Monday, November 20, 2017

Negotiating with the big timers

This week was pretty swingin. On tuesday before district meeting the STL's put together a "zone lunch." We all have district meetings at the same chapel so it worked out well. They cooked up TONS of rice then everyone brought different ulams to share (kinda like a main dish i guess.. basically what goes on the rice.) We then threw all of this rice and random food onto huge banana leaves and ate with our hands. Kinda a cultural thing here in the philippines. It was lots of fun, there are alot of great missionaries here. Good thing sisters are creative cuz i'd never think to do something like that haha.

We are continuing however to try to be somewhat creative with our finding haha. There's a funny thing that happened with that one hospital we played the piano at. So when we played there they didn't have a light near the piano so it was a little dark and a security guard was just standing behind us pointing a flashlight at our little handheld hymn book as we played and sang. We could tell some of the workers "higher up" were pretty embarrassed since we're white guys haha and were kinda chastising the maintenance head guy for not having a good light. Anyways we returned back this week and they had a SUPER fancy light installed right over the piano. They also got tons of christmas decorations on the piano now as well as a full nativity right next to it. Haha it's funny what people will do here to impress some white 20 yr olds. I was laughing so hard when i saw all of those renovations.

We wrote that hospital a letter asking permission for our zone to sing christmas stuff there and we also went to ask an SM Mall. We walked in and next thing we knew we were in some of the main administrative offices it was kinda scary since we had no plan haha. The head of marketing came out and started "englishing" us. They basically asked us what we have to offer and if we're actually good. I guess they do big christmas programs there on their stage so we're trying to get into their program to sing 3 songs or something. It's all just a work in progress haha but it will possibly get us on tv and help people be more familiar with us missionaries.

 Went on another district blitz this week with some of the missionaries. We've had to spend lots of time in other areas trying to get things movin a bit it's been super fun. It's cool throwing lots of missionaries in one area for a day because i feel like we're all more united now and missionaries feel that other missionaries care about how their area is doing. they can also see we're all ready to help each other.

 AJ, RJ, Pauline, Chelsiey, and Xyza all passed their baptism interviews this past saturday and will be baptized on the 25th this saturday! They're super excited it's awesome to see how much they now know compared to when we met them. The night before interviews I guess they all talked about the book of mormon and reviewed everything they've read so far together. They all got the story of nephi going back to jerusalem down super solid haha. AJ is the oldest and is kinda the ringleader of all of em. He's 14 but i feel like he's 18 haha. He's already gotten us tons of people to teach and continues to try to get his less active relatives to listen to us. He's also plannin on goin on a mission now! Such a sharp kid i love that guy.

 That's about all! I'm so thankful to be serving here in this area at this time. I love this work and i know it's a very important work. I'm thankful for my Father in Heaven's patience with me as I try to be an instrument for Him. It's very true that by small and simple means, great things come to pass. His ways continue to really amaze me.

Have a great week :)

elder reber

Someone is in his happy place. Missionary tag and clubs at the same time?? Perfect for Park!

He mentioned it was a pretty funny site seeing him on a trike and jeepney with this load on his back!

Elder Petersen had never hit a golf ball- Parker was happy to show him the ropes!

Fun basketball activity

Zone Conference talk notes

Finally got to a range :)

Smart Sisters plan an activity around food- see the church is the same all across the world!

To think he wasn't sure about all the rice before he left.....

Love the creativity! Wouldn't want to let an empty box go to waste!

More cute kids! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I'm thankful to be here in the Philippines

Hey everybody

Just got done hittin some balls at the range! Gotta say it was pretty sweet. I hit some beauts not gonna lie but some were pretty bad as well haha. We paid a "tee girl" to set up the balls on the dirt and tee em up when we were hitting drives haha it was super hilarious. We finished that then headed over to mcdons baby. It was super hard to get the clubs over there on trikes and jeepneys but it was worth it:)

Well this week hauled. We had quite a few meetings like stake mcm and zone conference it made things pretty busy. I guess I’ll update you all on a few of the investigators who are rollin pretty good right now.

Aj, Rj, Xisa, Chelsiey, and Pauline are actually now set to be baptized on the 25th. Due to all we had going on this week we weren’t able to get through the lessons yet. We were however able to talk to them one on one after church Sunday just to make sure they’re all on track. They all were awesome! Kids have really impacted me a lot on my mission they continue to surprise me. When we went to teach them Monday after we finished the lesson they all asked us if we could give Pauline a blessing. We were really surprised and excited I guess they somehow remembered us talking about priesthood and blessings a few lessons ago. It was cool they asked though! Aj, the one who is 14, takes notes on his phone while we teach and always goes off when we asked what he is learning in the bom. His insights are better than mine its nuts.

Bonifacio was still asleep by the time church was starting so he wasn’t there but we still had some cool experiences with him. We gave him a book of mormon and he was super pumped! He gave the best reaction and went to show his buddies later on that day. Every time we teach him or the kids in that area someone random joins the lesson so lots of people are getting the opportunity to hear about the restored gospel.

We also taught a guy who can hear but can’t speak! It was pretty different not being able to ask questions while teaching but he really liked it. He spelled out his name in the air and we got his other information that way as well haha. As we left he was already readin the pamphlet. I’m excited to go back to him.

So Wednesday we had zone conference! It was a pretty nice success. A cool thing president challenged us to do is to head into our area without our procelyting bags. He’s not a fan of em haha he says we look like a bunch of wusses carrying them around. Pretty true actually haha! He’s challenging us to proselyte only holding book of mormons. It’s a way to rely on the book of mormon and its power rather than letting little other things take more of the focus like pamphlets and stuff. So a few times this week we’ve just grabbed like three book of mormons each then we go around feelin like a missionary back from the time of when the church was first established. It has been pretty sick I gotta say.  Another new focus for the mission is before every lesson we teach we start it by talking about Joseph Smith and the first vision then connect that to the lesson we’re teaching. That way investigators are continuing to remember the importance of knowing if joseph smith is a prophet of God. And by constantly hearing that they will have a greater desire to read the BOM to know for themselves that Joseph Smith’s experience really is true and that he really was called by God to restore the fulness of Christ’s church. I also had to give a talk/discussion out of preach my gospel and I decided to focus on the first and last paragraph of the first presidency message at the beginning of preach my gospel. It says, “Dear fellow missionary, we compliment you on the great opportunity you have to be a missionary. There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction. The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.” I guess normally I just skip over this part when I’m studying preach my gospel but it really stood out to me the night before conference so “happiness in the work” was what I talked about. The people around you is one point I focused on to be happy. In alma 26:27-31 we can see how ammon found his joy. I like imparticularly in 31 it says “Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.” As missionaries the work is super fun when you’ve got investigators growing, changing, and showing action. It’s awesome when they’re genuinelly excited for us to show up. BUT on the other hand it’s the worst when they’re hiding from ya and you can tell you’re trying to push water up a hill with a rake. Spending time with people like that makes things tough. SO one thing I think lots of missionaries need to do is drop those who aren’t really ready. Scattered israel is familiar with His voice. One way of knowing if someone is ready is by noticing their sincerty and their love for you as a missionary and for their fellow brethren. So that’s a lil part of what we talked about ha. I also got “thrown under the bus” and had to play a piano solo. It went alright tho I actually really enjoy any chance I have to play now.

We’re trying some new things in our area. Saturday night we had a basketball activity where we just took about 40 minutes to play with investigators. Since church seems to be a hard commitment for many, this activity we’re going to do weekly at the church I think will really help more feel comfortable to get to church. Cuz now they know exactly where the church is and have met other members and investigators in a nonthreatening atmosphere. We had around 30 people there it was fun! Time to get my game back a little haha. Another random thing we did was when we were at the hospital after teaching Jordan. We walked downstairs and noticed the huge grand piano that just sits there. We went up to the front desk and asked them if we could return one night with the zone to sing christmas songs in their lobby. The lady was super excited and gave us the name of the main guy runnin the hospital so we’re going to write him a letter. Then she told us that we should just go play right then! So we were like uhh alrighty let’s just go for it boi. We played some christmas hymns and sang (not sure how I did both at once that was new) but it was hilarious cuz tons of people were singing along and were gathering around. After we met the head of all the surgeons as well as the head of maintenance and they had mormon friends. We’re trying to be more creative and service-oriented in order to find more people to teach.

I’m thankful to be here in the PhilippinesJ I know this work is the work of the Lord. He is at the helm.

Have a great week.
Elder Reber
 Zone Conference
Parker got to play I Believe in Christ at Zone Conference. He said he hadn't seen the music in months so was nervous, but I thought it sounded great! It was so fun to hear him!

Monday, November 6, 2017


Another good week down!

Startin off with Monday elder Petersen and I went to a Japanese place called Tokyo Tokyo it was super fun to try something different! We’ve been cheffin it up this past week! For breakfast we have to be fast but one morning we made some awesome cinnamon French toast. Usually lunch and dinner we don’t have time to cook but one night we got home at 9:30 without dinner so we chopped up frozen fries then added salt, pepper, tomatoes, onions, bbq seasoning, eggs, cheddar cheese, and some other stuff. It was just this huge blob of food but it was prooo.

This week in the area we were blessed a ton. AJ, RJ, Chelsiey, Xisa, and Pauline all are scheduled to be baptized on the 17th. Their baptism interview should hopefully be this week! They have been to church four times so now we’re just finishing up lessons and making sure they’re solid. They literally do everything we ask though it has been so cool. Lots of faith. They haven’t missed church since we’ve met them, they read, pray, participate, and love the youth of the ward. It’s been so fun teaching them and along with them Zhon Ron, Ezekiel, and John Mark have been listening and have potential to be baptized in December. They’re just all a big family of cousins, brothers, sisters, uncles, etc. Haha it’s a classic big Filipino family that live in a three houses next to each other.. it’s hard to keep track of!

We had a pretty great miracle one night. We had all these young investigators waiting for us to teach them but we didn’t have a third male over 18. The oldest of them is AJ who is only 15 so we literally were just outside of their house asking random dudes if they wanted to join us and listen to the discussion. After 20 minutes of talking to tons of people we were about to just call it good, visit a less active, and try the kids another day. But then we met Christian.. 18 years old and lives down the street a little (remember these streets have like 100 people every few steps lol.) He said he’d listen if his uncle would (also 18 but somehow his uncle) but his uncle, Bonifacio, was in the shower. We waited then Boni finally came out and said “let’s go!” outta nowhere and walked right into the kid’s house! It was awesome!

The two of them really caught interest but were a little lost since it was their first lesson and our other investigators are at a different stage. I thought the two of them would sit quietly but they actually asked questions as we taught the kids and as we involved them they were willing to share. At the end they said every time we go to the kids they’ll both come be our “third lalaki” so we won’t have to worry if a member ends up being unable to work with us. We asked if we could go share just to them as well so they could better understand from the start and they agreed. On Saturday morning we taught them the Restoration and the two of them & their friend who was there talked to us how they want to change. We told them words of God might not be something they think about much at our age, but as they listen it will become more familiar and their desire will grow. We said the age they’re at now is where they set habits and make choices that will be reflected throughout the rest of their lives. I love teaching people who are a little younger than me or about my age it’s the best. The spirit really there and boni said “I’ve never felt like this my whole life.” Then at 3pm we were back in the area to teach the kids. As we were about to start Boni just comes booking in through the door coming from playing basketball to listen again haha! On Sunday he was at church and told us “my mind has been so opened here.” He actually volunteered to give the closing prayer in gospel principles and said the prayer the correct way (sometimes people can’t break their old praying ways for a long time.) But it was cool, he prayed that his family and friends could be able to join him at the church next week.

So that’s the story of my new friend Boni. It was a cool week meetin him. He’s number 9 out of 16 kids. Yep, 16. Four have died so it’s just 12 now but man their family and tons of cousins/uncles all live next to their little house.

One night we went to teach bishop’s inactive sister and her fiancĂ© who isn’t yet a member. His name is Vans and we met him last week at church. It’s cool because if we can get his future wife active again in church he has a really solid group of people around him to support him in becoming a member. We met Bishop Flores’ dad for the first time because he works on a cruise ship! It was super cool to meet him and he shared how the ship visits everywhere throughout the world and super wealthy people stay on it. He was just “englishing” us the whole time and seemed so excited and happy about his job. Also in their house there are hundreds of old Lord of the Rings collectables which I guess could be sold for just tons of money now. That was definitely a new thing to see here in the Philippines haha.

Thursday we joined one of the districts in doing a district blitz. It’s where the whole district goes into one area and finds all day. It’s a fun new idea the mission is doing more and the missionaries have been more excited about the work doing random creative things.

We taught one of our investigators named angelo. We’ve taught him about three times now and earlier this week we focused about the book of Mormon again so he’d really understand the importance of it. His dad (a pastor) suddenly came downstairs and we were thinking he’d eventually come tell us to stop teachin his kid. But angelo is super interested and as his dad came down it didn’t make him nervous at all. His father continued to listen as we explained the bom and testified of it and at the end the pastor actually asked for a copy! He seemed to be looking for a way to prove it wrong but we could see it all just made sense to him. I’m thankful the book of Mormon is perfect. Ive relied on its power many times throughout my mission.

One night we got home and the two elders we live with were pretty heated with each other. It was out of nowhere because they’ve been having a blast together always laughing and being so funny. They’re both relatively new in the mission so they’ve been fun to be with em. Anyways as we were up following up people over the phone we could hear them arguing about how they aren’t reaching their goals. One was telling the other he’s the senior comp and should know what to do and the senior comp was telling the other he’s been in the area longer and needs to figure it out. One then stopped talking to the other so elder brizuela came up and told us to come help them out. We finished up follow ups then went down, said a prayer with them to open, then asked why things are all of a sudden so bad between the two. We asked why they came on missions and stuff and it was a good talk. E brizuela said “yeah he just won’t answer my question! He’s just being silent and won’t listen.” Then e vinas said “tell them your question then elder.” And e brizuela said “I asked while we were eating lunch- why do you like the spicy chicken more than the normal chicken?” The two elders then burst out laughing. They totally were KIDDING hahaha! I was in tears it was just so funny. The people I’m around have really made the mission amazing. Those two are total clowns.

Sorry this email has been long.. these emails are now also my journal because I don’t have time for the journal. I type way faster than I write too haha. I’m trying to write everything I want to remember. As far as the worms I think I’m all good with that whole situation now haha. President showed the mlc the pic I took with the worm it was pretty hilarious haha! I think the sisters all thought it was pretty cool but im not sure. We were blessed with 10 investigators at church yesterday. I think I’m more excited with missionary work now than I have my whole mission. Busy as ever- we didn’t have any comp or language study this week haha. Also trying to help some missionaries move to new apartments. Just lots of good stuff! Excited for another great week!

Elder Reber   
Japanese restaurant

The twins turn to triplets. Wonder if any of these guys actually wore glasses before their missions. Parker always wore contacts so the glasses look is a definite mission thing. 

He didn't even mention it but I would assume having a washing machine will make a big difference!

Parkers version of "cheffin it up" :)

Loving the hat!

There were many pics sent of this giant snail they found in their apartment. Glad Elder Petersen has some exterminating skills. That thing is huge!

Looks like a version of a microwave just warming up some leftovers. 

So grateful for so many loving Filipino people that take such good care of our boy!

Just a day at the market

Dinner is served.
Love all of those smiling faces!

These pics are from Sister Fermanis from the MLC at the mission home.
Hooray he is eating again!!

Good looking group!

Its awesome to see President Fermanis' captive audience

Eat up Park! Hopefully just for yourself this week!

Monday, October 30, 2017

The two Amerikanos...and Herman

"Hi there!" -quote from richard reber

Wow gotta say two Amerikanos in this area has been a sweet adventure! Haha Elder Petersen and I have had a blast together. We work pretty similar and have seen lots of cool things happen. We went in this little alley of one of our investigators and met all the kids and each of them introduced us to their parents. Some parents were nice and others wanted to kill their kids haha. We got lots of new investigators this week and have lots of return appointments for this upcomin week. It has been super fun!

I gave a baptism interview to a 16 year old named Judy Ann. It was such a neat interview for me. She was super ready and energetic it's the best seeing someone on fire with the gospel even though they're just 16. She was kicked out of her home by her parents and a member couple (both RM's) took her in I guess. It was a cool story and uplifting for me to hear her testimony throughout the interview questions.

We saw some super great things happen with the area this week. We went back to Charlon Altez and his fam, who i had met on exchanges the week before getting sick. After we taught the whole restoration they were just blown away. It clicked really well with them which is always a good feeling. Brother Charlon looked at us and hardly knew what to do so he just yelled "soft drinks!!" Haha we had some nice mtn dew after the lesson literally they were just trying to do anything to "repay" us. With the culture here they don't like feeling in debt and as a result we often get crackers or something after lessons :) All of those kids of the part member fam are doing great too. They all have book of mormons now and little calendars where they check off if they've read and prayed as they prep for their baptism. They're so awesome lots of them went to play basketball with the ward too on thursday. Jordan has been at the hospital 24/7 watching over his step dad. He feels like he can't leave and literally hardly sleeps so he can be there for him. We teach him in the hospital in a little waiting area where nobody really goes. It's been fun visiting his step dad and watching him improve. One day we walked in and he gave us a huge thumbs up. I went up to where his eye could see and asked if we could give him a blessing of comfort. He nodded his head and started to cry haha. He hadn't been able to sleep but after the blessing he was out cold. I hadn't seen anything like that in my life it was really amazing. His less active rm mom came to church yesterday which made us super happy! Sadly jordan was still watching over giovanni at the hosp so his baptism will be moved a bit. All is well though it's been great learning from them!

Ohhh man something crazy went down this week. So we went to the funeral of a sister of our ward who passed away to give messages. Luckily they ended up only needing one so I got outta it ;) But anyways heading home from that i needed to hit the restroom super bad! I ran inside the house and bam a handsome 8 inch worm named herman came outta my bod. I flipped out let's just say haha. It was moving around and everything! Soo yeah i texted sister turner our nurse and found out what type of worm it was and stuff. I guess it comes from pork not cooked properly and has probably been living in my stomach for weeks. That along with the amoeba is why i've lost so much weight! But yeah there's more to the story. I guess if the worm gets that big it lays eggs and has some nice babies. It can range as to how many but it gets up usually to around 20. Sooo yeah in my stomach I've got about 20 worms straight chilling living the high life. The assistants brought me some crazy meds that basically bomb em down there.

It's weird now too when i eat because i know all the food i'm eating just gets eaten up by these worms. The more I eat the more they eat and the bigger they get. The assistants told me sister turner showed them a cartoon of one worm moving around then on the next slide there were 20 slithering around the screen haha. They all think it's pretty funny. I'm trying to feed my "children" some good food tho! Mcdons was my first meal when i learned of all of this haha. But actually the pills are awesome and I ate my first full meal on saturday in about 15 days at the one and only Mang Inasal.

But yeah that's about all! We found this AWESOME new fam, the Kastillo fam. One of the most spiritual first lessons i've ever been in about God's love, families, and the temple. We both showed them pictures of our families which they they were excited to see. They promised us they'd go to church and said they one day want to enter the temple. I also have been the ward pianist for the past 3 wks. It's fun to sit down and that I can still remember stuff decently even though I don't ever practice out here. We had 8 investigators at church yesterday which was exciting for us. We might start up an english class? And i might do piano lessons again. We just need to organize some of these ideas. I'm excited for these next months in the mission! I know that God is always there to help me and to help you. Look for His hand in your life!

Love you all. Watch what you eat.

Elder Reber

The Two Amerikanos- Elder Petersen and Elder Reber

Parker and Herman-- yikes

They start decorating for Christmas early so I sent this with a requested Christmas music flash drive....

Apparently a picture wasn't provided and they were unsure of how to use it!! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Live after the manner of Happiness

Hi everyone!

First off happy birthday to capri this week!! I'm sure mom is happy that her last child is no longer one digit. Happy 10th bday i can't believe you are that old haha. Have a great day and make sure to get outta school for lunch ;)

Well this week was full of some new experiences! My companion got dengue and i got a beautiful amoeba so we were both man down. It was kinda boring haha i don't like sitting inside a room all day. I was able to read sometimes but most of it i was too whiped out! We were just constantly headin back to the medical center place taking tests but we're all good now! Our old investigator who was really close to being baptized - Joy gontinas- heard we were sick and brought us tons of food. she's really thoughtful.. people here are just straight homies. I'm happy to be here in the Philippines. I wasn't able to eat anything but bananas and crackers but i was able to eat some of what she brought that day it was great!

So i have a new companion! Whatta man. His name is Elder Petersen from American Fork and we're in the same batch (came into the mission at the same time.) Sadly it's not big remi davis petersen but this guy is also a stud. It's every missionaries hope to be put with someone from their batch! We're soo excited and it's already been a blast. We've got lots in common he likes the mountains like I do and everyone in the ward says we look like twins haha. He's a great worker we're going to have a fun time together and hopefully will spend christmas together here!

We weren't able to switch companions until saturday because of the whole sick thing but eventually it happened! Sunday we were able to work and we got to reteach our recent convert Jansen and try to introduce Elder Petersen to some of the people. We had to take it slow Sunday since i'm still kinda out of it which was annoying but hey life is good. Just glad to be outta the house now!

Funny random thing that happened. Elder Albis, who was one of the elders in our house, went home on Wednesday! It was cool to see him head home after working so hard up to the end. His companion Elder Brizuela finished his training and was excited/nervous for his new companion. We got the email saying his new companion is elder vinas and we told him that elder vinas is from Mexico (he's a filipino though.) Elder Brizuela was excited but i guess when they met he knew right away we tricked him. Haha it's hard to explain it to make it funny over email but little funny moments like that make the mission awesome.

I got to read an aweome talk out of the Liahona about being happy. It gave six reasons how to be happy. 1. We must live "after the manner of happiness." In the BOM we can read how Lehi's family faced tons of tribulation. But the people had many times where they had exceedingly great joy. It's because they understood God's plan and new we aren't supposed to be happy 24/7. There is an opposition in all things and part of life is growing and learning through adversity. 2. Live the gospel. Millions of philosophies and systems have been tried but to this day the only way to be truly happy is by living the gospel. Christ said "I am the way, the truth, and the light." By following Him we will be truly happy. I've seen that one on my mission lots with me and with others. 3. Choose hapiness. It takes effort to be happy! Rather than being tossed and turned with what life throws at you we need to "swim upstream" and really search for that joy. It's important to have good, constructive, hopeful thoughts. It all starts there. What you think about becomes what you talk about and it shows what's important to you. If your thought's are happy and centered on Christ you will find yourself a pretty happy person 4. Be kind and pleasant. Tearing someone down to lift yourself up is not happiness that lasts. We try to point out other people's flaws so ours don't glare so much. That's not very chill. Can you think of one happy person who is unkind or unpleasant? 5. Work at it. This is the main difference between the Nephites and the Lamanites (well at least when the nephites were righteous.) In 2 nephi 5:17 it says Nephi's people were "industrious" and "did labor with their hands." 2 Nephi 5:24 (just a few verses later) talks how the Lamanites were "an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety." Being a hard worker brings happiness that lasts. It brings true satisfaction. As a missionary i'm happy when i know i did my best. The main time i'm stressed is if i know i fell short! Finally, 6. Reject transgression. "Wickedness never was happiness."

It was a solid talk i just thought i'd share it! They're really good ideas and i think we can all find one of them to work on in our own lives. The five kids were at church again btw and we're scheduled to meet with them three times this week. We're excited for them and hope things will keep going well with them! We will also need to teach jordan alot this week to see where he's at!

I hope you are all enjoyin life. I hope you're all happy. Til next week!

Elder Reber
I think these two twinnies are going to do great things! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our area is soooo big

Hey everyone!

A lot happened this week. It has been super fun! It was also kinda a crazy week a little because we were in some tough situations in lessons where we had to try to solve some concerns. Like every lesson I feel like something came up! Here are two though.

The first was a family in the other area in our ward. We had interviews and President gave us a heads up that our ward is only going to have one set of missionaries now! Our area is going to be sooo big haha. But anyways we went with them to their best-progressing and kinda their only investigators the Gran family. They’re the ones who went to the temple to look around a few weeks ago. They provided the car. They’re the most normal/cool family I feel like I’ve ever taught. The three kids are all in their teens and super fun! The problem though is that their dad is a seaman and won’t be home til next year. Judith, the mom is nervous to tell the husband they’ve been going to a new church and taking lessons from missionaries because she’s afraid the husband will lose trust. It’s pretty understanding for me they just want to make their choice as a family when brother is back so nothing gets misunderstood. They had a goal to be baptized in two weeks but they informed us they’ve decided to wait til next year! We talked about how it’s good they want to do this as a family but I’ve seen so many times over time people’s desire in situations like this starts to fade away. Satan has time to tell them “nah this is all just a coincidence.” It will be an interesting next few lessons trying to help them figure out a way to make the best decision!

The other was a less active named Jun. Bishop asked us to go visit him. We got there knowing that he often has troubles with his family but didn’t know what happened this time. He’s a grandpa-aged guy and he’s the only member. We got there and he had a huge brace thing on his head! Apparently his transgender kid and his youngest son beat him up. They cracked the bone of his jaw and he has bruises all over his body. He then told us “I’m sorry to say this Elders, but all that has gone through my mind these past few weeks is how I want to kill my two kids.” Wow we didn’t expect to hear that! We talked for awhile and learned that Bishop has given him a blessing and a few members have shared him a few verses the past few weeks. I was just sitting there listening to him talk waiting for a thought to enter my mind but nothing did! I was thinking “love your enemies” and stuff like that but I was sure he had heard it all. I then had a weird thought tho! I asked “what do you like to do brother?” Such a simple question but he got a big smile, got up and came back with all of these sick drawings! We learned he’s super pro at art! I asked if I could pay him to draw my face but all of his art stuff is in the house of his two kids. Oh well haha. But it ended up being a cool visit! We could just tell he was super lonely and I’ll never forget the importance of asking someone about their life!

Jordan is still awesome! He was at church yesterday but we will probably have to move his baptism to the first week of november. His step dad had an attack on his brain and has been in the hospital all week! We visited many times and gave a few priesthood blessings. I think I gave 5 blessings just this week to members and people. I’m thankful for the priesthood! Jordan is super faithful and positive about his step dads situation though. When we were at the hospital people actually asked who were were and we got to share a little about our beliefs. The plan of salvation is amazing! Jordan’s dad giovanni went from a 3% chance of living to a 40%! Hopefully he will continue to improve.

Went on exchanges with Elder Hernandez from vegas! He’s a nice guy we talked about lots of the little spots over by his house. He knows where we used to stay down there. We went out to a new part of their area and it was sick! It was right by the water and it there was lots of grass and stuff. Kinda like Palawan! We walked along the railroad track and realized really quickly people probably haven’t seen foreigners in that area for years and years. Everyone was super kind and asked where we were from and what we were doing! It was kinda like tondo.. there were times where like 30 people were gathering listening to what we had to say. We went crazy down there though and got 12 new investigators in a few hours! He was fun to be with because everyone who walked past us he would at least say hi to them. We got along really well and had a fun exchange!

One day we were sitting eating lunch by the side of the road and we watched a dog get hit by a car! It was so gross haha the car was going super slow. The dog kept squirming around then this old guy just chilling on the side of the road went and picked him up and tossed it to the side of the road. Then a different dog started eating it as it was still moving a bit. Haha lunch got better though because this guy walked in and said he’s talked to missionaries before. He just praised us a ton for having smiles on our face even when we’re walking, doing service, and probably really tired. He said some super inspirational things then bought our lunch! I love people like that. I feel like whenever it’s a hard day someone lifts me back up. The people here are so awesome.

Yesterday we got to bless the sacrament and as we were up there on the stand I was just scanning the congregation. There are so many people here in this ward that are so important to me. I think I’m closer with members here than anywhere else. Almost all of them have fed us I feel like, especially these past few weeks. They sacrifice a lot for us missionaries! We even ate at a pretty nice restaurant one night this week, and another night we had krispy kremes for dessert at bishops house! It was awesome. We also were informed by the relief society pres that there’s a less active sister who wants to return to church. She has a fourteen yr old son who wants to be baptized. We got there and taught her son as well as 4 of his cousins who live in the same house and they all committed to baptism the first lesson! They were all at church too yesterday. Members can help the work so much. I’m so thankful to be here I’m learning a lot from the people.

It’s been a good transfer! I might get a new comp this Wednesday but we don’t know yet.  I’ve been kinda sick the past 2 weeks and I think I’ve lost about 14 pounds in the past two weeks haha but we’ve still been able to work. It will be humbling if Graden can beat me up after this mission. It has been fun though to make fun of each other while we’re out working and one of us is feeling horrible. Then the next hour it’s the other way around haha. We just laugh it off! Today on pday we’ve just been resting haha and I know Elder Moster is pretty sick.. we had to head to the doctors earlier today for a test for dengue. The work continues though!

Have a good week! This church is true. I know Christ is our Savior and has felt everything we have and will feel here in this life. God loves us and knows us. Christ’s church has been restored through the young prophet Joseph Smith.

Elder Reber J