Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mga Pagpapabinyah--The Baptisms

Hello friends and fam,

This week I'd say was probably the best week of my mission. It was just awesome. Being a missionary is pretty sweet. Lots of things happened so I'll just start with P day.

Last P day was probably my favorite so far. We got permission to go as a district to the Jose Rizal monument in Pasay. Jose Rizal is kinda the national hero here in the Philippines, I'd compare him to Martin Luther King. It's basically a huge park with lakes, gardens, statues, and history stuff. We got to see exactly where he was shot and where he's buried now. There were huge statues to portray the scene. It was nice because Tondo doesn't really have much nature haha, it was a good breather. We met a guy from Korea who studied at the University of Utah and talked to him (in English) about what exactly we do as missionaries. That was pretty cool. After we went across the street to the boardwalk and got to look out at the ocean. We met a less active there and got to talk to him for awhile, it's crazy how many times God just throws people right in our paths.

Wednesday morning right before studies we got a text from a member saying there was an emergency and we need to go to their house right away. We texted back what the problem was and he said their dog had died and it needs a blessing immediately! Haha everyone in our house was laughing so hard. I mean it's sad for the member or whatever but it was just pretty funny. Sadly we didn't go resurrect the dog and it remains in a better place at this time.

We had zone meeting on Thursday. One interesting thing our mission is trying is switching the OYM (open your mouth) standard from 190 a week to 105! Haha i was shocked. I guess President Ostler is looking for better quality OYM's now where we really give people a shot to listen to our message. In my area though I think we'll still be getting over 200 because there are tons of people here haha. The highlight of that was one of our zone leaders, Elder Jim, baring his final testimony to us. He told us about his conversion story which was awesome. Lots of missionaries have super cool conversion stories and makes me feel like my life was so easy haha. He was Catholic and worked on a farm in Ponpeii or something. He was the oldest of seven kids and was always getting into trouble. He met two white missionaries right after his dad died and to his surprise they spoke to him in his native language. This sparked an interest and eventually he got baptized. The only one in his family though. His family didn't support his decision at all, his grandpa said he wanted to chop of his head. Exactly one year later he was in the MTC, still being the only  member of this church in his family. He didn't receive a single email from his family for the first six months. But he prayed for them every night and fasted for them often. He finally got an email from his mom, a picture of her in baptismal clothes with two missionaries. Now all of his siblings are baptized except one, who will be baptized next week actually. He is going to the temple to baptize, confirm, and be endowed for his dad in the Manila temple right before he heads home. Wow it was a cool story, he talked about how God knows each of us and will help us if we ask him. The spirit was super powerful and our zone will miss him.

Saturday we had four baptisms for our kabahay (the four elders who I live with)! For Elder Cibuco and I we baptized Dannilo Abucay Santos and Rhei Anne Padua Dela Cerna. It was the coolest thing ever. Those two are my first baptisms and I'm super thankful we were able to find them. The area I'm in has actually only had 2 baptized since 2015 so it was kinda nice to break the curse i guess! The baptism all went smoothly and it was a super powerful meeting. Danni Santos is just awesome. He hasn't had a drink since the Book of Mormon has entered his house. He's the only member in his family as of now, but he has assured us he won't ever quit on his family. His wife and daughter actually came to support him, and they both were crying as he was baptized and also as he bore his testimony. The spirit was so strong, there was absolutely no denying it. His daughter is now interested in taking missionary discussions, it really just showed me how real the Holy Ghost is and how true the church is. Danni Santos got up to bear his testimony and it was the first time i've seen him cry. He bore like the best testimony I've ever heard and pointed right at Elder Cibuco and I and kept saying thank you, it was really cool. I have a cool relationship with him, because I don't understand all he says because he speaks super deep Tagalog, and he knows i can't quite say as much as I'd like. But every time we leave his house he shakes my hand with his two hands, looks me right in the eyes and says "salamat!" Haha he also calls me his best friend. The baptism was a great success. Danni now has the priesthood and a calling to greet people at the front door. He was already doing it yesterday, whatta man.

We were also able to fully activate sister Merra. She was a less active and is really cool. Her husband left her the first week I was in the mission if you remember that whole story. We have some other investigators working towards baptism later this month, hopefully things keep progressing there.

It was a good final week (most likely) with Elder Cibuco. I've learned a lot from him and all in all he was a pretty sweet comp. This next week will be super interesting, first time seeing big change in my mission. Wish me luck! Get out of your comfort zone this week and share your testimony! You will always say something someone needs to hear. Have a solid week.

Love Elder Reber

 A bit from moms letter....
One thing i didn't say in the email was the info about the first time we gave Danni his Book of Mormon. He had tons of beer under his table that night and we were pretty bummed out. We didn't know he had that problem so we thought wow it's gonna be that much harder to convert him now. He told elder C and I a super cool story about that. After we left he just had the BOM on his table and pulled out a beer. He walked over to grab a cup, turned around, and his beer had somehow spilled! He said he had absolutely no idea how! Super cool. He then decided to pick up the book and read that night. Hasn't had a drink since. I also knew he would be baptized, my first prayer with them in his house I just felt he would. I can't really explain it I guess but it was super cool!

Our p day was awesome haha! I felt like i was on a nice vacation for just a few hours. It was an awesome breath of fresh air haha. We even ate BURRITOS which were awesome. And of course they had buy one get one free for fries that day which was great.
Danni's cute family

Parkers first Kabahay

Field Trip to Jose Rizal monument in Pasay

Fun pics of the piano lesson day!

What a great group of piano students! 
You can see a favorite piano book of Parker's on the piano. Marshall McDonald's arrangements are some of Parker's favorites. So fun to see them being shared all the way in the Philippines.
Question of the week....what will Park do without Elder Lambert's selfie stick?? :)

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