We've got millions of kids running around house to house with plastic drums they made. They are Christmas caroling and trying to make a few pesos here. Haha it's always so loud, jeepneys and trikes blaring, kids running around bangin their drums, etc. It's kinda sad to see how people will literally do about anything around here for a peso. Another example tons of people go around searching through trash for pieces of metal to sell, but anyways it's been pretty fun here lately.
One thing we did this week was hand out tons of Christmas pass along cards. We would actually go into internet cafes and give people cards to visit mormon.org to watch the church Christmas video. We would quickly talk about Christ and how the video as well as this church in general can help them and their families find happiness and light in this life. We had quite a few actually go and find the video so that was cool. It's crazy how many people don't really know what Christ did for us, and why He's actually so important. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to find so we're spending a little more time finding people while their hearts are softened over this Christmas season.
Sister Rovie Perez (not Ruby, we had the wrong spelling haha, the b's and v's here sound the same) is now our best progressing investigator! We met her last Sunday and taught her three days in a row this week! It's so easy to teach her because she understands and has good questions. We invited her to be baptized on January 7 and she said yes before we even finished giving the invitation haha! Here in the Philippines you have to go to church 4 times without missing twice in a row before being baptized, but she's already been twice. Her family actually won't let us in so we teach at a member's house (Nanay Fransisco) who is the bishop's mother in law. I think the reason she's accepting the gospel so fast is because bishop's wife has also been there at lessons to help her feel more welcome and one of her best friends at school is LDS. It just shows me the importance of having a friend and fellowshippers for new investigators. It's so much easier to go to church with some good friends, especially when you're still new and finding your testimony. We're trying to help the ward talk to investigators to help them feel welcome, and have a desire to share the gospel but it's a little hard no matter how much we have tried haha. But anyways hopefully i'll still be here in Tondo for her baptism!
We went to help a less active with her family history down in the Vitas area and as we were leaving gI looked over at their computer and saw Brother Lomu! (a previous seminary teacher) One of the members was watching some Christmas music video and he was the actor! Ha it was so weird. Family history is super hard here btw haha. Luckily our ward in ut focused on it so I know how to do it because not many missionaries or members know how. Every time I ask them to put in their email they start typing in the facebook username.. we end up having to make them an email hah! It's literally the longest proccess but it's all worth it, these are real people we're trying to help out!
We went to a place called Happyland in my area for the first time to try to visit Tatay Clore (a member) and his less active wife. It's actually off limits after five oclock haha but it was crazy how many people were piled in that area and their living conditions. Look it up maybe there are pics online. It was another eye opener in my mission for sure. We did some finding and didn't have much success but hopefully we can go back and try again since it's basically an ant farm there are so many people.
We had the Tondo 2nd Christmas party Saturday! The four Elders of the ward were the MC's/hosts for it haha. It was pretty fun and some of the youth brought their friends so we got to meet tons of people. We invited lots of the kids we see on the streets every day and some of them came too! Free food will get people to activities here as well. Some things don't really change I guess no matter where you're at in the world. The party itself was pretty wild and noisy but lots of fun. Some members even gave us Elders a few gifts which was super nice.
A few other quick things, every time i get on a jeepney someone takes a pic of my whiteness. Filipinos think they're super sneaky but they really aren't to be honest. My comp and I joke about it and always casually look around waiting to see who it is that will take a pic. AND Danni Santos finished the Book of Mormon! Ha he's such a stud. He reads for hours every day and highlights verses and everything. Every time we go to reteach him he's reading the Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets are always in sight. Crazy to see first hand the change the gospel can make on someone. Saturday he was over at the church setting up for hours even though he had a different family Christmas party that night, so he didn't even attend the party he spent hours helping plan and set up! The more i've learned this mission isn't about me, the happier I've become. I trust God and hope to gain his trust in me more every day. All of us as members can be a light for the world if we will let God shape us into what He wants. Accept challenges in life as an opportunity to grow. I know that through Christ's Atonement we can all find joy in this life and return to His kingdom. It can literally transform us. His plan is really a perfect plan, and i'm thankful for that.
Much love! Elder Reber
**We didn't get any pics from Parker this week so I decided to add a few of my own:)
Our family is so grateful for the opportunity we have been given to have a missionary out in the field. He is a wonderful example to his siblings, cousins, friends, and so many. We appreciate the love and support we feel daily. We are grateful for the Gospel and all of the many blessings it brings into our lives and hope that others will choose to learn to know of Him. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that as you celebrate the season you can feel our Saviors love for you.
We can't wait to see this cute face on Christmas Eve.
We are also so grateful that Parker was able to grow up with such an outstanding group of young men. These boys helped to make each other better and we are so proud of the men they are becoming. Many of them are out serving missions all over the world and as much as we miss having them hanging around, we could not be more proud of all the good things they are doing!!!