Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween/Lightning Fast Move!

Kamusta kayo!

Fast week here! Things went pretty good. The mish just keeps rollin. First off happy bday to Capri! Thx for bein the best youngest sister around. Hopefully you had a good bday on the 29th haha! I'm sure if mom loves you you got checked out of school for lunch :)

Last Pday was pretty fun. We had a zone activity over in Sta Cruz and we played bball, watched Big Hero 6, and ate pizza. Basketball is always just ok lang because of course it's so hot/humid here and my glasses fall off everytime a make a lightning fast move. But anyways it was my first time having pizza here and watching a movie is pretty rare for sure. So that was a fun time, I like talking to all the Elders here at the meetings. Lots of different backgrounds so it's always interesting to learn about their lives and what it's like where they live.

So a few weeks ago i was introduced to pandesal. It's basically a roll or piece of bread for 2 pesos. I'm kinda obsessed with them now believe it or not. Some mornings we go and grab a few if we have time and I ate 12 the other morning haha! But yeah as far as foods go every day I eat rice, chicken, bread, noodles, rice, meat loaf, rice, eggs, lava cakes, fruit bites, rice, more lava cakes, rice, and then the occasional food where I have no clue what it is and it's not the most delicious thing ever. I've probably already told you that's what we eat here but there ya go, i can't remember for sure haha.

We had a pretty good week with investigators. Danni Santos is still kinda the main target. He was super ready to receive this gospel. I still remember the first time we approached their little house like it was yesterday. We taught him all of the commandments this week and he committed to all of them. He says everything about this church just makes perfect sense, it's pretty sweet. He came to church again yesterday and gave tons of insights in gospel principles class. I didn't understand everything, but the Elders said everything he said was exactly perfect haha! He also asked us to take him to get a tithing slip so he can fill it out for next week! He already told us he's going to fast next week too! Our other investigators continue to progress, they all have different problems whether it's trying to get married, finding time for church and lessons, understanding what we teach, getting money for transportation, etc. It's kinda a big puzzle for each investigator and I've had to learn to be patient and trust in the Lord.

I had a cool experience on exhanges with Elder Panugao. We went and taught a Nanay named Elanor, who I actually found with Elder Lambert on exchanges a few weeks ago. We taught the last part of lesson one, which is about the apostasy, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and prayer. When we finished the lesson at the end I asked if she had any questions she just said "please continue!" haha I feel like that doesn't always happen. It was cool to see it all click in her head and make sense! We committed her to pray to know if it's true and she said "I don't need to, I already know it's true!" Ha we just told her to do it anyways. I love it when the restoration makes sense to people, they just light up. I'm thankful for this gospel and the message I get to share everyday. I have no questions on whether this church is true, I know without a doubt it is true! All we do as missionaries is try to make people's lives better, so I'm learning to not be embarassed to ask for a little time from people's day, this message is definately worth a few minutes out of someone's day.

Crazy things continue to happen here in Tondo. Haha this place is just so hilarious. I'm really growing to love the people more and more. This week we were getting to know people on a street and a transgender tried to hug me! I had to like shield him off and it was super weird. Also it's pretty common for people to yell at us missionaries and call us baby, pogi, etc. But my favorite story for the week was on Sunday. We were picking up investigators for church and this old guy decided he wanted to help us find our investigators in his area. We assured him we knew where they lived but he wanted to help us anyways. So before we knew it we had this old guy walkin with us. A few minutes later his eyes got super wide and he yelled "pasensiya! (sorry)" and took off running back up the street. It was super funny I still don't really know what was goin on.

Have a good week! Ps happy halloween today! They don't celebrate it here but don't worry, Christmas is already startin up here haha! The last few weeks people have already been putting up a few little lights. Even though there won't be snow they still take Christmas seriously over here so it should be pretty fun.

Love Elder Reber

Sunset pic borrowed from Elder Lambert:)

Monday, October 24, 2016


Hello everybody!

This week went really well. We had zone meeting and interviews with President which slowed the work just a little but things are still pretty solid. We had 9 investigators show up to church yesterday, one of the most I've seen since being here! Danni Santos came again which made me super happy, he's in Omni in the BOM right now and is probably our best progressing investigator.

Zone meeting was a really good. I learn alot about the organization of missionary work in these meetings which is super helpful. Since me and my trainer are new, we're still figuring out how to use the area book to it's full potential as well as learning to find less actives, part member families, etc. But it's all coming little by little and our area book and planning is getting better every week. Anyways, zone meeting we talked about always working your hardest and not worrying about the numbers. This is something I heard before my mission quite a bit and I can't agree more. Sometimes the Lord just wants to see how hard we're willing to work before we find success. Sometimes you hear of disobedient missionaries getting tons of baptisms and you don't underestand why haha. But as long you're working your hardest you can lay in bed at the end of the day completely exhausted and proud of yourself. We should always ask ourselves what God thinks of us, not the people around us. Anyways, a few people were also asked to give general conference insights and I was called up. I think that went alright haha, it's kinda nice because our meetings here are in English!

Thursday I went on exchanges with Elder Lambert. Haha I love servin with that guy! Last week I went with his companion Elder Panugao. Also a funny and hard working Elder. Both of those were in my area so it was good practice to make sure I can lead the area now. My companion/trainer makes me start every OYM, lesson, closing lessons, extending commitments, leading the area, planning, etc. I'm thankful for that because it's really making me learn fast even if it's kinda hard sometimes haha! But anyways, on thursday Elder Lambert decided to make me do the same. In fact, we walked into a lesson and he decided to pretend it was his second day in the mission and knew no Tagalog haha! It was super funny but I had to do my best to ask how they're doing, how their family is, if they read the Book of Mormon, if they have any questions, etc. We then sang, prayed, and I started the next lesson. When I finished asking a question or two and teaching the first principle I stopped and Elder Lambert just flew in speaking awesome fast Tagalog and the two investigators were just super shocked haha! Their faces were hilarious I wish there was a hidden camera in there. 

We also met a 72 year old who wanted to race us. He said he's super fast because he's only had one cigarette in the last three months. That should help i think haha! It was sweet just watching this super old guy who's skin and bones bouncin back and forth ready to take off in a sprint! We ended up not racing him, we were both too intimidated. He asked how old we are and Elder Lambert said he was 45 haha! The tatay just said "wow you only look like you're 35!" Haha i was dying it was so funny! We had a good exchange and he taught me how to find more joy in the work!

Friday we had interviews with President Ostler. He is seriously the coolest guy. Always so in tune with the spirit it's pretty awesome. We had a really good interview and it inspired me to keep trying my best and to try to improve every day. He talked about how lucky we both are with our circumstances in life and it was really cool. Lots of these elders don't recieve an email their whole missions and became members of this church just within two/three years ago. The mission office is in Makati which is like the opposite of Tondo haha! It's part of the city and it's actually pretty wealthy. After interviews and some classes we were trying to get a taxi back to Tondo but nobody was willing to drive us because Tondo is far away. It was super frustrating and it took an hour to finally find someone to just take us to the train station. During that time I saw some super nice cars and it blew my mind haha! I also saw my first white guy here! It's super cool how different the areas are here in the Manila mission and I'm excited to see where I'll be in the future!

Well we made it to the train and it's the same packed train I went on a few weeks ago. Still can't explain how they fit so many people in such a small space. People are pushing up against each other in every direction it's just crazy. I was holding my bag, area book, supplies, and new pamphlets so i was getting killed haha! Of course later that night I find out that my camera was stolen from the bottom of my bag that was on my shoulder. Still have absolutely no idea how it happened since I was standing there talking to my companion for most of the time. Ha it's also kinda sad how many people must've watched it happen. I've been pretty stressed about that event but there's nothing to do but to move on now! It's not a very big deal in the grand scheme of things i guess you could say ;) Still pretty pangit tho let's be honest .

Yesterday was a great Sunday but we found out some super sad news. We found the Martinez family a few months ago and they're a part member/less active family. Since then the mom has become active and her three kids have come to church every week too. Elder Cibuco and I have been teaching the kids this whole time and their baptism was scheduled for this coming Saturday actually. We only had one more lesson left then the three kids were going to be interviewed. Sadly, they're dad is not the best guy I guess you could say, and they've had lots of problems in the house lately. I guess the mom and two of the kids are moving back to their province to be safer. She made the decision Saturday night and left yesterday on Sunday. It's super hard to see but I'm excited for them to move and be in a safer environment. Hopefully they'll also get baptized over there and continue to receive the blessings this church has to offer!

Thank you everyone for your support. I've been blessed more than I can really describe. Every day I'm out here I'm more and more grateful for my life and the people in my life. Always count your blessings and look at the positives in your every day life! I love being a missionary, it's truly been the happiest I've ever been. Have a good week!

Love Elder Reber

ps I tried balut last week! I would send pics and the vid but my cam is gone haha. You should google it haha! Pretty nasty but it doesn't taste as bad as it looks.. :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Typhoons and the BOM

Hello po everyone,

Things continue to go well here in the Philippines. My mission is like a rollercoaster haha lots of ups and downs each week. We ended up having to drop tons of people this week which was frustrating. We had an investigator who had read to Omni and suddenly never wants to see us anymore. Everyone is always so "busy." God has a plan for all of these people though. We don't always see the larger picture so I always keep that in mind. He could help us convert the whole area if He wanted, but that's not His plan. He has a perfect eternal perspective and plan, so our job is to just keep working hard and we'll find those that He wants us to find! One thing I've learned is to not stress things I can't control. I've also learned to be patient with myself, something I wasn't good at before my mission haha. Still not perf, but it's a work in progress :)

Although we lost lots of investigators, we found lots of new ones and we have some progressing pretty well. It's cool to see how people are put in our path. We had a few appointments fall through one day so we went to visit the Yambao family since we were in the Riverside area. They're a part member family and we've been teaching the fourteen year old daughter Erica. There was a mom of 4 named Lilia talking with them when we got there and when she saw us she totally knew who we were! She had gone to church a few times in her province and wanted to be taught by us. We went over to her house and taught their family and it went really well. Not sure how we haven't met them yet honestly, they live super close to the Yambao family and must've not been home when we knocked. It was cool though and hopefully their family will progress. I think teaching families is my favorite. It would be super rewarding to see a whole family become active in the church and change their lives.

I think the coolest experience this week was my experience with the Book of Mormon. In conference a few talks talked about the power of the Book of Mormon. They gave a few stories of how people are attracted to the book and they don't really know why. I've also heard of stories of people touching the Book of Mormon and knowing it's true right away. So I decided to start carrying around my Book of Mormon in my hand while OYMing (Open Your Mouth) just to spice things up. The very first person we talked to as I held the book asked what it was. We were introducing ourselves and I noticed he kept looking down at the book. He actually suddenly cut us off and asked what it was! I almost started laughing honestly because it was so sweet. We just introduced the Book of Mormon and got a follow up appointment with him. It was a big testimony builder for me and something I won't forget. I challenge you guys to really read the BOM every day. You will be filled with light and it will make your days a lot better talaga.

Another cool experience was on Wednesday night. I had some stomach issues and was up all night. When the alarm went off at 6:25 it wasn't the prettiest thing ever. But I just got up and prayed that I'd have energy to get through the day. Crazy thing is I probably had more energy and masigla that day than any other day. Prayer is real, God wants to hear from us. He really listens from the second you start. He knows all of our needs and will help us out. I'm thankful for that, prayer has helped me a ton throughout my life.

Yesterday was interesting because our church got cancelled! Both of the Tondo wards were cancelled because there was supposed to be a typhoon. It was pain because we had to walk around our whole area all morning telling investigators it was cancelled. There wasn't even a storm which was the funny part. Barely rained. False alarm people. We went to the Sta. Cruz ward which went pretty well. They had a primary program which was really funny. It was super similar to one back at home to be honest haha! Also, the gospel principles class was on the Law of Chastity and we got to sit back and watch members have a crazy debate over it. Haha those little things are what keep the mission fun ;)

Also I have a new nickname on Yangco Street. Every kid calls me Harry Potter haha! These glasses still throw me off sometimes not gonna lie. I'll take it though, Harry Potter is a pretty sweet dude.

Have a good week. Update on the language, I'm a little better but still don't understand quite a bit. Haha it has really tested my patience but I'm doin my best. I'm thankful for the little miracles I see every day. I normally miss them in the moment and don't realize them until later on. I know that there are miracles in our lives every day, we just need to look for them. I'm thankful for this church and the affect it has had on my life. Take care everyone :)

Love Elder Reber

Sure love this goofy boy!

Monday, October 10, 2016

General Conference Weekend

Hello friends and fam,

Last P day was pretty sweet. We ate at a restaurant called Mang Inasal where you get a huge chicken and unlimited rice. It was super good and we followed it up with Dairy Queen which was my first "real" shake I've had since July! Shakes are my favorite thing ever so that was a success. I also made a sweet purchase of a Karl Malone jersey for 400 pesos and a Lio Messi jersey for 150 haha. You can get at least 10 jerseys here for the price of one in the states. 

Anyways, now to the important stuff. We had a few cool experiences this week. First off, Danni Santos is into 2 Nephi now which is awesome! He's kinda like our grandpa, super friendly. He continues to understand our message and is always so interested. When we first introduced the Book of Mormon he was super hesitant and I could tell he just wasn't happy. BUT we promised him all he had to do is read it with a true purpose and pray with real intent. Sure enough he's been doing that and he loves the Book of Mormon now. It just showed me yet again the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion. If you just take some time to read it, everything will start to make more sense and you will receive an answer this church is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. It can answer any question we have and we can receive so much peace and comfort by reading daily. We had the old bishop of the ward come to the lesson too which really helped because they're the same age. We invited him to go to General Conference Sunday and he came! He loved all of the messages in the Sunday morning session so hopefully that sparked his desire to start coming to church now.

Katerine continues to progress. She comes to church every week:) We had two really cool lessons with her. The first one she was just filled with questions about the Book of Mormon. But I guess you could say they were more unimportant questions. Before I knew it we were discussing the 12 tribes of Israel, evidence that the BOM and Bible work hand in hand, who's the son of who, etc. I was digging into scriptures I thought I'd never use haha! We were lucky to have the spirit with us and we answered all of her questions using the scriptures. No way I would've been able to do all of that before the mission haha! That night though I was thinking about how we could help her out. Being missionaries we are supposed to answer questions but we're supposed to keep things simple and focus on the main doctrines. Things got a little out of control even though it all turned out alright. So we decided to return next lesson and just simply talk about how the Holy Ghost will help her receive an answer. We simply taught that if she would truly read and pray with real intent she would know the truth. I asked her what she expected to feel to receive an answer and she had no idea. We were able to focus on how to feel the spirit and what we can do to gain a testimony of this church. We also shared that we need to be patient, we won't understand everything at once but as it says in 2 Nephi 28:30 it will come line upon line, precept upon precept. Answers come in the Lord's time, we just need to put our trust in Him. Basically He knows everything and we know very little, but we don't need to know everything. We just need to trust Him, His plan, and His time.

We've got lots of others who are progressing and coming to church. I guess those lessons were all pretty avg. But we had like 6 new people burst into tears in in first visits and we got to help them out. Life is tough over here. The gospel truly helps them feel peace even if they don't all end up being baptized.

Soo I had a pretty hilarious experience this week. We were talking to a couple on the side of the road when suddenly this drunk guy comes and gets right in my face! He told me he wanted to kiss me on the lips! I just started laughing super hard and was like "wow really??" We said goodbye to the couple and I gave the drunk guy a handshake and told him to take care. As I shook his hand he grabbed my hand super hard and started kissing it! I pulled it away super fast and we ran away laughing pretty hard. Literally I can't explain how funny some things are here. It was a new experience, nonetheless.

Conference was super awesome. We watched it at the stake center in Sta Cruz. I really loved sitting down with notes and listening to the full conference. I can't really choose one as a favorite but there were a few things I really liked. One, in priesthood session Eyring talked about Melchezidek Priesthood holders needing to lift up the Aaronic Priesthood holders like they were lifted in their youth. It reminded me of all of my awesome examples growing up and how much they really helped me. I don't think they even realize! My Priesthood leaders in church definitely helped me more than I can really explain. A person becomes what they hear, see, and think and being around so many great examples has really helped me out. I guess most of the time we don't see all the results of the good we do. It made me want to be a good Priesthood holder and to one day be a good example to the youth as an adult. Next, I liked how Uchtdorf talked about not taking the gospel for granted. He talked about how amazing it really is and we should never just get "used to it." Look at the blessings of this church: Prophets, priesthood, healings, baptism, Holy Ghost, temple ordinances, eternal families, sons and daughters of God, Jesus Christ's atonement, Book of Mormon, etc. It really is pretty sweet. Third, Cornish talked about not worrying if we'll make it back to God. If we always try our best and repent we will make it. God loves us and it's His work and glory for us to return to Him. He's not a heartless referee haha. Last, Russel M Nelson said we need to look for joy in everything. Joy doesn't have to do with our circumstances, it has everything to do with our focus. Focusing on the good will make our life alot easier, and focusing on the gospel will make it that much happier.

Alright, that's all. Things are good here. Gotta love it. I gave my umbrella to a member last week at church and forgot to go pick it up, while my companion lost his. So one day we had no umbrella and it just totally dumped on us like none other. Not that umbrellas do much here but they surely help a little haha!

Have a good one, Love Elder Reber

Already collecting souvenirs??

The eight missionaries in Parkers zone. 

The missionaries got invited to a birthday lunch.

I often see a theme with missionaries sending pics of food. Think they will keep this up when they get home?

Parker was so pleased with his Karl Malone jersey purchase. He said with the cheap prices, he would love to do some school shopping there. Not quite time to acquire school clothes but glad he is planning ahead:) Apparently Elder Lambert enjoys a good smolder with the selfie stick as well. Two peas in a pod. 

Parkers zone at Hot Donalds- he assured me that is still what he calls it! What a tender mercy for Park- living without the golden arches would have been a real trial- As Park would say....haha

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Great Tondo Baptism

Hello hello everyone,

Hope all is well, the work continues over here in Tondo. We had some investigators keep commitments and made lots of progress this week as a result. I'm really starting to love it here the more I understand the Tagalog. I feel like this week I made a little jump with the language which is always a blessing! I understand young people alot better than the older ones, but all together it's getting better every day. 

This week was a really good one honestly, things just seemed to be clicking and it was alot of fun. We had lots of OYMs (opening your mouth) and got a few new investigators. The mission goal is to talk to 190 new people every week. Talking to people here is always super interesting, we never know what we're going to get haha! Lots of them quickly deny us and refuse to tell us their name, but we just laugh after and I'm realizing there's no reason to get discouraged. I've been offered beer and cigarretes every single day, the people are just super funny haha. Like in church yesterday, an older lady opened her prayer saying "Good afternoon God." I still haven't seen a white man or anyone taller than me, I'll let you know if that crazy moment ever comes while in this area ha!

We are hoping to have a few baptisms this month. We've worked pretty hard with our investigators and hope this is a change they want in their lives. We also have some less actives that are almost fully activated now. The family history is kinda tricky, but hopefully we'll have a few fully active here in the next few weeks as well. Yesterday I witnessed my first baptism/marriage for the Manuel Family. It was cool because I taught them a few weeks ago on exchanges. It's awesome to see how far they've come since that time and to see how much happier they are with the gospel in their lives. The services started at 10 and there were only four people at the church at that time, the missionaries haha! Luckily everyone came eventually and there was quite a bit of support for them. 

I've been reading in Alma lately in my personal studies and I've been learning so much. Personal study time is probably my favorite hour of the day, I feel like I understand a lot more now than I did earlier in my life. I read about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's the other day, they're super awesome. They're a perfect example of having a change of heart. They truly understood God's plan for them and were willing to do anything to be righteous. Over 1000 of them were killed because they refused to pick up their swords and fight back. They had zero fear of death because they knew what was in store for them in the next life. It obviously made me think how converted I am to this gospel. I think it's important for us to truly trust God in everything we do. I've been working on forgetting myself and submitting to His will. We are definitely not perfect, nor will our efforts always be perfect, but with faith in Christ and trust in God we will be alright. God wants us to be happy and he always knows what's best, even if we don't see or understand it at that moment. He wants to give us 10000 pesos but we sometimes aren't willing to give up 1 peso. The more we will forget ourselves, the more we will find ourselves, and the happier we will be! That's my little rant for the week i guess haha. :)

General Conference isn't until next week here in the Philippines. I'm super pumped for it though. Telling people we have a living prophet today is one of my favorite ways to get them interested in our church. Crazy to think the apostles and prophet have the same power and authority those of ancient times had. I've had to get up in sacrament 4/6 times so far haha, I'm sure the people are getting sick of me:) Anyways, have a good week, and enjoy the cold weather (never thought I'd say that)

Elder Reber

Parker's favorite Cactus Pillowcase


Setting up for the baptism

Great support from the ward.

The cutest kids

Such a fun day