Monday, December 12, 2016

Zone Conference and Erica's Baptism

Hello everyone,

First off happy bday Graden! We totally got to baptize someone here to celebrate your day haha. Weird to think you're 17 honestly, hopefully your driving is a little better by now and "my" car is getting the respect it deserves:)

We had zone conference this week so I guess I'll start off with that. It was super awesome. Elder Haynie from the 70 was there and the first thing he did was meet every missionary who was at the meeting! It took 50 minutes but it was really cool. President Ostler shared about habits and sacrifice which is what I have been kinda learning and thinking about the past 2 weeks! Ha it was cool and he shared some good things about that. I liked the scripture he shared in 1 Nephi 11:17, Nephi didn't know the meaning of all things, but he knows with a surety that God loves us. Therefore all experiences given to us here on earth are for our benefit. He also talked about how we first have to obey and show our faith, then the blessings will follow. Elder Haynie talked about how it's sometimes hard for us to know if it's the Holy Ghost speaking to us our just our own thoughts. His council was to ALWAYS trust your first impression and ACT. All of us have had moments where we feel we should do something but we justify why we shouldn't or why we can't. Example, earlier this week we were on a short jeepney ride and I'm realizing I had an impression to talk to someone who was sitting diagonal from me. But I justified the situation and told myself "ah well I'm getting off in a minute anyways, plus it's too loud, plus there's lots of other people packed in around us, etc." So yep I ended up not talking and sharing the gospel when I should've! That happens to all of us but he said the more you trust your first impression and act, the better you'll get at it, and the Holy Ghost will trust you more and will put more people in your path or give you more opportunities to do good throughout your life.

We had lots of training and the main focus was on finding scattered Israel. So finding those who are really ready to hear the gospel. Elder Haney had tons of good ideas. He talked about how we shouldn't give up on people, but we also need to know when it's time to drop someone. In John 10 it says "my sheep hear my voice." They should be easy to teach and they will accept the gospel. We shouldn't have to keep trying to force it at them. He talked about how "scattered Israel hangs around gathered Israel" and went on to talk about finding through members, less actives, part members, and recent converts. He closed his testimony saying "Don't get discouraged. I promise God's plan will work out for your benefit and happiness." Zone conferences are always super good and give us missionaries a spiritual boost to help us keep a strong desire and to remember how important and great this work really is. Literally it's so cool for me to see the results the gospel has on people. It just blows my mind how smart and powerful people can get by submitting to God's will and serving Him their whole lives. Listening to Elder Haney and my mission pres speak alone tells me this church is true. There's literally no way they could speak with the power they do without the Holy Ghost and there's no way they'd be so sharp without the gospel. Pretty cool, hopefully I can grow over my time here as well and become more like the pro examples i've seen in my life.

SO YES we had a baptism for Erica Yambao! It was pretty crazy trying to plan it but it all worked out. We once again planned the speakers, program, time, cleaned and filled the font, and had to text each bishopric member trying to get one to preside. Ha the day of the baptism we went early and set up chairs and prepared the font. The bishopric member showed up 45 minutes late and an hour passed by and Erica still wasn't there! What on earth haha. We took a jeepney back to their house and got there right as they were leaving. Anyways it all worked out, the speakers totally winged it but it was good haha. Gotta love it! :)

This week was super busy but awesome. Elder Baier in our district was sick so Elder Panugao worked both areas going to appointments and walked a million miles haha. It's way better being outside than chilling in the house all day so I called going out instead of Elder Jervoso. I'm realizing the days I'm happier are the days we're busy and working hard. We're seeing lots of miracles every day in our area and I'm super grateful for the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ. One miracle this week was on Sunday morning we got a text from the Tondo 1st missionaries saying some 18 yr old named Ruby who lives in our area went to their church. "She's of the scattered Israel! You guys are so lucky!" -Elder Pedotera. Haha we hauled over to the church to meet her, she asked for a Book of Mormon and told us she wants to go in the temple. We are teaching her tonight so I'm excited.

Have a great week everyone. I know this church is the true church on earth. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ, his example, and his atonement for all of us. We can overcome all things if we humble ourselves and follow him. He's waiting and wants us to simply accept Him and follow Him the best we can. He's the only way for us to find real happiness in this life and joy in the next. Always remember Him, especially during this Christmas season!

Much love, Elder Reber
Erica's Baptism Day
Park loves his companion, Elder Jervoso

My favorite thing about this pic is the bag of Parker's fav mint milano cookies we sent :) 

Can't quite shake the smolder :)

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