Monday, January 15, 2018

Transfer week

Well these last two weeks have been kinda crazy. We've done some things I never thought I'd be figuring out as a missionary haha. One example was finding myself running through a few inches of water stopping a flood in a sisters' house. The mission keeps surprising me with new experiences and often times I'm not sure what to do (in this instance I think my dad has showed me tons of time how to shut off water but yeah it took me a little bit to remember haha.) Even in some teaching situations I'm still learning the best way to control some situations! I always feel just a little unqualified like any other missionary but it's amazing what the Lord is able to to further His work. That's the important thing to remember- it's His work, not ours.

Elder Fiesta is now in Busuanga, Palawan! He left earlier this week on transfer day. There are now 4 missionaries over there trying to start up a branch. If you've ever seen "the other side of heaven" from what i've heard they're basically experiencing the same thing over there haha. Living in a nipa hut sounds pretty sweet to me though. He will do some amazing things over there training his cousin. Elder Cibuco (my trainer) is also over there training a new nice american from Bingham high. It will be cool to see what happens there and in a few weeks we might be over there for a few days to continue helping them get established over there. My new companion came in last week. We were roomates in the MTC and honestly were super close in the MTC. Never thought we'd be companions ha! It's definitely cool as a missionary to see the people you came in with grow as a missionary. I've already learned alot from Elder Mitchell and we've had lots of fun times- even though he's from the lame state of Georgia ;)

Back two weeks ago when it was elder fiesta, elder mitchell, and I together in the area we were able to teach lots of lessons. We kinda got a feel for who we need to focus on. The main people we're working with now is Kathy's (our recent convert) best friend Christie as well as Kathy's brother Patrick. Christie is looking to be baptized the first week of February and Patrick will probably be later in the month. Lately in the mission it's a goal to start every lesson with the Restoration and tying it to the lesson we will teach. I think i've mentioned that in the past weeks? But anyways i've seen such a big difference since we've started doing this. In the past we'd teach the Restoration in a lesson or two and then that was about it. Once we got to the point with the investigator where we were practicing the baptismal interview questions they would hardly remember who Joseph Smith is. Constantly focusing on the first vision, restoration, and Book of Mormon helps them really understand their importance in knowing if this church is the true church of Jesus Christ and if this is what God wants for them in their lives. It reminds me of the scripture in D&C 88:118 "And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." In real life we should read and focus on the pure things that will bring us closest to God. Staying close to the words of God's prophets will keep us close to the powerful source that will help us endure any trial we are facing much better than opinions of men. As we've relied on the most powerful tool God has given us as missionaries (Book of Mormon) we've seen many amazing things happen as a mission.

On pday we had a meeting where Elder Mitchell and I were able to teach the new ward missionaries how to introduce the Book of Mormon to a friend. All of the priests in the ward are ward missionaries now. It's been really fun working with them and remembering how i felt back when i was a priest. They're all really nervous to work with us but excited at the same time. They all gave us their schedules so we know when they can work with us. I'm super excited for that!

Hope you have a great week! This week we will be in Palawan from Tuesday to Saturday for zone conference and exchanges. It will be my first time to the Narra side of the island so I'm super excited to see what it's like and meet the kind people there.
Love Elder Reber

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone happy new year!
Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and made some fun memories! I won’t ever forget my 2 Christmases and 2 New Years here in the Philippines. The filipinos are so thoughtful- they’ve looked out for us missionaries lots these past weeks. I’m happy to be here!
We’ve kinda been jumping around to random houses these past few weeks. There were 6 of us in a tiny apartment but this week we got a set house at least until transfer day on Jan 10 haha! We are super blessed. There were a few sisters who headed home to start school so an area got closed until transfers so we’ll be staying over there for the time being.
Elder Fiesta had to head to get his license renewed the day after Christmas. It was soo PACKED! If you think the DMV is slow in America you should see it here in the Philippines haha. We were there for hours but as he was doing his thing I was lucky to be sitting next to super nice people every time we moved to a new spot! There are so many people ready for the gospel here it’s just really important trusting God will help us find them.
An elder in our mission had their mom pass away last week so Elder Fiesta has been with him a lot lately traveling to Quezon City for funeral services and things. It has been awesome to be updated about them though because the Elder has really helped the non members and less actives of his family feel the peace the gospel brings the past few days. They also did a temple tour which sounded like a huge help. I worked with an awesome missionary named Elder Palmer from Panguitch for about 2 days while Elder Fiesta was gone. It was fun to learn from him and work with him. We taught a member family in his area the Restoration- a message I think most members don’t mention enough! I’ve shared the story of Joseph Smith hundreds of times here but it never get old ;)
On pday we went to Mall of Asia to eat some lunch and go bowling. We bowled last week as well haha it’s starting to become our favorite thing to do. I’ll try to send some pics this week. Got a few pictures with some random people haha. On Sunday the ward used chocolate bread for the sacrament so I can check that one off the bucket list. Haha! New Years E ve was last night and it was super insane. People were starting to party pretty crazy at about 3pm and it went through the night. At about 10 I was doing some follow ups in the alley way by our house because there’s service there and our neighbor who I’ve never met just walked up to me and gave me a full cake! Haha the people here are so kind. I’ve had a cold this week so luckily I was pretty tired and slept through the craziness. Everyone else in the house was having a hard time though haha. I guess people were banging on our door most of the night trying to get in but they failed to do so.
Have a great week! I’m excited for our investigators to come back to the city this week- most of them went to their families in the province this week. We should be able to make some good progress in the area this upcoming week :) My goal this upcoming year is simple- to read the Book of Mormon every day. I know that as we do this God will be able to help us in anything we are working towards doing. With His help, we will do so much more than we’d ever be able to do on our own.
Love elder reber

*Looks like most of the pictures this week are from pdays. It's fun to see pics at the mall-I think Park will miss the three months of celebrating Christmas next year! Although it appears they do a lot of playing, I still think they have plenty of time to work!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat! :)

This week was pretty awesome. Best time of the year. I'm not sure we were able to get to bed by 10:30 once this week and i'd say not waking up before 6:30 was a pretty rare blessing this week as well haha.

Tuesday we went to the airport to fly over to palawan. This flight was extra tricky though because we had about 20 packages we had to take with us for missionaries over on the island. You could say Elder Fiesta looked like santa and i was his elf. We got all the packages through the first line of security, got over to the lady to check in, and was told by the worker that..... our flight wasn't til the next day!! Ahh it was such a dumb mistake but pretty funny. We checked the time like 3 times but never double-checked the date! I guess it was good our flight wasn't that day because we were able to make it back to the area that night and have a great FHE with a family.

Wednesday we were able to teach an RM's referral. The member's name is nephi blanco and he just got back a month ago. He's an awesome example seeing how he's already reaching out to his long time buddies and sharing the gospel to them. His friend was CRAZY smart. I honestly felt pretty nervous in that lesson haha! He had some amazing questions though and the message of the Restoration had answers for all of them. He has read some bad things about the church as he's tried to research more about us but it was good to answer a few of those. He actually doesn't believe in God but at the end of the lesson he was pretty excited and after a few attempts, we were able to get him to pray for the first time in 18 years! I'll never forget that lesson. We're super excited to teach him again this week. Later that day we flew over to palawan and taught a sweet lesson on the plane to the girl next to us. Right after we said the first vision the plane started to take off which i thought was going to ruin the moment but it ended up being a cool minute or so to let the spirit help the message sink in a little. By the time we landed the plane she had read about 7 pages in the Book of Mormon!

Thursday we had a great day in Palawan. We had a Christmas party for the missionaries there. We had a devotional and a talent show. It was cool to see lots of different cultural dances/songs. Our plane got delayed heading back to Manila but we met some cool people at the airport with the extra time we had. We were teaching a guy named Marvin who was on his way to Saudi Arabia. He was nervous and sad leaving his fam but we met him at the perfect time. I gave him a Book of Mormon at the end of teaching the restoration and he got really emotional and started to cry! It was a cool experience for me to see someone understand the message so well. As we were teaching him elder fiesta went to throw something away and next thing i knew he was teaching to Americans! They just walked up to him saying "we want to know more about why mormonism is the fastest growing denomination in the world!" They were a super nice young couple- one from cali and the other from DC. Good thing elder fiesta is pro at english! :)

For the mainland christmas devotional the missionaries wouldn't quiet down when we were waiting to start so as we were singing the opening hymn after starting President looked at the Elder conducting and said "hey elder reber is going to give a quick talk on reverance to start off the meeting." Haha he throws so many curveballs it really keeps ya on your toes.

Saturday was the baptism of MJ! She has a little disorder and can't completely control her movements and the way she talks. She's so smart though and really faithful. She's currently in mosiah in the bom. She lives with a fam of recent converts but her family is in the province. We went to her house the night before the baptism and the mom in the recent convert fam was explaining to us all the bad things that happened to them while we had been gone that week. They had a member in the hospital along with a few other sad things going on. She said MJ wouldn't have anyone to go with her to her baptism and was worried she wouldn't have support. She suggested we wait until April for MJ to be baptized since she most likely will be moving back to her family this week for the next few months. MJ however really really wanted to be baptized so we said we'd drop by early the next morning before the baptism to see what would happen. When we got there MJ was sitting there in her church clothes all alone.. she had woken up at 6am to prepare for her baptism! She woke up the mom and the mom said "yep, she's ready to be baptized. I don't want to stop her." It was cool to see her faith! There were lots of members there to support the service so it was great!

We went to an awesome family for dinner one night and all of us missionaries in this ward (6 of us) got to give their 16 year old son advice to help him prep for his misison. The father is in the stake presidency and they were just a super strong fam. Christmas Eve we had dinner with the Giffords (office couple!) They surprised us with big gifts full of food and other fun things. I'm just so grateful for the many people who have served me this past week. I feel very blessed to be out here.

Love you all! hope you have a great week.
elder reber

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Rat named Abinadi

Hi friends and fam. This week was packed with lots of fun stuff! I’m lovin the Christmas spirit here in the Philippines. It’s such a fun time to be a missionary. This week we were blessed to have Elder and Sister Schmutz come visit our mission for a mission tour. He is a member of the quorum of the 70 and is the second counselor in the area presidency here. A cool thing that happened was me and my companions were able to be interviewed by him before we went to MLC. He is a very righteous man and as he talks he basically is quoting scriptures. It was interesting as well to see how he would observe things and ask lots of questions to different missionaries. I learned a lot just by watching how he’d do things! That night we had MLC with him and he talked a lot about how much a leader can influence someone. He showed how the whole Book of Mormon is records that came because of 4 people being good examples to their kids as well as the people around them. If just one of them didn’t exist (alma the older for example) then lots of the Book of Mormon wouldn’t have taken place. We can see their influence on other characters in the book of Mormon, and not to mention even the millions of people who have read of their experiences.
The next day there was a big zone conference with all the missionaries serving on the mainland. One thing Elder Schmutz taught was the importance of teaching repentance. How we aren’t just trying to get people baptized but we’re trying to prepare them for temple ordinances as well. Helping them really use the gift of the Atonement of Christ in their lives will give them the desire and power to change. He invited us to promise specific blessings to our investigators then to pray to God that he will hold up the promises we have made with them. President Nelson made promises with us if we’ll read the Book of Mormon and now God has to uphold that promise because it’s coming from His servant. I’m excited to show my faith more now by making promises with those we’re teaching.
After our conference on the main land we hauled to the airport and barely made our flight over to Palawan haha. It was SO GOOOD to be back over there! We slept in my old house that I lived in for my 9 weeks over on the island. We were able to visit some of Elder McCauley’s recent converts while we were there and it was awesome to see their strong faith. I also got to see my old companion Elder Vinculado, who I haven’t seen since I left the island forever ago. He has served his whole mission on the island! We had another good conference there and it was cool to see how the messages were shared differently but the same points ended getting across in both of the conferences! We then flew back to the mainland and got back home at about midnight. The office Elders picked us up from the airport with little signs saying “Welcome home Elder McCauley!” it was super funny since a few days later he’d be going home for real!
Friday was awesome. We went to the temple one last time with Elder McCauley. I will always love the temple. That night Kathy got baptized! She was super excited and her friend Christy who I mentioned last week was there too! Something funny happened there though that I’ve never seen before. There was an 8 year old from a member fam getting baptized as well and as he got dunked under the water he didn’t plug his nose right! Most people here actually haven’t been swimming since the ocean is so dirty and there aren’t many swimming pools at all haha. His feet flew up and when he came out he was screaming and didn’t want to be rebaptized. He began to cry and tell his dad to let him go. Eventually after a few minutes though his dad convinced him to let him dunk him again haha. The second time he came up he was yelling even louder.. but luckily he was all good by then. I’m not sure the kid would’ve been baptized that day if it would’ve taken a third time haha.
Saturday we said bye to my companion Elder McCauley! We dropped him off at the airport and yelled “hurrah for Israel” to him in front of lots of people then took off. I’m sure he didn’t want others to know he knew them but I think our missionary attire gave it away. He served a great two years though and I learned lots from him. After that we went and played some tennis next door to the mission home! Elder Fiesta actually played in a big league throughout the Philippines growing up so he was dang good. It was tons of fun to play him for awhile.
The funniest part of this week though was our experience with a rat. Elder Fiesta saw a rat one night in the mission home and nobody would believe him. President HATES rats too so he was getting mad at him for even joking about it. Anyways though the next day us missionaries were cooking up some dinner and sure enough we all saw this crazy huge rat. I texted President that we have more witnesses and he immediately called me telling me to kill it asap and he wouldn’t be coming back til it was dead. We set a rat trap and by the time we finished eating we went to check it in the laundry room and we caught it! Right then President and Sister Fermanis got back and President went to the other little building to his office. We set the rat cage with the rat in it right outside his door and Sister Fermanis called for him to come grab the phone. He FREAKED out when he opened the door hahaha. Long story short a few minutes later the rat sat in the cage covered in hand alcohol and was set on fire. President named him Abinadi.
Love you all! Have a great Christmas week!
Elder Reber
So grateful Park has met so many fun friends along the way!

Not sure when this cactus fascination is going to be over.

The obligatory food pic

Fun day playing tennis

Monday, December 11, 2017

Being as Ammon

Hey friends and fam,
First off, happy bday to the one and only, my bro Graden! If you see him make sure to wish him a nice happy birthday. It’s crazy you’re 18 now and almost finishing up school time has been flying! You’re going to be sitting down in a lesson here in Manila before you know it.
This week was a pretty busy one! December is always crazy haha. We had to do lots of things in preparation for our Mission Tour with Elder Schmutz and his wife which is coming up this week. Because of that we had to do lots of random things which took a little time from the area but it was still a good week. We had to go to the mall one night to buy 80 ties to give to missionaries for Christmas.  It was pretty sweet choosing out so many, I think the people thought we were crazy. I don’t think I’ll ever have to buy that many ties at once again in my lifetime. We’ve also been creating a cool design to go on the lava-lavas that the missionaries will be getting for Christmas. The design is done, now we’re just working on finding tons of fabric and a place who will do the sublimation printing. But ya I’m basically a professional fashion designer mom! You’d be proud I make sure colors match up good and stuff.
Our area is doing pretty good right now! We have a baptism this Friday for a 18 yr old girl named Kathy. The two other elders met her like a week before I got here and she’s already bein baptized! It’s been fun teaching her. She also had her friend come and be apart of one of the lessons and her name is Cristy. We taught her the restoration and she understood it perfectly! It was so cool she thought it’s awesome that God doesn’t want us to be confused and lost here on earth. She couldn’t stop smiling the whole lesson and even when she said the closing prayer she was still just so excited to start reading the book of Mormon and learning more. She was at church yesterday!
That cool lesson was last Friday night and Friday itself was just an amazing day. The days before that we weren’t getting hardly any time in the area but Friday we decided Elder Fiesta and I would just head to the area all day even though there was so much that needed to get done over at the office. In that day though the Lord really blessed us more than I’ve ever seen in just one day I think. Three of the investigators we were teaching told us they wanted to be baptized and set a baptismal date. Every lesson just kept getting better and better it was so fun! There’s a guy named Balong who has been an investigator for a year. His only problem is he needs to get married to his wife. But he’s seriously the coolest guy and works with the missionaries all the time even though he’s not a member! I met him Friday and he immediately told us he’s going to get married this month! It’s amazing seeing God’s helping hand in these people’s lives. He knows there desires and really will prepare a way for them to accomplish them.
We also taught a 11 year old how to read a little bit better. He wants to read the book of Mormon but hasn’t learned how to read yet. His mom is our investigator right now and was having a hard day. When we got there she was yelling at these kids outside and was really stressed. She told us she was busy but we got her permission to just teach her little kid instead. As we focused on him I think it really softened her heart and after we finished helping him a little she sat down and listened to us. Serving others has been a big focus lately in our mission and it’s been fun to see the results of being as Ammon was in the Book of Mormon, a servant.
Saturday morn there was a baptism in the sister’s area in our ward so we went to the service. There was a ton of members there to support it was so cool. One laurel had a dance practice she needed to get to with her friends in preparation of a talent show so she invited all of her friends to the baptism before their practice. There were 17 of them and after the service we gave them a tour of the church! It was fun joking around with them and sharing our testimonies. It’s pretty amazing how different I seemed to grow up compared to them but there are still so many things we have in common. That night was the ward Christmas party and we sang a compilation of tagalog Christmas songs. I’ll try to get the video of that and send it next week. It was pretty funny haha.
Sunday was elder mccauley’s last Sunday so we went to his old ward in Pamplona. That ward is in the same chapel as my last ward las pinas and luckily there were still lots of members over there at the chapel when we got there. When we walked in I saw the relief society president sister maricor and she grabbed my arm and yelled “we need a pianist!” then dragged me into a room where tons of the members from my old ward were practicing for the Christmas choir! Haha I was able to help them figure out how the song is supposed to go for about 30 minutes which was funny.
Well hope you have a great week! I was talking to President Fermanis about prophets in our dispensation and he was saying how he’s read almost all of their biographies and teachings. One thing that stood out to him is he said that all of them didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do- they just did it. Before these amazing men were prophets, they were simple members serving diligently in their ward. It was a good reminder to me to always be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.”
Talk to ya soon!
Elder reber 

      **No pictures this week but was happy to have this one sent my way with Parker and Elder Petersen from his last area. 
Thank you for this great pic Elder Cibuco. He said, "We met together, Elder Reber my training, and Elder Petersen his companion. I love their companionship, their like twin!" 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Back to the Office

Hi friends and fam!
This week was a crazy one for sure. Tuesday, Elder Racaza in our zone got on his flight to go serve in Ghana! He was just waiting for his visa so he got to do his training here in the best mission in the world. I’ll really miss that guy he was so happy always. His companion Elder Mandla is from Australia and has a pretty THICKK accent it’s super fun. Elder Racaza got to the point where he could only understand elder racaza and president fermanis but couldn’t understand English from an American. Pretty funny haha. But anyways elder mandla worked with us for the day and we had a blast. He’s super good at skating and had about 50 kids freaking out as he rode around doing sweet tricks on one of their boards haha. I found out I would be transferring the next day so didn’t have any time to say bye to anyone really! We had set appointments with new investigators throughout the evening which was cool since some seemed pretty good.  Elder Petersen and I were pretty sad we’d be parting ways! I’m going to miss being with him every day we had such a blast. I learned a ton from my “twin.”
I got transferred to Makati 1st ward! Yep haha I’m back in Makati- and actually back in the office again. Should be lots of fun though. I’m companions with Elder McCauley (from texas. Goes home in the middle of this month) and elder Fiesta. I was actually already super close with both of these elders so it has been fun so far. It was the weirdest thing ever walking into the office to grab some things on Saturday. GOSH I feel like I was just in there! Time is so fast out here.
We did lots of training and stuff this week which was lots of fun. Thursday we had MLC and I got to see some mission buds I haven’t seen for a while. We talked about lots about sacrifice. The mission now has a goal of proselyting for 65 hours a week. “Proselyting” is when you’re actually outside working and furthering the work of the Lord. This new goal has been so cool because we’re seeing missionaries now waking up earlier, eating meals quicker, doing shorter studies, and talking to more people. These small things are showing the Lord that we really want to help. It shows that the people are more important to us than what we’ll be eating for lunch. Sacrifice is a really powerful word to me and I’m excited to continue to grow little by little so I’ll be able to give a little more each day.
All of us in the office actually don’t currently have a house so we have to sacrifice a little by living in the mission home ;) Man I’ve eaten lots of lucky charms, brownies, and ice cream these past few days. President also is a pro chef and cooked us up some crazy good omelets a few times. It’s fun to be around him and his fam. I’m startin to learn tons about rugby haha it’s like the one sport I didn’t watch before my mission. I’ll be watchin it for sure when I get home I never realized how cool it is. The office elders are currently elder cram (the one I trained to take my spot) and Elder Burdeos. They both went to riverton high school which is fun. E burdeos is actually full filipino blood but was born in Utah haha. People are super surprised when he opens his mouth and speaks perfect English. We’ve all been playing lots of basketball oer here too at the mission home it’s awesome fun.
Saturday was our pday and we made our way back to my first area- tondo! We went to divisorial which is that crazy huge blackmarket place where you can buy tons of fake stuff for super cheap. We got stuck in traffic and it ended up taking about 4 hours to get there haha. We were trying to drive on this narrow road with millions of stands set up with tons of people weaving through cars. As we were sitting there we were getting bored so rolled down the windows and started handing out pamphlets to people haha. Elder Burdeos was cracking me up because he was baring his testimony to everyone in English and they thought he was super cool.
Sunday was stake conference. It was super awesome because I was able to see everyone from my past area, the Makati 2nd ward! I saw Justine there- our awesome investigator who was baptized after I got transferred to Las Pinas. The missionaries are working on her family now and she goes to institute all the time! She also just finished the book of Mormon. The conference itself was great. There was a celebrity guy named “eruption” who spoke on the word of wisdom. It was funny haha he kept flexing at the pulpit (he’s ripped) but he actually gave a really great talk. He’s polynesian and served his mission in the Philippines. He eventually returned here and was a tv show host. He said last year he was on Amazing Race.. is that true? Also the stake president introduced the plan to split the stake again and to get an institute building in the stake boundaries. To do this they challenged every member in the stake to give one Book of Mormon in the year of 2018. Also, they’re starting something called a 6-year mission. All Priests and RM’s will be made ward missionaries so before their mission they can learn and practice, as well as after the mission they can stay on the right path and keep good habits they had in the mission. So basically everyone here ages 16-22 will be involved in missionary work, whether being set apart as a full-time missionary or not. The spirit was super strong as they introduced these plans. It just feels right. It will be great to see progress in the Stake as they apply these new ideas. I’m thankful for church leaders and for the revelation they receive to help build the kingdom.
Sunday night we had an awesome lesson. We needed to get heading home but Elder Fiesta felt like we should go try a family they had taught once real quick. We got there and started teaching the mom and her daughter. The husband is always at work and the first time they taught them he was still at work. But as we were teaching the dad suddenly came in! Long story short the family of 5 had never heard their dad pray because he doesn’t believe God exists. But after we shared the Restoration he told us he was feeling different and was willing to try learning more. He said the closing prayer and his wife was in tears after. I love bein a missionary!
Love ya all! Hope you all have a great week. Elder Reber  :)

Not the best quality of pics but I am copying them off from Parkers Mission Facebook account page- Philippines Manila Mission 2017-2020. It is so fun to see all of the information posted there about life in his mission field. Sister Fermanis does a great job of keeping all of us at home updated on what great things they are up to. 

Got this great pic from Brother Bunyi from the Pasay 3rd ward. It hasn't happened very often but a random picture sent your way in the middle of the week is the best!!