Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hey Joe!

Happy Monday!

Another good week down here in the Philippines. I'm getting more adjusted to the different lifestyle here and continue to learn more everyday. I've been called "Joe" about a million times which is what Filipinos call white guys. It's funny to see people just stare at me as I walk down the street. Especially the kids, I'm pretty sure lots of them haven't seen an American here in Tondo before. They all attack me everywhere I go and want high fives. It's funny and keeps my spirits high :) Also, I'm pretty sure my back, neck, and shoulders will be messed up by the end of my mission.  I have to constantly duck and squeeze through the smallest of places here. Every single day I hit my head on something and the Filipinos around me start laughing. It is pretty funny even though I have a huge bruise on my head from one time. Literally though it's so hard to fit in Jeepneys and squeeze into these small homes!

So last week I got to introduce myself to the ward and bear my testimony which went pretty well. I don't know if they really understood what I was saying but I got through it in straight Tagalog. The bishop and the missionaries are about the only people who are willing to serve. The bishop is soo awesome. He works so hard to support his family and works really hard in his calling. Everyone kinda just goes to church for a social event here and talks throughout lessons. Tons of kids are running around screaming and aren't the most reverent haha. It's a little different but the spirit is still there. I'm the only one in the ward who can play the piano so I'm really glad I can help with that a little. Bishop wanted me to teach some of the youth. It's hard for them because the piano in the church is probably the only piano in Tondo. But I'll let you know how that goes!

We taught a lesson about making investigators feeling welcome to the ward. We are trying to regain their trust and give them a stronger desire to serve! 

So we have a lot of investigators here. Nobody was really progressing when I first got here and we have been working hard to find those who are ready to hear the word! We have tons of lessons every day but it's really hard to find them for their next lessons. Many of them always forget our appointment and say their busy. But we have quite a few who are really starting to progress which is exciting.

We had a few interesting lessons this week. We went to a members house and walked in literally five minutes after she had found out her husband had been cheating on her. It was super intense and really unexpected because he was an RM. But it was cool to see her put down her phone and just forget the turmoil for a few minutes. I felt the spirit really strong as we talked to her and taught her. It was cool because she wasn't scheduled to go visit but we just decided to go as we passed near her house. The spirit really does guide us even in the smallest ways and it's been cool to see a few experiences like this already. On Friday we went to visit Lester, a 16 year old who we had committed to baptism. When we walked in his dad was there also, and apparently he's some priest for one of the churches here. We totally got bashed the whole time which is pretty rare here. We are told not to argue with people so we just gave simple scriptures and bore testimony with smiles on our faces. Honestly he seemed to be questioning himself a little by the end and we didn't even have to do much. I'm just glad that I know this is the true church, everything about it makes perfect sense and there's nothing to doubt!

I went on exchanges with Elder Lambert on Thursday which was super fun. I learned a ton from him and enjoyed talking to him. He's from Herriman and we have lots in common especially since we both grew up in Salt Lake. We had literally 40 people gathered around us at one point because we are Americanos. We handed out tons of pamphlets and he got lots of return appointments. A few of them were even halfway through the reading by the time we left! The people here are super funny. Lots of them are pretty depressed here in Tondo but there are also lots who are always happy. They're obsessed with the NBA and you just see tons of them wearing basketball jerseys pulled up over their beer bellies. I'm definitely going with their style in college.

My comp and I were able to give 5 blessings this week. It's cool to see the people's faith that the blessing will really help. And I know that they do help! I'm thankful for the priesthood and for my mission call. I know God has a plan for everyone and knows all things. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ and His atonement. He has experienced everything we will go through and because of Him we can be happy for all eternity. We can't even comprehend how short this life is and how great the blessings are in the next life. There are times here in the mission where it can be pretty hard, but I know that great things come through hard times. I'm excited to continue to share this awesome word! Have a good week everyone:)

Love Elder Reber

Parkers favorite shoes! We knew he was called to the right spot when Crocs were actually on the list of things to bring!
Elder Reber and Elder Cibuco
Inside their apartment

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