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.. :)