Monday, February 25, 2013

Letter from February 25, 2013

Well all the libraries across Las Vegas had their computers down this morning and so my time to email won't be very long today. Elder Ririe and I received phone calls from our mission president and the assistants this week informing us about transfers. Elder Ririe is leaving our area and going out to Mesquite where he was called to be Zone Leader over our largest Zone in the mission. I'm going to be staying in the area and I will be training a new missionary who we go to pick up in about an hour. My companion spent all morning packing and I spent my time helping him and preparing for the new missionary. I'm pretty excited about training but a little nervous as well. From what I've heard and observed your trainer has a pretty big impact on how you spend the rest of your mission from the beginning to the end. I glad the mission president is giving me this opportunity and I'm planning to do a pretty good job.

   So I guess there won't be much to say about my new companion until next week but I'm really going to miss my current companion. This week was pretty slow in terms of work and we didn't receive any new investigators. We did however receive a pretty solid referral in our singles ward when we went on splits with a member in the ward. We went over with him to one of the sisters in the ward and were just saying hi and asked if she had anyone she had been sharing the gospel with. She told us that she did and had been inviting a friend to activities and agreed to set up a dinner with us all so that we could get to know her friend better. I'll let you know next week how it goes and if we were able to get a return appointment.
   Our lesson with Joseph was good but some complications came up with his living situation and we have to postpone his baptism for a bit. A lot of our investigators kinda went off the radar for the past couple of weeks but this first week with my new companion should be really good and I can't wait to tell you how it all goes.
   Wow!!! So many changes are happening and I can't believe they are splitting the Denver North Mission. I know some people from Las Vegas who are serving in the Denver North Mission right now. I also know a kid from our ward who left last week for the Dallas Texas Mission named Jared Hammond so maybe he'll serve around Parker Ericson. Sorry to hear that you weren't able to have your snow day...Ha we are still enjoying weather in the 70's and 80's here in Vegas. Hope everything else is going well! I love you,
Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from February 19, 2013

 Good Afternoon. Sorry I couldn't email yesterday but the library seems to close for just about every holiday you forget about while your on your mission. It definitely sounds like you guys are staying busy as my companion and I have been as well. I think I've heard of Elder Stowell but I haven't meet him since he is serving over in Mesquite which is pretty isolated from the rest of the mission... even more so than Parump. It's exciting to hear about all the mission calls that are being made for the people back at home but a little weird as well since I wasn't expecting many of them to serve for another year before the age change. You'll have to let Elder Washburn know that I'm doing well and I am thankful for the chance I had to go out teaching with him and his companion.
   This was another good week for my companion and I for missionary work and we've been making a lot of progress with our investigators. On Saturday we had two baptisms with one in our singles ward and the other in my old area where I was able to go back and baptize our investigator Maggie. I also learned from the missionaries there that her daughter is taking the lessons now and working toward a baptismal date.
   Our lesson with Ben and his son went really well and the spirit was definitely in the room and had us all in tears. They've been loving church and have been pretty golden investigators from the get go. We're hoping to set them both with a baptism date soon and see the whole family continue to progress in the gospel.
   Joseph is set for March 2 and we're going back tonight to continue the lessons. On Sunday he came to church and was able to stay for all three of the meetings. Tomorrow we are going to have a lesson with Shantal in the singles ward and I'm planning to set her with a date when we come over and teach her about baptism. She's been progressing really well and is always asking us to come back as soon as possible for the next lesson.
   Our other singles ward investigators have been a bit quiet these last few weeks but we should be able to meet with them again soon. Jamie just got back from her cruise and we plan to continue the lessons with her on Sunday, and Brittani said that we could stop in on Wednesday to continue the lessons.
   All in all it's been going great and staying busy for us. We have transfers on Monday and will be getting our calls this week about who's training, going into leadership, or being transfered. I'm a bit nervous but pretty excited to hear about all the changes in the mission. Well our time is a little short today but know that I love you guys and wish you the best,
Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from February 11, 2013

Good Morning!!! Hope you all are doing well and staying busy. This was an almost overwhelming week for us with the large number of new referrals we received and the many new faces we had a church, but 'lI start off with answering some of the questions I've been getting.
Q.1 How are you doing?
   I've been doing great and can hardly believe how fast these last two transfers have flown by. Life as a missionary begins to get a little weird though when you begin thinking only in terms of the mission and forget that you had a different life before the mission and will be a different person after the mission. You begin to forget that closeness you had to home when you can't take advantage of calling each time you have a funny moment to share or a quick question to ask. You make friends out here and they become your support over the next two years along with the members and ward leaders. I love the wards that I'm serving in and all the support that they have shown me.
Q.2 Are you growing in faith and is your testimony getting stronger?
   Everyday my faith and testimony grow which is interesting since this is also the time of my life where I'm tried the most. I've never heard so many attacks on the church or it's members but you learn to stand up for your beliefs and help those with miss understandings of the church. It's amazing how so many of the attacks on the church are made up or simply taken out of context, and you get to the point where nothing you hear takes you by surprise anymore and you can help show those who ask where the answers really are.
Q.3 Are you coming to know our Savior better and are you becoming more like him?
   Most definitely as I've come to understand the gospel better and really take time to study it out I've gained a greater appreciation for all that the savior did in fact do for us and continues to do. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation to our investigators and really focus in on all that the Savior did for us to make the plan possible. I do strive to become more like Christ and hope I'm at least a bit closer by the end of my mission. 
Q.4 Are you finding any certain area of missionary work more difficult than the others?
   So far the missionary work has been going excellent and I really haven't run into any really difficult situations thus far. The hardest part of the work is probably just being able to make join decisions with your companion and staying on track with your work. My current companion though has been awesome and I have no complaints! 
Q.5 What are you doing very well?
   I think that I've done a good job with mastering the lessons and my favorite part of the work is teaching our investigators. As I've come to study the gospel to where it makes perfect sense to me I feel that I'm able to do a good job then helping those we teach to gain that same understanding.
Q.6 Where can we help you?
   You can help by supporting me and by sharing your personal stories of missionary work. I love just hearing about home in your letters and what everyone is up to. We only get a few opportunities to talk about the day to day parts of life so I cherish hearing about how everyone is. Don't be afraid to write me about things like football games, school, funny moments, jokes, or any of that stuff, Ha it all helps keep me sane and helps me maintain some personality.
   Well this was a great week for us and we had a lesson with a new investigator named Ben on Tuesday which went excellent. We were going to teach about the restoration but ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation instead when my companion got a little mixed up on the teaching. I'm glad that we started with the Plan of Salvation and I could tell we had touched our investigator and helped him gain a lot of knowledge that he did not have before. He made it to church on Sunday and we set up a return appointment for this Thursday where he is supposed to bring his 8 year old son this time. Our other lessons for the week went also went well with Brittani and Joseph. Brittani had been struggling with the reading a bit and we've been trying to help her understand the background to the Book of Mormon better. She was supposed to come to church on Sunday but something came up and we'll have to check on her this week. Joseph has been doing way better and has been house shopping with his brother for another home in our ward boundaries. We are hoping to have his baptism in 2-3 weeks.
   Sunday was the craziest day so far this week and probably the whole time I've been in the area. At church we received 2 new investigators in the Rainbow ward and 1 new investigator in the Spanish Trails Singles ward. We set up a visit with the women in the singles ward for this Tuesday and the other investigators we'll be meeting with in the next couple of weeks. We had an excellent turn out at church and I can't wait to see what next week brings. I hope you all had a good week and I look forward to hearing from you again next week. Best wishes,
Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from January 28, 2013

   Good Morning! And what a beautiful day it is here in Las Vegas.... well at least looking beyond the desert it is. The work is going great and I've enjoyed getting to know the new greenies in our zone. It was a pretty special day the other week when I was able to lose the title of greenie and become a normal missionary!!! Speaking of which I think I've about figured out the hierarchy of missionaries since arriving in the mission field. There are three main levels to the hierarchy of missionaries and with each level your gain more favor with the other missionaries. From 0-6 months you are considered a greenie and are at the bottom of the pyramid. While you are on this level you will be told numerous times from missionaries on higher levels that "you don't know what your talking about", "the MTC is different from the field", and that "you'll understand when you've been out as long as I have". Once you have been out for 6-12 months you go up a level from greenie to normal missionary who now has ranking status over the greenies. While at this level you have gained favor among fellow missionaries and have more power to use at your own discretion. You officially have the power to play practical jokes on the new missionaries and ask for favors from the elite missionaries. You are allowed to choose where you want to eat for lunch and how to spend your free time on P-Day's. Finally is the level of elite missionary for those who have been out for 12-24 months. Once you have past the year mark on your mission you are of equal status with all the other elite missionaries even the ones who are about to go home. While at this level you have the power to ask for favors from the mission office, zone leaders, and even the assistants if you know them well. You have the right to point out air planes in the sky to new missionaries and ask them "how far away do you think that plane is?" to which they say "I don't know a mile or so" and you respond "Well it's about 10 months for me and about 24 for you" (works best when you only have a few weeks left). You also have the experience card to pull on all lower level missionaries and you remain at elite status for the entire last year of your mission. Leadership and training callings do factor in at times but have little effect over all. So ya that is the Elder Reeves hierarchy of missionaries as I have observed in the mission thus far.
   Anyways... back to the week. It was a good week besides the number of lessons that canceled due to people being sick. On Friday I was able to meet our new investigator Brittani for the first time and teach about the Plan of Salvation. When we went over she had a friend there who sat in on the lesson and agreed to go to church with Brittani on Sunday. When Sunday came something came up and neither one was able to come, but we have a lesson set up for this Friday and hope they're able to make it this week. Our lesson on Sunday with Jamie was good and we went over the importance of prophets, and the commandments. We committed her to keep reading and to pray about prophets and baptism. Unfortunately she will be out of town for the next two week so we have to wait till the 17th to teach her again.
   On Wednesday we were able to get our bishop to come to a lesson with Joseph which I think went really well. Joseph was shot 3 times at a friends BBQ less than a year ago and is paralyzed from the waste down. Joseph looks up to our bishop who is also in a wheel chair but hasn't let that keep him from his family and his life. Joseph is in a pretty bad situation right now and is hoping to start living a more normal life in the near future. On Sunday we brought him a mini fridge from my last apartment that missionaries don't use anymore and he seemed to be in a good mood and was very appreciative. He had been eating less since it was such a struggle to get up and go to the kitchen each day and we figured he could use the fridge to store drinks and snacks by his bed so he wouldn't have to move.
   Beyond that we had some other good lessons and my companion and I are still getting along great. We also both tried sushi for the first time on Friday when a member of the singles ward took us out. It was an interesting experience but I didn't think it was to bad some of it was really good, but still probably nothing that I would go out to eat after the mission at least not very often. I like my food cooked for the most part. Well I hope your all doing well and wish you the best!
- Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from January 22, 2014

   Well the library was closed for the holiday on Monday so we had to wait till today to email back. Our P-Day was a lot of fun and our zone got together and hiked Red Rock (I actually got to go this time since we didn't have to have member rides). The hike was a lot of fun and the view from up top was great! I wish I had taken some pictures of the rocks and the view but I forgot my camera. I did however get a picture with the welcome to California sign on Friday as my companion and I made the trip out to Parump to make some singles ward visits. Parump wasn't as exciting a trip as I thought it was going to be and the landscape is exactly the same only with less people, less buildings, and a whole lot of guard dogs! We gave up on attempting to enter the yards of some of our members and left an invite to the singles ward on their mailbox. On our way back to Las Vegas we saw the California Border just 5 miles off the highway and so since California (Death Valley) is still in our boundaries we thought it'd be neat to swing by real quick and take a picture. It was a good day for us and we meet a few people who said that they would try to get a group together to come out to the singles ward in Las Vegas each week.
   We had another great week in terms of the missionary work and found some more new investigators. We received a lot of referrals in the last week and still have two that we are checking on today. The other referral that we received was from our Zone Leaders for the singles ward. I haven't met her yet but I hear she is a pretty solid investigator and brought a friend to the first lesson who is interested in sitting in on the next lessons. We made some more progress with Jamie on Sunday and she agreed to be baptized once she feels the time is right. I think that the way we have been breaking down the lessons for her is helping a lot and I think that her time will be pretty soon. I had a good one on one conversation with her in the last lesson and I could tell that what we have been teaching her is really starting to stick and make her think.
   Our other lessons also went well this week and we began teaching a sister who had gotten caught up in school and work and began to just stop coming to church. The lesson was productive and helped set her back on the right track. She reminded me a bit of Anna in how hard she works toward the goals she sets for herself (career wise and in education) and is just starting law school. Our lesson with Cameron was great and for a 9 year old he amazes me with how in tuned he is with the lessons and what we're teaching. We taught the Plan of Salvation to him and he had lots of questions for us and shared with us what he had read that week and what questions he had about the reading. I'm really looking forward to meeting with him again today and hopefully we can get his older sister more involved.
   Well transfers were this week and there was a lot of exciting news about all the changes that were being made. One big change was that they added a new zone to our mission and we received 24 new missionaries with supposedly a few 18 year olds. I was also really excited to find out I would be staying in the area with the same companion. My companion was called to be the district leader which now means that every companion I've had so far in the mission has been district leader while I was with them.
   So now begins our new transfer which has been shortened from 6 to 5 weeks to accommodate changes in the MTC. I'm excited to see our finding efforts begin to go through and I look forward to another 5 weeks with my companion. Our zone received another missionary from Colorado and one from Wyoming making 4 in our zone from Colorado and one who is close enough.
   I love you all and wish the Best
- Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from January 14, 2013

Good morning!!! Man how I love Monday's so much more than I usually would before the mission. I look forward to getting to read your emails and share how my past week went. I had an excellent week this past week and was able to get to town on writing people back from the holiday mail. My companion and I decided this week to really focus in on former investigators and other lists of members that we had. As we went through the old records a handful of names stuck out to us who we decided to go and visit. One name that stuck out was of a former who for reasons unknown to us was dropped and forgotten by past missionaries. When we call the missionaries who had last met with him they said that he would travel a lot and it was hard for them to keep lessons set with the man. We thought it'd be worth a visit to go drop by and see if he still lives there. We pulled up to his home and no one was there but we decided to sit outside for another minute and just as we did someone walk up who informed us that he was the man's brother. He told us his brother will be back from Hungry in just a few weeks so we left our number and will stop back by in a couple weeks to hopefully begin teaching him again.

   Random side story time! We did have a bit of a creepy experience this week as my companion and I were out making visits. We were going through the lists and pulled up to the house of a former investigator. We walked up to the door and just as we were about to knock a feeling came to both of us that we needed to leave. We both looked to each other and got back in the car and drove away. We stopped back the next day and nobody answered so we're still not sure why we both had that feeling the other night.... and I don't really want to find out.
   Another former that we found was a part member family with five children where only the mother was a member but wanted us to teach her children. One of the children no longer lives at home and two aren't old enough to be baptized yet so we began to teach the 9 and 10 year old kids. The 9 year old is a boy named Cameron who loves missionaries coming over and participating in the lessons. The 10 year old is a girl name Lanayll who we had been warned isn't interested in the lessons.  Never the less the lesson ended up going great as we reviewed with them the restoration of the church and discussed modern day prophets, the Book of Mormon, and the importance of prayer. We left them with a reading assignment and the 10 year old even asked for a Book of Mormon so that she could read the chapter we assigned them. We're set to follow up with them on Thursday.
   On Sunday night we met with a new investigator for our singles ward named Jamie who we had referred to us a couple weeks before. We found out that she had met with missionaries in the past but lets just say.... she had a really bad experience with them. The missionaries dropped her when they found out she didn't live in their ward boundaries and never bothered to pass her off to other missionaries.....Grr!!! Luckily a member set her up to meet with us and thus started the amazing lesson we had with her the other night. We asked her questions to see what she had been taught before and decided to begin talking about the Plan of Salvation. I love teaching that lesson and you could tell it really stuck her since she recently suffered the death of her mother the year before. She was able to ask us questions that she had and informed us that she really understands the lesson now. I was so happy to meet with her and we're hoping to set her with a baptismal date at our lesson next Sunday!!!
   The work has really picked up now and we hope it picks up even more this week. Transfers are next Mondays so we'll be getting calls this week to see is Elder Ririe will be staying or not. I really hope that he is able to stay since we get along so well and have really been building up the area that we are in right now. I hope that dad gets feeling better soon and is able to travel out to front sight. Brother Warburton texted me this morning to ask for the dates that dad will be out there and if it's all still on. I'll give you his number in another email so you can text him if it's not. I love hearing about how everyone is doing and look forward to hearing back from you next Monday. Best Wishes. Love,
 - Elder Keller Reeves

Letter from January 7, 2013

   Well I am definitely ready to get back into the heart of missionary work as the holidays have come to an end and our investigators are hopefully out of excuses! The weather out here has been great and my companion and I get to spend a lot of time out walking in our short sleeve shirts. I can't say that I looking forward to the summer as I would much rather the temperature remain right where it's at. This has been a really slow week for us with two of our investigators move, one ask us not to contact him for a while, and three of our other lessons cancel on us. Never the less it's a new week and we do have one new investigator in our singles ward that we hopefully get to begin teaching this week. I feel like we've been working really well with the members and the number of referrals we receive is beginning to increase. I really want to stay with my companion at least another transfer so that we can really build up the area. The transfer is already nearly over and we've already received the news that we'll be getting over 50 missionaries in just the next two transfers (12 Weeks) which will open up a new zone and have over half the mission training. It's also neat cause I'll be older than over half the missionaries out!...Or maybe that isn't so neat haha.
   We did a lot of service this week helping with a couple moves and then the biggest project which was helping the members we live with clean out their garage. I love living with members and it's definitely a different feel from the apartment I came from. I really feel at home with them and on New Year's Eve since we had to be in by 6 they came and watched Called to Serve, and Mountain of the Lord with us. I'm really grateful to them in all that they do for us and hope that we get to stay for a while before they rotate us to a new home.
   Today we're going to go run some errands we had and then we're meeting up with the zone to play some flag football. It should be fun day and it'll start the first normal week we've had so far this transfer. I hope dad passes his kidney stone alright and that you all are doing better and getting over the sickness that's been going around. I heard that the MTC is having their own problems with getting sick and that 250 missionaries got a virus that was going around....Glad I was able to miss that!
   I'm sorry to all the people who I haven't responded to who wrote me or sent a package for Christmas. It's been a little crazy and I'm trying to find a time to sit down and write you back. I love you all and wish the best from a very happy missionary.
Elder Keller Reeves