deep gospel discussions covering a wide variety of topics. We both agree that this church just makes so much sense. The Gospel is awesome.
It has not all been a happy picnic. In fact, many of the missionaries agree that Willoughby is a pretty tough area. They call it the “refiner’s fire” of the mission. It has been enjoyable though. I’ve learned a lot and I expect to learn even more. I love the mission president and I know that I’m here for a reason.
Also the Vancouver Temple is beautiful and I get to drive by it every day.
-Elder Reynolds

Beautiful British Columbia

Greetings from your northern sister country, in the beautiful province of British Columbia!
I’ve been a Canadian for almost a week now, and I want to start by saying that I have never before seen such kind airport security. All through the airport, from police to customs, the staff were smiling, and each person seemed to have a different accent. So my first impression of Canada has been spot-on so far.
They say that America is a big “melting pot” of culture, but who ever said that has never tried Canadian soup. I’ve met people from a lot different countries, including but not limited to: England, Scotland, China, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Zimbabwe, First Nation (which is the Canadian way of saying “native american”), and the Republic of Texas.
Our travel group was warmly welcomed by President and Sister Burt. They have been in this mission since July, but they are amazing and everybody loves them.

 We have a 9 a.m. prayer every morning where every companionship in the entire mission prays for unity, charity, and that every companionship will find a new person looking for the gospel each month. It’s a really neat idea. This mission is also extremely loving, including certain mission rules, which threw me off a bit at first. For example, every morning when leaving the apartment, we have to tell our companion we love them and love serving with them.
My companions are Elder Smith and Elder Sloan. Both of them are really cool guys, and have been out for a while. Elder Sloan has down syndrome, but he has such great faith and does not fear anyone. He’ll talk to everyone he sees, and it’s really admirable. Elder Sloan lives in Surrey, which is about 30 minutes away from where we are, so we pick him up from a bus stop in the morning and drop him off at night. Elder Smith has been out for 16 months now, and we’re getting along very well. He’s fairly laid-back but we’ve been keeping exactly to the mission rules.
My first area here is a city titled Willoughby, which is located in the Langely zone. There are a lot of really strong members up here, and the Vancouver temple is located right next to the Willoughby chapel, so we can see the temple every Sunday. As for the mission work, we’ve been working closely with the ward council and have received many referrals in the last week. However, we’ve had no success yet. We’ve gone door-to-door with no avail, and people on the street tend to avoid us. We have had some very good conversations with people, but nobody really wants to see us again, and every appointment reschedules at the last minute. As such, I’ve had no lessons, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with talking to and trying to help anybody I see.
We have done a little bit of service. My second day here, some members needed help moving, so Elder Smith and I were there to move boxes and such. As the project was coming to a close, Elder Smith and I were put on grilling duty because the members had promised burgers. Now neither of us had much experience with a grill, but I’ve seen my dad grill hundreds of times, and I’ve use several mini-grills on scout campouts, so I grilled while Elder Smith assembled the burgers. When it was all said and done, the burgers were delicious, and some of the Chinese youth told me it was the best burger they’d ever had and that the beef was grilled to perfection. That was a relief, because I still haven’t figured out how to work with Celsius thermometers.
As for Canada itself, the place is beautiful. There are trees everywhere. Huge trees of all kinds everywhere. Every route feels like a scenic route. The mountains tower over the city on the East, and the flat horizon in the west hints at the presence of the ocean, though we cannot see it from here. Places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Walmart are very common, but they try to sneak a red maple leaf into every logo, just in case you forget you’re in Canada. They also work on a dollar ($) system, though the Canadian dollar is not worth quite as much as the American dollar. Prices here are much higher than they are in America, but everybody gets paid a lot more, so it balances out.
Also all the teachers in British Columbia are on strike for some reason, so there’s a lot of schools that are shut down right now. Lots of community centers and churches are offering day camps to compensate with the lack of schooling.
One more thing: If you want to send letters or packages, you can save a lot on postage by sending it to this address-
Canada Vancouver Mission
P.O. Box 149
Point Roberts, WA 98281-0149
Every Monday and Thursday, people from the mission office drive down to that address in Washington so you don’t need to worry about out-of-country fees. They take the mail back to Canada and distribute it among the zone leaders, who then get it to us. If you send a package, write everything that’s in the box on the outside, either on the box or an attached paper, so it can make it across the border much easier.
Keep the emails, letters, and packages coming! I love hearing from everyone!
-Elder Reynolds