Write to Elder Reiley

Washington Vancouver Mission
2223 NW 99th St.
Vancouver WA 98665

Monday, July 11, 2016


Dear Family,

This week was probably the most eventful week of my mission and I don't have a lot of time, so I will summarize as best I can.

We went to a Filipino fiesta on the 4th of July evening. There were about 50 Philippinos there. I was the only white guy. It was an interesting experience for sure.

I had my departing interview with President McAteer. I really really like President McAteer. He is such a people person. He gave me some really good advice, mostly about a career. I really enjoyed it.

We finally met with Robert this week. He has been so up and down. It was a good meeting with him. He seems ready to go. He went with a friend to do genealogy work at the family history center. Then he didn't show up at church again. I"m not quite sure what is going on.

I went on my departing temple trip. It was good to get back together with the missionaries going home. I will be sure to send some pictures.

Elder Labis is getting transferred. I am sick about that. I have never ever seen any ward love any missionary as much as the Sunnyside ward loves Elder Labis. Everybody will be heartbroken all around, but change is necessary for growth. 

We taught Keith and Misty. It went well. Keith still has a spark. Mistly has a really basic knowledge of the gospel. She would get baptized today, though. They committed to come to church and then something came up so they didn't make it. It was a good lesson though.

We woke up on Saturday morning and there was water everywhere. Our upstairs neighbor had a water heater that was leaking. It was pretty bad, but nothing got ruined except the carpet. We have had about 7 fan things drying everything out. They are super loud and they make the air dry and hot, so I haven't slept well the last few nights.

I talked to a lady on the street that I remembered talking to two years ago. It was a cool connection. At first she just brushed us off and kept walking, but then I remembered it was her and I called for her to come back. Haha. She appreciated that I remembered her (even her name!) and her heart was softened and we talked for a little bit. She remembered me after a while.

Quite a few people came to church. One less-active lady we just met ca e ad another one that we have been working with also randomly showed up. April got Sunday off so she came with Donald. Then a random 12 year old girl showed up and talked to us and said she wants to learn more about the church because she has a friend that is a member in Sandy, Oregon. Sweet! We met her mom and tried to work something out, but it was a cool experience. 

The good-byes were hard as usual. I love the Sunnyside ward. As far as wards go, it has been my favorite ward. It is a great ward and I am thankful for the people here. Elder Labis loves good-bye pictures so we took a bunch of them and I will send them.

The temple sounds great! I set a goal to attend once a month, no matter how busy life gets. I have seen the blessings from attending the temple regularly. Also, I'm in for moving pipe! I can't believe that I am actually a little excited bout it. 

Food? Not really anything specific, but huckleberry shakes are a great idea because there are no huckleberries here for some reason. I'm good with anything though. 

So I finished the Book of Mormon this morning. There was one thing that really stood out to me. Moroni 9:6 is a famous missionary scripture. I have read it a lot and I have always related it to my mission. Just keep working, even though the people have hard hearts But when I read it this morning, my perspective was obviously different. He said "whilst in this tabernacle of clay". I"m not sure why it was worded like that, but it means while we still have bodies. When you are alive and breathing, you have a labor to perform. So even though I am going home, I still have a labor to perform. It has only just begun and I am excited for it.

Thanks again for another email and all of the emails before. I'm going through a big adjustment and a lot of change over the next few months, but I know God will help me. See you tomorrow!

Love: Jaxon.

1. The Packham family. One of my favorite families in the ward.
Brother Packham is the elders quorum president.
2. Departing temple trip.
3. The Cornia's. Brother Cornia is the ward mission leader.


1. Elder Woodrum and me. One of my favorite missionaries!
2. Elder Labis and I with the Dickey family

4th of July Pictures


Monday, July 4, 2016


Dear Family,

Happy 4th of July! I love this holiday and I love my country. It is interesting having a companion from the Philippines on this holiday. He has asked a lot of questions but it is good. We have had a good day today so far. The Sunnyside and Happy Valley ward combined and we had a big breakfast and a flag ceremony and such. We were there at 6:20 this morning setting up so I am pretty tired,but it was good. A lot of people were there.

Keith and Misty were there. They were married one year ago today. Also, they have a little baby boy named Patriot. They are a part member family that loved in a few weeks ago. We met with them on Tuesday and Misty committed to take the lessons. She is way more receptive than her husband was. She wants to learn and raise their little boy in the church. We are meeting with them again this week. 

James didn't come to church again. We had a really good lesson with him. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it was powerful. Then a no-show. We will see what happened. It is amazing that he used to come to church every week and he had a stake calling and now it is a struggle for him to make it one time. It shows that can happen when you get out of the habit. 

We met with the Reddings on Monday. It went pretty well. Viva said she knows the Book of MOrmon is true. We tried so hard to connect the dots for her, but it just wasn't happening. Something gets lost for her between the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the restoration of the church. We will be sure to keep working with them.

Have I mentioned the Ramirez family? they are a less-active Philippine family in the ward. They are a super cool family. WE are going over there later tonight for a 4th of July get together. They love Elder Labis obviously.

Toni has come to church three weeks in a row! She is progressing well and it is fun to teach her and watch her progress.

We met the McAteers this week. They are awesome! The sadness of watching the Taylors leave was replaced with the excitement for the McAteers. They are from Ontario, Canada. They are both adult converts and they have sweet conversion stories. He was a member of the RLDS church. I'm not sure what church she belonged to. He was a stake president for 9 years and then they served a senior couples mission and then he got called to be a mission president with his wife as a missionary. Even though I only have them for a week and a half, I love them. 

Here are some housekeeping answers...

I will find out tomorrow about the iPad. Convenient, right? I think I have money in my account to pay for it if I need to. Anyway, I will be sure to figure it out.

I got my itinerary on Friday. That was a weird feeling. I don't have it in front of me, but it sounds like we both have the same information, so that is good. 

I said goodbye to the Dickey's last night. That was rough. I love that family. They are headed out of town this week so I won't be able to see them before I go. I might see them in Logan. We will see.

Thanks for the updates from home. I love baseball season. Keep up the good work. Nice job moving pipe mom, I bet that was quite an experience! That is cool about Tyler and Abby having a baby, the first of that generation. Exciting stuff.

Testimony meeting yesterday was one of the best I have been to. There were a lot of testimonies about the Savior and the Atonement. One specifically stood out to me. Brother Young was assigned to make these nails for girls camp that had to be like the nails that crucified the Lord. He felt strongly. that whoever it was, he was forgiven. He testified that we can be forgiven of all of our sins, even taking part in the crucifixion. It was a really powerful testimony and meeting overall. 

Thanks so much for the email! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Love: Jaxon

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Dear Family,

This week was kind of an emotional week for me. A lot happened Here is the update:

We found quite a few new investigators this week. One was an excommunicated member we stooped by. He just got out of jail and he wants to come back to church and get re-baptized and go through the lessons again. He grew up in the church and was active his whole life. He was on the high council, a stake executive secretary, and a stake mission leader, so it is weird to teach him the simple doctrine of the lessons, but he is receptive. He wasn't able to come to church, but he has some promise. 

We were not able to meet with the Reddings this week, but we are meeting with them tonight. We had quite a few less-actives come to church again this week. Toni made it and a few others that just randomly showed up. I just don't get it!

President Dickey's daughter came home from her mission in Nicaragua on Tuesday and she spoke on Sunday. It was really good. Which reminds me... I was talking to Sister Dickey about Utah State. Her daughter is also going there in the fall. She said to make sure to do SOAR online? Not there? I wasn't quite sure what she was talking about, but I thought I would mention it. Maybe you have already have that figured out.

Zone conference was on Tuesday. It was pretty incredible as usual. President Taylor talked about his dad who passed away a little while ago and how we receive help from the other side of the veil from our family members and friends. Of course it was his last zone conference, too. He gave me my departing interview which was cool. We mostly talked about the mission and why he put me where he put me. He said that he knew he could put me wherever he needed me and that I would do what needed to be done. That was probably the best compliment I have ever received from him. We talked a little bit about life after the mission. Here is something cool. He and Sister Taylor ill be in Island Park on the weekend of my homecoming and he said he wanted to come! So that will be a lot of pressure.  It was good conference, though. It was probably the last time I will see them as missionaries... and I didn't get a picture. Rookie mistake. I have plenty of memories in my head though. I am so thankful for the Taylor's and all they have taught me. I will be forever grateful for them.

We got some sad news on Saturday morning. Elder Gordon Lambert passed away in his sleep. He was a senior missionary with his wife. They got here about a month after I did and went home about a month ago, so they have been with me essentially the whole time. He was only in his early 60's. It was so out of the blue. He was best friends with President Taylor. They grew up in Burley together and they have been lifelong friends. It was some really sad news. I am thankful for the Plan of Salvation. Alma even says that death is part of the plan of happiness. We have to die to be happy. We don't know the reason for the Lord's timing, but I am thankful for Elder Lambert and his service and I now he is continuing to serve the Lord in the sirit world.

I got the package. Thank you so much. Also, I have not seen my flight plans. Do you know if i am flying straight from Portland to Idaho Falls? I might have to go to Salt Lake then to Idaho Falls. I guess I will get home eventually!

Tell Bish I"m in for speaking with him in August. Do we still call him the Bish?

I have one cool thought from zone conference from President Anderson, the first counselor in the mission presidency. He talked about two seas in the holy land, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is beautiful and clear and lush while the Dead Sea is ugly and nasty and dirty. They both come from the Jordan river. Why the difference? the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee and then it flows out on the other side. The dead Sea just collects it all. Get the analogy? When we share what we have and distribute to those in need, we are blessed. When we keep everything for ourselves, we are not. I thought it was a good analogy. 

Thanks so much for the email! I love you and I hope everybody has a great week!

Love: Jaxon


Dear Family,

LET'S GO CAVS!!!!!!! WHOOOOO!!!!!!! Our recent convert Arthur knows how much I love the Cavs so he called me as soon as the game was over and gave me the good news. Usually I am pretty even-keeled,but I was pretty excited they won. Also, a nonmember said I could come over and watch the game and have wings or something and I resisted the temptation (everybody can start lightly clapping and nodding their heads now. Thank you), I figured if Christ could resist the temptation of all of the kingdoms and worldly things, I could resist watching game 7. I'm sure those Cavalier players have no idea the effect they have on a family in little Tetonia, Idaho. Schultzy emailed me, too. He was pretty excited.

Anyway, I did have a good week even before the Cavs won. We met with the Reddings this week and it went really well. We are focusing more on Sister Redding, the less-active member. We read from the Book of Mormon and she has never read from it before and she loved it! It was good. She didn't make it to church, but once she does, she will be active. It has just been a long time. Her husband is kind of taking it in, but he is supportive. 

On Monday evening, I went to a departing dinner for the Taylor's Usually, you go to this the night before you go home, but the Taylor's wanted to do one for all of the departing missionaries before they went home. It was fun to get back together with all of the missionaries that I was in the MTC with. There were 12 of us and 11 of us are still here so that has been cool. President Taylor talked to us at the end and he bore a strong testimony. It was a great evening.

We had quite a few less-actives come to church yesterday. There was a missionary homecoming so that helped. Toni was there. There were also four more that were there that have not been to church since I have been here so that was cool. 

So we were out walking one day and I saw a car with an 8B license plate, so we knocked on the door. It turns out this guy was visiting his less-active daughter and he is an active member. He said that he lives right by Skyline high school. I explained my Idaho Falls connections and said that I had an aunt and uncle who probably lived in his stake. So he whipped out LDS tools and I told him to look for a Ryan Hart. He found one that didn't have a calling or phone number and he was like..."Is he active?" I was like, "Ummm, yeah I think so!" HaHa. He eventually found the real Ryan and Christa Hart, so thanks for being active! I didn't catch the guy's name, but he is old and doesn't have hair but has a long white beard...think Santa Claus, if you ever run into him at stake conference or something. 

A few random answers to questions...no new bishop yet. President Dickey's daughter comes home from her mission tomorrow so everybody is thinking we will get a new bishop either first or second week of July. No package yet, but zone conference (my last one!) is tomorrow so I am expecting to see it there. The adobo was much better than the balut. Much better. (from Marilyn... his Phillipine companion has cooked a couple of meals... delicacies. The balut was sort of like duck embryo I'm guessing he gagged it down. This last one sounds like it was a little better). 

Marriages happening everywhere! I remember growing up getting wedding invitations for people you had in school, but now the are people I know well. Weird. Hopefully it all goes well.

I will keep Doug and Cheri and their family in my prayers and also those people that are sick. Thanks for the update on everything.

I am in 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I thought it was interesting that the things Jesus is teaching, is right after the Atonement. It was fresh on His mind. He taught the people how to access what he just went through, so he taught the doctrine of Christ. It shows how important it is to live the gospel, to continually exercise faith and repent and keep our covenants...without contention! 

Thanks so much for your email! Thanks for all of your love and support. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!


1. The district!
2. Us with the Zabaldo family (an awesome family in the ward)
3. While I was at the departing dinner, Brother Cornia (our ward mission leader) took Arthur and Elder Labis to the temple visitor's center.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Dear Family,

Thanks for the email. Here is the update from Portland.

Robert got a car this week. A nice member of the ward gave it to him. Robert has no excuse to go less active because the ward has done everything it could to help him. He is stoked about his car though. He is telling everybody. He calls us all the time wondering if we need a ride somewhere. It is pretty funny. He made it to both sessions of stake conference so that was cool. 

I had a big lesson to learn this week. We got a golden referral on Tuesday. This guy just got out of jail. He met a member while he was in jail and this member taught him the restoration and they read out of the Book of Mormon every morning. The member gave him a priesthood blessing while he was in there, too (I'm not sure how this member was in jail and was worthy to give priesthood blessings, but I didn't ask questions.) So he came out and he was ready to go. We met with him on Wednesday. His name is David. I was impressed with him. He has a lot to learn,but he is very enthusiastic and he already loves the gospel. Then we got thinking. He is 21 and single. So after much prayer and pondering, we decided to hand him off to the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward. It was painful because being able to teach nonmembers as prepared as him are so rare. So I have been cursing YSA wards all week. W do we even have them? What's the point? Can YSA people not handle being in a family ward? I thought for sure he was an answer to our prayers. This was at a time when we have been working hard at finding people to teach. Well, as soon as i hung up the phone with the YSA elders, we got a call from an active member in the Portland mission. He told us that his less active brother and nonmember wife just moved into our ward and for us to go visit them. But even if that didn't happen, I think I have enough perspective now to realize that we are all on the same team and we are all winners and we all get trophies (not that far, but you know what I mean). The important thing is that David progresses in the gospel. Having said that, it was still tough to see him come to stake conference with eh YSA elders. Haha. And we did visit the other couple. There is some promise there. They just had their baby blessed and they want home teachers, so hopefully we can continue to work with them. Their names are Keith and Misty.

Stake conference was this weekend. It was way good. Elder L. Whitney Clayton was there and Elder Miskin of the Seventy was there. I got to talk to them both a little bit before the meetings. You would never know they were general authorities just talking to them. They were both normal, humble guys. The Saturday evening session was all about observing the Sabbath Day. It is pretty easy as a missionary, but I definitely have some work to do when i get home. Elder Clayton asked a few questions and then microphones were passed around to the members so it was more of a discussion so that was cool. 

Bishop Dickey is the new stake president. I am pretty bummed that he won't be our bishop anymore. But he is the man for the job. The 2nd counselor was the high councilor over missionary work and he is also in the Sunnyside ward so we know him pretty well, too. So in the mission there are 9 stakes. Six of the stake presidents have been the stake president for less than a year. Also, we are getting a new mission president and wife and a new temple president and wife this year. Change is necessary for growth. 

Here are some of the highlights from stake conference. The old presidency and the new presidency all bore powerful witness of the Savior. There were about 15 investigators there and I felt totally comfortable that they knew that this was the church of Jesus Christ. President Dickey said that he went to the temple the morning before his interview and he got the impression that if he was called to serve, do it. Elder Clayton loved that. If you are called to serve, do it. Elder Clayton talked about always accepting your assignments to serve, even if it is hard. It is okay to express concern and even talk about things that would make it hard to serve, but never say no. So it's cool that Doug's talk was the same weekend and he talked about a lot of the same things. (from Marilyn... for those of you that don't know, my brother was called to be a mission president in Brazil. This is a 3 year calling. He is taking his family and fulfilling that calling in a few weeks. He and his family spoke in their sacrament meeting last Sunday. Their talks were based on President Manson's talk about choices.)  I was really uplifted and edified. It was a good conference.

Elder Labis fixed adobo (a Philippine delicacy) for those nonmembers that fed us that Thai food on Mother's Day. It was really good! They have almost no interest in the gospel at this point, but they are so nice.

The 24th would be a great time to do my report in sacrament meeting. I am looking forward to going to President Taylor's homecoming on the 17th. 

Thanks for the updates from home. It sounds like the summer life is underway. It is definitely not as structured as the school year, but just as busy!

Thanks for the info on the mission calls too. The Driggs, Idaho stake is sending out a force! There are a lot going to Arizona. Thanks also for the pictures of the faily. I love my family. That is cool that you all got together at Doug's place. It sounds like it was a powerful sacrament meeting. Doug is a really good speaker and he will make a great mission president. I will be sure to pray for him a lot this week.

Thanks again for another email. I love you all and I hope you have a great week. 

Love: Jaxon 

Pictures of the Portland zone! (We had zone meeting this week.)
We talked to this crazy lady who was super into mannequins and she made us take a picture next to hers. You can tell how uncomfortable we are. All I could think of was that episode of Seinfeld when George finds that mannequin that looks just like Elaine. It was weird.


Dear Family,

Another transfer week has come and gone. Recently the First Presidency made a change in the rules to where there are no more transfer meetings, so transfer day was just a normal day for us.

Robert seemed to be in better spirits. His daughter came up from Arizona so they have been staying in a hotel. His situation hasn't changed much, but he seems to be doing better. He might just end up going back to Arizona with his daughter, but we will see.

Stake conference will be on Sunday. We will be getting a new stake president, Elder L. Whitney Clayton will be the presiding authority so that will be cool. As you can imagine, everybody is buzzing about it. We hear about it all the time. There will be at least seven people from the Sunnyside ward being interviewed, including our ward mission leader (he was a branch president over the Spanish branch and a high councilor before that), so the rumors and speculations are flying. HaHa.

We met with the Redings this week. It went okay. We will probably have to focus more on the mom, the less active member. She clearly knows something is missing in her life, but she doesn't know it is the gospel, so we will try to help her with that.

We don't have a lot of nonmembers we are teaching, but we have a handful of less-actives we are teaching. One of them is Toni. I worked with her the first time I was here. She always gives us so much food and she takes care of us. She is trying to quit smoking and be a more regular attender, so keep her in your prayers.

Elder Livingston came back up to visit last week and he took us out to lunch. It was weird to see him without a missionary tag, but it was still good to see him.

One cool thing I wanted to mention is that the Peterson family fed us foil dinners! It was awesome! They are getting ready to move so they don't have furniture, but they fed us anyway.

President and Sister Taylor's homecoming is July 17th at 11:00. I think it would be cool to go if we can, but if not it is not the end of the world. Also, Fred made Tshirts that you can get on the Facebook page. They have the names of every missionary that served in the WVM. I'm not sure what they cost, but I guess that this is the last p-day to order them.

We had a cool p-day today. There is a couple in the Gresham stake that served a senior mission in Elder Labis' home ward so they know each other really well. They took us to some cool places in the Gorge. I will send some pictures later.

Thanks for the updates from home! School is out! I love it. Another school year is in the books. I have heard that the Cavs aren't looking too good. Hopefully they can turn it around in Cleveland. Thanks for your thoughts on missionary work.

I was asked to talk to the priests yesterday by Brother Zornes, the young men's president (he is good friends with Rex Fullmer). He asked me to talk about what my mission has meant to me and how to best prepare for a mission. I talked about the value of reading the Book of Mormon every day. I also talked about obedience and the reward for being obedient. Most of the time it won't be in what you get, but in who you become.

Thank you again for another email! I love hearing from you. I hope everybody has a great first week of summer!

Love: Jaxon

1. The Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River
2. A bunch of eels stuck to the window at the visitor's center

1. Livingston and me
2. A district service project that lasted about 8 minutes and 16 seconds
3. A beautiful view

Monday, May 30, 2016


Dear Family,

Here is the quick version of my week this week...

Robert's life keeps getting worse and worse since he was baptized. He was living in his car when he was baptized. He called us on Wednesday evening and told us he had gotten pulled over and they towed his car away. We had no idea, but he doesn't have a license or insurance and the plates were switched and the car isn't even under his name. So we went to see him and all of his stuff was just out on the side of the road. It was quite a sight. So he is really homeless now. Then he borrowed a bike and it got stolen the next day. He has been pretty bad spirits this week and hi missed church on Sunday so we are a little worried about him, but he will come around. We say that trials make us stronger and that we learn from them, but it has been hard to tell Robert that. I guess this is his test and we will see what happens. 

I tried balut on Monday night. Balut is a Philippine delicacy. Some members got some for Elder Labis so I tried some. It is basically an egg, except that it is pre-formed and it is a duck. So basically a duck embryo. We boiled them and then put some salt and pepper on them and put them in vinegar. It looks disgusting, but it wasn't bad. I probably won't have any more, but I am glad I tried some to say that I did. 

The Redings have been sick and out of town a lot so we have not been able to meet with them, but we will this week. April and Donald came to our Book of Mormon class again. We asked Don if he would like to learn more, but he declined. He is just really apprehensive to try new things, but he will come around. April is trying to get Sunday off to come to church. 

I had a pretty bad Spanish flop that ended up really good. We stopped by a less-active member who was Hispanic and her mom, who is active answered. She was really happy to see us and just started rambling off Spanish stuff. It was pretty clear that she thought we were the Spanish missionaries. I faked it for as long as I could. We introduced ourselves and asked what her name was and talked for a little bit, but then she asked a question and I just had no idea what she said. So I broke down and told her we didn't speak Spanish. Haha. But... she let us in and her less-active daughter spoke pretty good English. She told us how she wants to start going back to church and that she has a 15 year old son who has never been baptized an that she wants to make that happen. So the Spanish elders will enjoy that.

Here are my thoughts on a new mission president. (I asked him if he was glad that he had the same mission president the whole two years). It would be a huge transition for a little while, but then things would settle down and the mission will pick up right where it left off. President Taylor did a great job starting this mission and getting it up and running an now it is President McAteeer's turn to take it to the next level. I am glad that I don't have to go through that transition, especially being with President Taylor for so long. President Ferrin was the one who replaced President Taylor when he was sick.

Elder Labis is doing much better. He has had a couple of bouts with homesickness, but he is good. His English is improving. He taught gospel principles yesterday and did well.

Thanks for the updates from home. Sports sounds like it is going well. Thanks for the pictures, too. I heard the Cavs made it to the finals. I am excited for them. The Thunder are on fire right now. That would be crazy if they beat Golden State tonight. No matter what happens it sould be a good Finals. That is cool about all the mission calls. I am still waiting for somebody to get called here to Vancouver!

I am glad everybody got to go to the cemetery yesterday. I told Austin in his letter that I think cemeteries are the coolest places. There are quite a few by where we live. I think they are so peaceful and there is a special spirit that is felt there. All of those people are in the spirit world and I'm sure they come back to visit often. I am so thankful for my ancestors. I know that they have help[ed me while I have been here, even though I have never met most of them! They will still have a huge impact on the work here. Joseph Smith said that we receive more help form the other side than we know. I am so thankful for them.

Elder Labis and I are staying for another transfer! It is my last one, so I have some weird feelings about that. Elder Stevens is getting transferred so I am bummed about that, but it's okay. I am looking forward to a successful six weeks. Thanks for the email and I love you all and I hope you have a good week. 

Love: Jaxon