Monday, October 9, 2017

Teaching at Mission Leadership Conference


Lots happened this week!

Last pday was sweet! We went to a member's house in the ward next to ours with the elders in our house with us. We watched Finding Dori and they had double stuffed mint oreos! It was sweet! We also cooked up super crazy korean noodles. They were soooo spicy it was a pain haha. The first one to eat icecream was the loser and I'm pleased to say i didn't lose. The second their daughter ate some though I attacked the icecream haha. We then went out to work because we had a dinner later that night at 7! We ate at the Aguilar's house. Brother Aguilar is in the paranaque stake presidency and it was a new dinner experience for sure haha! They have two kids currently studying at BYU Idaho and their fam lived in Minnesota for a few years back in the day for his work. We ate at their home which has a swimming pool! We ate super pro korean barbeque food which was really fun. We put the meat into a lettuce wrap thing and add kimchi and some other stuff. I might add it was quality meat!! It was super super good. As we were eating something unexpected happened! I noticed out of the corner of my eye brother Aguilar making a golf swing motion! Apparently he loves golf and is pretty good too. 9 handicap. He plays at a country club but it's outside of our mission boundaries. He then showed me some of his clubs! He's got six sets and one club i pulled out is actually the same 3 wood i have back at home! It was sweet to hold a golf club for the first time out here! But it got better.. He told me saturday after general conf he would lend me a set until i transfer! So sure enough, saturday came around and he dropped off some clubs! So yeah I now have some sweet clubs sitting at the house :) It worked out perfectly because earlier that p day on the way to those other members I noticed a little driving range! This pday we had a zone activity that the stls were in charge of at the church where we played some games and stuff but next week i'm hoping to be hitting a bucket :)

Went on some exchanges with Elder Calderon from San Antonio. He's actually going home in a few transfers and is now back in the same area he started his mission in! Kinda cool. For lunch we went and ate at a mexican spot where I had my second chicken burrito of my mission. That was good. It was a fun exchange and we were able to help a couple get closer to getting married. That's a huge problem.. especially in this zone I've noticed! That night over at their house another missionary named elder mandla from australia was crackin me up. He started juggling a soccer ball and ripped his pants and was crying he thought it was so funny. Haha he's a classic blonde surfer the way he says things is like your watching a movie.

Well wednesday I got a text that I didn't want to receive! I was asked to give training at mlc. I was asked to talk about any subject and whatever I chose would be the focus of the mlc. Each month I personally like to choose a christlike attribute out of preach my gospel and make that my focus for the month. That way I don't try to do too much at once. When it's just one attribute/goal I better focus my energy towards one thing rather than trying to work on so many different things ineffectively haha. Anyways, last month my attribute was diligence and when I was asked to pick a topic that immediately came to my mind for some reason. It ended being pretty good! I'm glad so many were willing to give insights it makes teaching much better when people raise their hands. Also even with investigators the lesson is 100x better when they share things they've learned/ask questions rather than sitting silently haha. A scripture we kinda focused on was D&C 123:12-17 if you want to check it out. I love those verses. I'm especially grateful for the example of Christ's diligence though. That's something I never would really think of when I thought of Christ until recently. He really was perfectly diligent. I like how when he served it was to individuals and wasn't for the praise of man. If anyone deserved a "break," it would've had to be Christ after performing the atonement. But did he stop? No, he continued to share His gospel in the Americas as well as in the spirit world. Even now, He continues to do His work and continues to lift others. What a great example.

In the huge barangay in our area CAA we were waiting for a trike when suddenly we heard "Hey elders!!" We looked over and there was a white guy smilin at us haha. He asked where I'm from and I said Utah. He said where in Utah and I said Sandy. Where in Sandy? about five minutes from the canyon? Where over there? I asked if he knew sego lily drive haha. He replied yep! I'm from highland drive. Right across from the willow creek park" Haha it was crazy! I used to play some nice tennis over there sometimes. You know that one house with the super big icicle christmas lights? He lives two houses down from that haha! He was with his filipina wife visiting family and apparently they live in a place called Olangapo at this time of the year! So crazy haha.

General conference was soooo awesome. It's hard for me to choose a favorite but one thing keeps coming back to my memory. The three promises of President Russel M Nielson about the Book of Mormon.

My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.

I wasn't always super pro at watching every conf growing up but as far as I can remember in my experience of conferences that was the first time a prophet or apostle has ever made three promises in a row like that. It was so powerful! I'm excited to continue to study these amazing talks and learn more and more from them.

Have a great week! Love you all!

elder reber

Parker teaching about diligence at the MLC

Lots of the rubber shoes they buy in the Philippines. They are great for all of the wet, rainy days.
This baptism were people he taught in his last area :)

Elder Webster edited this picture of Parker riding the infamous horse. :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Temple Trip


 Hope you all had a good week! We had some cool things happen this week in our area. It was exciting!! We didn’t have a whole ton of time in the area but we were blessed with lots of progress.

 We’ll start of with Jordan DeGuzman. He’s the man! We were able to teach him a few times this week. He was able to meet lots of the YSA that work with us often and he’s gotten pretty close with them already! His mom (the less active rm) also participates in the lessons it’s really fun. We got through the restoration this week and went through it with much detail. We gave him a Book of Mormon and got him excited to read. I love the Book of Mormon you can always rely on it. Anyone who reads it will truly begin to understand how amazing the Restored church of Jesus Christ really is. Also Jordan loves playing basketball and Thursday nights the young men/ysa guys play bball. He was able to head over and apparently he loved it!

 Saturday our week with Jordan improved even more! The other elders of our ward have an investigator family who own a big 12 person van! We were able to plan a temple trip with the family they’re teaching, Jordan, and a few members. We drove over to the temple and hey it reminded me a little of driving with the friends in the “beast van” to the ranch haha. It was a great visit and we were able to show them around. Sister Gran (the mom of the fam) bought us all lunch over at a little spot owned by the church it was super nice of her! I felt all of the investigators, missionaries, and members got closer and the temple always has a strong spirit. Sunday Jordan came to church for the first time and we taught him after in a room. He said that he’s been asking his mom for months now to have missionaries come teach him and he’s so happy it’s all happening now. All of a sudden in his life he’s wanted to know more about the church. We extended a baptismal date for oct 28 (the soonest possible) and he accepted! He said he will never leave the church and wow it was cool to hear realizing he’s only been one time. So blessed to find that guy.

 Lots of kids here in the Philippines always ask if i wear lipstick.. I don’t think i’ve mentioned that? But gosh i think this week 4 kids asked me- it was humbling! I always make sure they know that i don’t and that dudes shouldn’t wear lipstick. Haha kinda funny though!

 Funny experience. We met someone and when we entered their house they started going off to us how Eve wasn’t the first woman on earth. It was some person named Lileth. It was so funny i was trying not to laugh. She said Lileth was put on the earth the same time as Adam. She was really all about gender equality which i haven’t ever seen here in the Philippines my whole mish. Haha the apostasy hits people hard sometimes though! It was a new experience where i heard lots of things that are so far from what I know to be true. I’m kinda scared though that Lileth is going to come find me for laughing though..

 We've been having some awesome companion studies lately! Weekly planning a few weeks ago we talked about how companion studies throughout the mission are sometimes too repetitive and kinda boring. You just kinda read, share insights, read, insights, practice teach, etc. We decided we wanted to actually learn everything preach my gospel has to offer. Now we choose one subject a day and have a sweet convo about it. Looking up scriptures and connecting things to together. There was one day where we had such a great study i learned a ton from the spirit. We talked about how as missionaries we have the spirit but it’s not super strong. As a result we sometimes ask “do i really have the spirit with me right now?” We remember how if we’re worthy we are entitled to the spirit, and that saying “huh, do i even have the spirit?” probably offends the spirit. We talked about how we can’t offend the spirit and that we need to have faith to talk to people even if they won’t end up joining the church. By focusing on Christ, the blessings of the church, and the person we’re talking to rather than ourselves we will have a greater desire to share the gospel. We are truly God’s instruments and shouldn’t let anything we do hinder His work.

 Thursday was zone conf! President talked about how there is no excuse not to baptize in areas. All areas are capable of catching fire, it just depends on the missionary and it only takes one match. The reason we think an area is hard is because of its history, but we don’t look forward with faith of what its potential is. He shared jacob 5 and how there were different spots in the vineyard that produced all types of fruits. Even though the Lord of the vineyard knew some of the areas were poor, He still nourished them. Even the poor areas brought forth great fruit. It was a good reminder. Last transfer President fresh started like half of the mission haha so the missionaries would go into the area with faith, not thinking of what other missionaries have to say about the area. He also talked about specific prayers and gave many good examples in the book of mormon. A new one i never realized was how Nephi asked God for a famine to help humble the people. The different ways in the past weren’t humbling the people, so Nephi specifically asked for the famine. He said if we’re working our hardest and things aren’t working we need to change what we’re doing and start experimenting.

 Well anyways I’m just so thankful to be here in the Philippines. This week i was just really full of grattitude as I was talking and working with the great filipino people. I couldn’t ask for a better place to serve. There was a baby blessing yesterday at church and the grandfather giving the blessing was having a hard time with the wording to start the blessing since the beginning is in english. I was so proud of him though he gave a cool blessing. By the time he got the wording down he was a bit frazzled and the actual blessing was very very short. One of the only things he said was blessing his grandson to one day be able to serve a mission. I was thinking, this child (parents are less active) just being able to serve a mission would help him be alright in life. It hit me that i’m serving a mission and it’s such a blessing. I thought i’d be serving to kinda “give back” to my father in heaven but in reality he’s just blessed me more than i wouldve ever imagined. I’ll never be able to “pay him back.” I’m thankful to be here. And i’m thankful for all of you! Life is good! Have a nice week J

 Love elder reber

ps sorry no pics this week the internet shop here won't allow us to plug in flash drives and stuff. next week!

**Sister Fermanis to the picture rescue once again! Love these zone conference pictures!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Magandang Umaga! Good Morning

We got to go to the temple last week and it was awesome. It really got me excited to work this week! It’s always nice to take some time to step back and evaluate on a larger perspective. The Manila temple is awesome too it has grass like on a golf course.. and i like grass like on a golf course.

This week we had something awesome happen! We were out walkin around and a lady came walking up to us and told us she’s an RM! She’s now inactive but super nice. She said she has 4 kids but only one is currently living with her here in las pinas.. the others are in the province with the dad. The son with her now is named Jordan and is 18 years old. She said she has wanted him to listen to missionaries for awhile now then decide for himself if he wants to be baptized. She also said she wants to return to church and be active again.

We went and met her son on Saturday! He is super cool! He is actually one of the best hip hop dancers in the philippines for his age.. their team won the whole thing in whatever big competition it is. Apparently they’ve been on tv a few times too! His mom talked about her mission for awhile and cried a ton while remembering her cool experiences as a missionary. She also had lots of advice for us when we go home so we don’t take the path that she took. She said though even though she’s been down many roads, her testimony of the church and its truthfulness is still very strong. We asked Jordan what days we can continue to return to teach him and he said “four times a week will be good!” We printed out a calendar and now have him on a set schedule. Super cool! We’re excited to have someone new who really understands the end goal of being baptized and going through the temple. His mom even mentioned she thinks it would be super cool if he one day serves a mission. I agree that would be beast.

Last time we emailed my companion learned that his uncle from Makati got hit by a bus and is in the hospital. They’re all non members but asked if he could visit. He asked President if he could go give a blessing and President gave him the go. It also helped them not get offended with the church because they’re helping him be able to serve in the first place. But we headed over on the LRT (like trax in ut) and were able to give the blessing. The equiptment at the hospital was so old i felt bad for the people in there. His uncle was cool though he couldn’t speak but he gave us a nice thumbs up!

Went on exchanges with Elder Dequito and found some new investigators. We had a funny day haha so many weird things kept happening. We taught the craziest grandma.. Also a special needs 30 year old in underwear stole my waterbottle out of my hands and took off running! I chased him down though and got it back.

Our mission is now allowed to enter the whole boundary of the ward rather than just our proselyting area to visit members. President said we should let the Bishop put us to work and one way to help that was through letting us visit any member or less active. So now we proselyte in our half of the area but can eat dinner and share a message anywhere in the ward. The relief society president sister maricor is awesome and went crazy yesterday at church getting people to sign up for a dinner appointment. It has been awhile since four elders are allowed to eat and share so everyone wants to have the missionaries over. Haha let’s just say the ward is awesome and we have tons of dinners now this next month! It will be really good too to receive more referrals and better help members share the gospel. I’m excited!

Also yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament! It was 15 minutes and i focused on the importance of our agency and habits. It’s one thing I’ve noticed on my mission that is so important for our progression. Choices we make also show what is important to us and where our hearts are. The small choices are what set apart an average person and a true disciple of Christ. I talked about how the word of God can change our hearts and help us become more like Christ. In Mosiah 5 we see the affect of the word of God on people. After King Benjamin gave his last words to his people, it says in verse 2 “And they all cried in one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” The scrpitures can change our desires. They will help us to love living the commandments and doing what God expects- not just doing so because we have to. They will help us feel His love for each of us. They testify of Christ and help us understand what He did for us. They help us become more like Him. I remember the talk given last conference i think about how over generations after moving to a new country the native language of a fam is eventually lost. I talked about that a little because there are tons of provinces and different dialects here in the Philippines. Language is often what people like to talk about here. The same goes with the gospel. When one person decides to fall away from the gospel, it affects the future generations. Over time the language of the gospel is lost in the home. A cool example of this happening in the scripts is mosiah 26:1! As well as in our personal lives, when we stop reading the scriptures gospel teachings start to become more foreign to us. It’s true that what is being fed into our head makes us into the person we are. Kinda like you are what you eat haha. I invite you all to start trying to develop a new habit this week that will bring you closer to Christ. By doing it regularly over time you will see changes, i promise! Lots of work and sacrifice has taken place to help preserve the words in the Book of Mormon to lead us to know what we need to do. Let’s try not to take it for granted and do the best we can to preserve the language of the gospel in our lives and fams.

Thx everyone for the love and support. Have a solid week!

Elder reber J

No pics from Parker this week. This is a picture of a meetinghouse on Palawan that Sister Fermanis took. 
This picture of Parker's buddy Elder Mitchell made me laugh. The missionaries love it when they order pizza. Everything comes with rice on the side. Even McDonalds serves rice. Fun fact.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ice cream cart ride

Hello all!

This week was a busy one! We were packed with meetings almost every day so we didn’t have as much time in the area but I still learned a lot myself.

Well I’ll start off with Tuesday. It was the rainiest day I’ve seen on my mission as well as in my life. I can’t really explain over email how funny it was for me. Probably at least 10 times throughout the day I saw things that just made me bust up laughing. The craziest part though was on the way to district meeting. Our little trike driver took a different route because some roads were so flooded then eventually we got to a main road and there was no way he could go any further. It was literally a river! We got out and got up on the sidewalk which was elevated a bit from the rest of the ground around us. We then watched cars come through and the water was higher than their lights.. probably not good for the cars but oh well haha. They literally looked like boats. Since it’s a rule as missionaries to not walk in water like this we paid some sick grandpa guy 40 pesos to get us across the stretch of about 50 yards. He actually sells icecream on a little cart but he had taken off the cooler part and we sat up on the little piece of wood that was pretty high up in the air. He then pushed us through this street and the water went up to his chest haha! As we were just sittin there we watched a motor totally die in the water and kids were swimming in the black water haha. I won’t be forgetting that sweet ride on the icecream cart anytime soon!

Joy received a call from her husband this week! He’s currently working in Saudi. He said that he doesn’t approve of her being baptized because they owe it to their old church because they helped them get married. He also said their family should all be the same religion. The only way he approves of her being baptized is if all the kids do the same. I guess to me that’s pretty understandable if I were him. The problem is though her kids aren’t quite where she is yet as far as knowing the truthfulness of the message. We’re still working with them and will see what happens! We figured out about the call and went running over to their house after MLC. We both felt like we needed to watch the restoration video because they haven’t seen it yet and knew it would give them a clearer view of Joseph’s experience. It was one of the coolest restoration lessons I’ve ever been apart of. After the video we both shared our testimonies of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel here on earth. Our awesome member PC who works with us also bore his testimony and had some cool things to share about his conversion story. We left it up to Joy to pray to know what to do. It’s hard when they know the message is true but random little obstacles keep coming up! I know eventually she’ll overcome them all and join the church, even if there are some sacrifices that may be required. We read how the king said to Aaron in the book of Mormon he was willing to give up his entire kingdom to receive eternal life. We also shared how Lehi left many riches to go dwell in a tent in the wilderness- because he knew what he was doing was commanded by God and was true.

Our awesome Ward Mission Leader Nephi had his first kid this week! Also Julius, the recent convert prepping for his mission, worked with us every day this week. The people here have been such good examples to me. On Thursday nights the wards play basketball at the church and Julius always goes. This week though he knew we needed a third male in our lesson so he decided to work with us instead! Haha that’s after me trying to tell him to just go play basketball for 5 minutes. He’s super cool!

We had an mlc on Wednesday and it was a cool meeting. I still am always amazed at how crazy president is with the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. When he holds his scriptures it’s like he’s holding a sword waiting to strike with some scripture. Every time he goes to open everyone’s just like “oh man.” Haha in the middle of a discussion he opened up to a random page and read, then connected that scripture to lots of others. He’s showing us that every verse is in there for a reason and that doctrine changes behavior. My interest in the scriptures has really grown there is seriously so much to learn. The more we learn the more we understand how to become like the Savior. Knowledge is actually a “Christlike attribute” in preach my gospel which is an attribute I would never pay attention to until now.

One cool thing I learned about setting goals in that meeting is we need to first set the big goal, then set smaller goals after that that will lead us to achieve the main goal. I’ve noticed that I usually try to do too much at once, but by setting better goals I can focus my energy on one thing rather than many. One thing I’ve wondered in my mission though is why I sometimes set goals then try to do all I can to achieve it, then don’t achieve it. I learned that just like we shouldn’t take credit when a goal is achieved, we also shouldn’t take credit when a goal isn’t achieved. President said we shouldn’t worry, this work isn’t our work, it’s His work. In D&C the Lord says many times “counsel me not.” We just need to trust in Him and continue to have faith to see amazing things happen in our lives.

We were able to attend a baptism Saturday for the missionaries we stay with. The kid being baptized was named Christian Nuguit. He’s 23 and has tons of tattoos up to his neck. I had met him on exchanges he’s super cool. One of the speakers was an old guy and he gave the funniest talk! I was in that back laughing- haha. He said “Christian, you were foreordained to join this church! Let’s look at your name. Christian- your name helps you remember to do things that Christ would do. Of course you were foreordained to join His church here on earth. Nuguit. (then he turned to English) Nuiguit in English is “no get.. Satan no get you Christian! Your were foreordained!!” Haha people here are so fun they always speak a little English in formal settings and it’s super good to see what they’ve got up their sleeves. That guy was the man haha! Anyways though seeing a tough guy like Christian in tears after being baptized was a great experience. The spirit was really there that meeting.

I learned Sunday night that Claire and angel were baptized in my last area! I’m super glad to hear they chose to follow Christ’s example. I can’t wait to see them again one day, I saw so much change in them when I was there I can’t imagine what they’re like now! I love being a missionary and I know that the fullness of Christ’s church is restored here on earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage you to follow my companion’s counsel that he always has for the other missionaries.. “keep following the word of chastity and law of wisdom and all things will work out.”

Love ya all! :)

Elder reber

So grateful Parker could have a temple day. It is even worth waiting an extra day to get his email!

I love thinking of my picky eating Parker sitting down and enjoying a new meal!

Blurry of Park but still such a cute picture- look at those smiles!!

Study Time

Love Baptism Days

My favorite has to be the cactus centerpiece! Pretty nice presentation if I do say so myself!

Another pic with the horse

Elder Reber and Elder Moster

Love seeing the missionaries at the temple

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

100th Stake

Hey everyone!

This week has been good! This week has been really busy because this zone combined so there are tons of new missionaries here it’s been kinda wild! I’ve learned the importance of having a good area book because lots of missionaries are fresh starting in the mission and some are feeling the pains of bad organization haha. The number of missionaries have been going down in our mission as well so every transfer areas are being combined like ours was a few weeks ago. Lots of good new opportunity though!

Well transfers came and I’m still here with Elder Moster in our area. I’m happy we have another transfer together it has been fun with him. The best part of this week was seeing Joy Gontinas return to church! Her kids weren’t able to come but at least she made it. After church she told us her decision has been made- she will be baptized! I think last week’s little trial with her old pastor was just a little test of her growing testimony of this church. I think her going to church at her old church also solidified her knowledge that it… isn’t true ha. We are hoping to set her goal date for Sept 23 but we will see how our lesson with her goes tonight!

We have a few other investigators who are making little steps but haven’t been to church yet. It’s cool to see how line upon line they gain more faith as they take action. Some aren’t keeping commitments so this week we are going to focus on helping them realize the importance of doing things on their own in order to know if our message is really true. We might have to drop some of them as well.

Some recent converts in our area had their new home finished so we got to go eat dinner there then later that night blessed/dedicated the home. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned when we do this but I think that was at least the 10th home I’ve been asked to bless haha! I don’t know why but my companions have never done it.. it’s always me. It’s kinda funny because the streak continues until now!

Well this week I finished the BOM! One thing I want to share though was something new I noticed in the book of Ether. In the story of the brother of Jared he must prepare for a long journey and we see that instead of the Lord just telling him exactly what to do, he makes him figure it out first. He works really hard to do all he can then after that the Lord does the rest. I’ve always liked that, but in verse 24 of chapter 2 I noticed something new this time. Even after preparing the vessels and having things prepared for their journey, their travels on the sea weren’t easy. Rather than the Lord finally giving them a break and making the travel smooth, it says there were mountain waves that dashed upon them. The Lord then said “for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.” It shows the all of the trials they were going through were sent from the Lord. All of the winds, waves, rains, and floods were coming from Him. Then in chapter 6 verse 8 later on it says “And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land…” It’s another good example that all of the hard things that we experience really are for our benefit! They help us become more like the Savior and become prepared to return to His presence. Every day people ask us why their life is filled with so many trials, disappointments, and hardship so as I read it seems to be a question I continue to focus on. I’m thankful for the scriptures and words of living prophets and apostles that have helped me understand why. Even in the story of Job, the Lord actually invited Satan to go visit Job in order to test his faith. He knew that Job would overcome the trials, even if it included taking everything that he owned including his family. No matter how hard a trial might seem and how difficult it is to understand why we have to go through it, I know that it’s for our good and the Lord won’t give us adversity that we can’t overcome. I was reading “Our Search for Happiness” this morning and I think what I read helps it all come together. It’s talking about missionary experiences but I think it can apply to anything else as well. “Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs, and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord.”

I’m excited for more adventures! Our mission just had a new stake made- the Mandaluyong Stake, which split from the Makati Stake (my last area.) This is the 100th stake in the Philippines which is an awesome thing to see! I hope I’ll stay on the Lord’s side throughout my life, it’s the side that will always win.

Take care everyone have a nice week!
Love elder reber

Pics for the week are again compliments of Sister Fermanis. With the organization of the Mandaluyong stake there are now 100 stakes in the Philippines. They had a fun program to celebrate! What an exciting time to be serving in Manila!

Monday, September 4, 2017

James Borrero Monilla's Baptism

hello everyone.. and merry christmas!! Yes, the christmas music is startin up here in the Philippines.. gotta love it! They don't celebrate halloween or thanksgiving so yanno it's time for christmas of course! I love christmas so i'm not complainin at all:) I'm hoping I'll get to spend christmas in this area I think it would be pretty intense haha.

Another good week in the books. For p day last week we went to "the beach." Pics will be sent if the computer is kind today. It was actually a really fun little trip we even found churros!

On Thursday my comp and I went to work in the other area of this ward. All four of us worked in their area.. I worked with Elder Armadillo and Elder Moster worked with Elder Dequito. Their area is super DIFFERENT than anything i've seen on my mission. The houses aren't neccessarily big but alot bigger and nicer than anything i've experienced. There's also NOBODY outside it was kinda freaky! We spent the whole time finding and in a few hours we found 6 new investigators. We met a 23 year old named Joshua who goes to school at UP (university of philippines) which is the kinda the harvard of the philippines. It was cool because he has always been looking into religions and his friends are all of different faiths. We shared the whole Restoration lesson in about 20 minutes and he was really interested because it's different from anything he's ever heard. I love how simple yet powerful the things we share are. I feel like the more I teach the same simple principles over and over the more I learn about them and know that they are really coming from God.

In our area we were looking for a less active in a spot we've never been at before and asked someone for directions. After getting help we got to know her and found out she actually went to an LDS church quite a bit growing up with her family. Her mom is also a member! We learned that she has actually been waiting for missionaries to find her and it wasn't a coincidence we met. Just cool to see yet again as we're walking God puts people directly in our path. She told us she normally is in her house with her kid which is in a little alley but for whatever reason that morning they were outside on the road playing.

Our bud james was baptized on Saturday! It was a great service and lots of support. His uncle from Mendinao flew all the way up for it. He and his family have been long-time members and have been praying for over 20 years for his brothers and sisters to be baptized. Last year it finally happened with the whole family (except for James) haha but now they've all been baptized! Super cool. One of the sisters who was baptized last year is now less active so he's also here to help bring her back to church. It was cool for me to see his faith. He said honestly their family could barely afford the plane ticket for him to come up here but he felt he really needed to come help his sister and knew that God would make sure everything financially would work out. The goal is for them to all one day be sealed. The people here are seriously the best.

Sister Joy Gontinas has her baptismal date for Sept 16 but sadly this week her old pastor went and chastized her and her kids! That dirty sinner haha. He basically forced them back over to their church. He went off about our church to them Saturday night then sunday morning he showed up at their house at 7am to escort them to the other church. At their church I guess the pastor focused the whole meeting about how Joseph Smith is our God. Joy then got up in front of everyone and basically bore her testimony to them all. It was the coolest thing i've ever heard! Apparently the pastor also knows when we have appointments with her so this week we might run into him. Should be fun! Joy is doing good though and her kids listen to us consistently now. They made us a big dinner one of the nights too! Two of the ward missionaries who always come with us to her also joined and she cooked my favorite food here- sinigang! This week I ate sinigang every single day except sunday haha.

So yep that's my up and down week! Filled with lots of adventures. Transfer week is this week and we still don't know if Elder Moster will transfer. I hope he stays- i've been learning tons from him especially how to befriend investigators. He has a big strength for gaining people's trust quickly and has some good jokes. Love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Reber
The pics without his glasses are my favorite- smolder and all.  Sadly the kid would be walking around blind without them but we just aren't used to Parker with glasses!

Mall of Asia behind him

Enjoying some Churros

Parker and a buddy switched planning books at the halfway mark of their missions. They wanted to see it in each others language.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Jenson Got Baptized!


Astig talaga ang linggo na ito! I don't know why but Heavenly Father has really been blessing our area these past few weeks. I feel like my faith is growing alot as I've seen so many cool little things happen. Even on the hardest days of the mish I feel like my comp and I still see God's hand in the work in so many ways. I think one thing I've learned this week is God sees each of our sacrifices and will bless us in His time for the small things we do to try to be a better instrument in His hands.

I guess i'll start with updating you on our investigators. Yesterday, Jenson Mark Cruz was married and baptized! His wife is a member and it's something they've been working towards for quite some time now. He's 23 years old and taller than me! He's 6'3 which is HUGE for a filipino! Tallest person i've ever baptized and it was a blessing it only took one shot to get him fully immersed! I love Jenson though he's just simply a kind person. He works at a buffet called Vikings which is one of the fanciest places you can eat at in the Philippines. We've gotten pretty close over the past few weeks since I've been here and i've learned how being nice can really lift people's days! He always wants to know things like what's it's like for an American to be here, how is life as a missionary, what did I like to do before my mission, etc. Being genuinelly interested in someone's life is something I've been working on in my mission and hope to continue to develop throughout my life. Just his simple efforts to listen really lifts me up when we visit him. After he was baptized he bore his testimony and as he turned around to face all of us he had the biggest smile ever. After his testimony bishop Flores (he's a stud by the way) gave his closing remarks and mentioned how Jenson's countenance was soo bright. It was a cool moment for me, he really did look truly happy and the spirit was really there! That image of his big smile has been stuck in my head ever since. His non member family i could tell was really hit with the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth and throughout each of the speakers, testimonies, and the baptism itself i could really tell the spirit was helping them realize that this is all true.

James Borrero Monilla (10 year old, mom was baptized last year), passed his baptism interview and will be good to go this saturday! Even though he's only ten i've really seen a ton of change in him. Missionaries have been trying to help him be baptized for a year and he seriously didn't want to at all. Even a month ago when i was new he refused to pray when we went to visit him. Even though his mom, aunt, cousins, etc were baptized he still never wanted to! Now when we go there he always volunteers right away to pray and he's super excited when we come. His mom even told us he was fasted the whole day for his baptismal interview! How cool is that??

Teaching him this week was different though. Their family opened up a new tindahan (little family-owned shop that's part of their house) so we were teaching him over there. He has tons of friends/classmate neighbors over there and when we went there Monday he invited two of them to join. Tuesday there were about 5, and each day there was a little more until friday there was 12 of them! We would follow up on what they had learned in the past lesson and they would go crazy answering us! We ended up giving almost all of them Book of Mormons with little maps they color in as they read the chapters. One of them is 11 years old and read all of first nephi! After our lesson we play games for a few minutes and it's honestly just so fun. For me it's cool to see how the kids here have lots of similarities as my bros and sisters as they grew up, even though their circumstances here are alot different. Although lots of these kids probably won't be baptized, it's cool to be able to teach them correct principles that will help them out a little in their lives! Even the fact they're reading the Book of Mormon is just awesome to me. Definately a miracle! Hopefully pictures will finally work this week haha` I got a few good ones of all of them.

When we teach all of these kids upstairs I always feel bad for this little 12 year old downstairs because he watches over the little store as his job. He's always super nice to us when we come down and we could tell he wished he could come up and listen. We gave him a pamphlet and as we were leaving he was already readin through it. Friday we were finding on the other side of our area and this kid out of nowhere answered the door! We found his house and met his family. They're living circumstances are tough it was super sad to see. Him and his family are soo nice though and we have an appointment with them this week. It was cool we were guided right to their home in a tiny little alley.

Joy finally accepted a baptism date for sept 16! She has already been to church 4 times which qualifies her for baptism. We just need to finish teaching the lessons now. She's awesome though and another cool thing is 3 of her kids listened to our message this week. We invite them every time we're there but they've never listened til now. We taught word of wisom to Joy and the kids accepted to live it too. We then showed them a picture of the Manilla temple and told them that the real goal is not only to be baptized but to one day be sealed as a family. It was a cool lesson with all of them and 2 of the kids showed up to church sunday!

I was reading in 3rd Nephi when Christ visits the people in the Americas. As I was reading I started to wonder why lots of these chapters are also in Matthew. About a month ago I was reading these very words in the new testament. Why are they in both? I got my answer when i read in 3 nephi 13:25. it says "And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken." Such a simple phrase but for some reason it really stood out to me. Christ was pleading to his disciples to simply remember. To remember the things he had spoken. In the Book of Mormon we see that people are often quick to forget their God. We get caught up in small things in our lives and too often forget the purpose of our lives on earth! I felt like I needed to do a better job remembering the things I learn in personal study. I think we often have spiritual experiences but after it ends we sometimes quickly forget. In my planner now I write down the main thing i learned in personal study so when things are a little tough out in the area I can pull it out real quick to remember what I learned and regain that courage and spirit that i had felt earlier. Christ then says, "For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people." It was just a good reminder that we are each put in certain situations for a reason. For me right now, I'm very thankful for the area I'm in and I know I need to be here. So yeah, that was a little thing i learned this week. I think that's the reason the prophets and apostles have said to read the Book of Mormon every single day, so we can continually remember the Savior and strive to be more like Him.

That's all my friends. Hope all is well. Thanks for your support and love! Have a solid week! I invite you to read the Book of Mormon every day:)

Love Elder Reber

Ps. Justine from my last area got baptized on Saturday! The stake president heard about her and apparently went to meet her. She told him she wants to serve a mission and I guess he told her he'd pay for the whole thing! Super cool! I'll try to stay updated on how that goes!

Birthday Shenanigans

Elder Moster

It is pretty amazing they were lead exactly to this home. 

JB's Baptism :)

Love the interaction Parker gets to have with these cutest kids!

Book of Mormon Maps

So glad to hear they got this super tall Filipino baptized on the first try!