Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat! :)

This week was pretty awesome. Best time of the year. I'm not sure we were able to get to bed by 10:30 once this week and i'd say not waking up before 6:30 was a pretty rare blessing this week as well haha.

Tuesday we went to the airport to fly over to palawan. This flight was extra tricky though because we had about 20 packages we had to take with us for missionaries over on the island. You could say Elder Fiesta looked like santa and i was his elf. We got all the packages through the first line of security, got over to the lady to check in, and was told by the worker that..... our flight wasn't til the next day!! Ahh it was such a dumb mistake but pretty funny. We checked the time like 3 times but never double-checked the date! I guess it was good our flight wasn't that day because we were able to make it back to the area that night and have a great FHE with a family.

Wednesday we were able to teach an RM's referral. The member's name is nephi blanco and he just got back a month ago. He's an awesome example seeing how he's already reaching out to his long time buddies and sharing the gospel to them. His friend was CRAZY smart. I honestly felt pretty nervous in that lesson haha! He had some amazing questions though and the message of the Restoration had answers for all of them. He has read some bad things about the church as he's tried to research more about us but it was good to answer a few of those. He actually doesn't believe in God but at the end of the lesson he was pretty excited and after a few attempts, we were able to get him to pray for the first time in 18 years! I'll never forget that lesson. We're super excited to teach him again this week. Later that day we flew over to palawan and taught a sweet lesson on the plane to the girl next to us. Right after we said the first vision the plane started to take off which i thought was going to ruin the moment but it ended up being a cool minute or so to let the spirit help the message sink in a little. By the time we landed the plane she had read about 7 pages in the Book of Mormon!

Thursday we had a great day in Palawan. We had a Christmas party for the missionaries there. We had a devotional and a talent show. It was cool to see lots of different cultural dances/songs. Our plane got delayed heading back to Manila but we met some cool people at the airport with the extra time we had. We were teaching a guy named Marvin who was on his way to Saudi Arabia. He was nervous and sad leaving his fam but we met him at the perfect time. I gave him a Book of Mormon at the end of teaching the restoration and he got really emotional and started to cry! It was a cool experience for me to see someone understand the message so well. As we were teaching him elder fiesta went to throw something away and next thing i knew he was teaching to Americans! They just walked up to him saying "we want to know more about why mormonism is the fastest growing denomination in the world!" They were a super nice young couple- one from cali and the other from DC. Good thing elder fiesta is pro at english! :)

For the mainland christmas devotional the missionaries wouldn't quiet down when we were waiting to start so as we were singing the opening hymn after starting President looked at the Elder conducting and said "hey elder reber is going to give a quick talk on reverance to start off the meeting." Haha he throws so many curveballs it really keeps ya on your toes.

Saturday was the baptism of MJ! She has a little disorder and can't completely control her movements and the way she talks. She's so smart though and really faithful. She's currently in mosiah in the bom. She lives with a fam of recent converts but her family is in the province. We went to her house the night before the baptism and the mom in the recent convert fam was explaining to us all the bad things that happened to them while we had been gone that week. They had a member in the hospital along with a few other sad things going on. She said MJ wouldn't have anyone to go with her to her baptism and was worried she wouldn't have support. She suggested we wait until April for MJ to be baptized since she most likely will be moving back to her family this week for the next few months. MJ however really really wanted to be baptized so we said we'd drop by early the next morning before the baptism to see what would happen. When we got there MJ was sitting there in her church clothes all alone.. she had woken up at 6am to prepare for her baptism! She woke up the mom and the mom said "yep, she's ready to be baptized. I don't want to stop her." It was cool to see her faith! There were lots of members there to support the service so it was great!

We went to an awesome family for dinner one night and all of us missionaries in this ward (6 of us) got to give their 16 year old son advice to help him prep for his misison. The father is in the stake presidency and they were just a super strong fam. Christmas Eve we had dinner with the Giffords (office couple!) They surprised us with big gifts full of food and other fun things. I'm just so grateful for the many people who have served me this past week. I feel very blessed to be out here.

Love you all! hope you have a great week.
elder reber

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Rat named Abinadi

Hi friends and fam. This week was packed with lots of fun stuff! I’m lovin the Christmas spirit here in the Philippines. It’s such a fun time to be a missionary. This week we were blessed to have Elder and Sister Schmutz come visit our mission for a mission tour. He is a member of the quorum of the 70 and is the second counselor in the area presidency here. A cool thing that happened was me and my companions were able to be interviewed by him before we went to MLC. He is a very righteous man and as he talks he basically is quoting scriptures. It was interesting as well to see how he would observe things and ask lots of questions to different missionaries. I learned a lot just by watching how he’d do things! That night we had MLC with him and he talked a lot about how much a leader can influence someone. He showed how the whole Book of Mormon is records that came because of 4 people being good examples to their kids as well as the people around them. If just one of them didn’t exist (alma the older for example) then lots of the Book of Mormon wouldn’t have taken place. We can see their influence on other characters in the book of Mormon, and not to mention even the millions of people who have read of their experiences.
The next day there was a big zone conference with all the missionaries serving on the mainland. One thing Elder Schmutz taught was the importance of teaching repentance. How we aren’t just trying to get people baptized but we’re trying to prepare them for temple ordinances as well. Helping them really use the gift of the Atonement of Christ in their lives will give them the desire and power to change. He invited us to promise specific blessings to our investigators then to pray to God that he will hold up the promises we have made with them. President Nelson made promises with us if we’ll read the Book of Mormon and now God has to uphold that promise because it’s coming from His servant. I’m excited to show my faith more now by making promises with those we’re teaching.
After our conference on the main land we hauled to the airport and barely made our flight over to Palawan haha. It was SO GOOOD to be back over there! We slept in my old house that I lived in for my 9 weeks over on the island. We were able to visit some of Elder McCauley’s recent converts while we were there and it was awesome to see their strong faith. I also got to see my old companion Elder Vinculado, who I haven’t seen since I left the island forever ago. He has served his whole mission on the island! We had another good conference there and it was cool to see how the messages were shared differently but the same points ended getting across in both of the conferences! We then flew back to the mainland and got back home at about midnight. The office Elders picked us up from the airport with little signs saying “Welcome home Elder McCauley!” it was super funny since a few days later he’d be going home for real!
Friday was awesome. We went to the temple one last time with Elder McCauley. I will always love the temple. That night Kathy got baptized! She was super excited and her friend Christy who I mentioned last week was there too! Something funny happened there though that I’ve never seen before. There was an 8 year old from a member fam getting baptized as well and as he got dunked under the water he didn’t plug his nose right! Most people here actually haven’t been swimming since the ocean is so dirty and there aren’t many swimming pools at all haha. His feet flew up and when he came out he was screaming and didn’t want to be rebaptized. He began to cry and tell his dad to let him go. Eventually after a few minutes though his dad convinced him to let him dunk him again haha. The second time he came up he was yelling even louder.. but luckily he was all good by then. I’m not sure the kid would’ve been baptized that day if it would’ve taken a third time haha.
Saturday we said bye to my companion Elder McCauley! We dropped him off at the airport and yelled “hurrah for Israel” to him in front of lots of people then took off. I’m sure he didn’t want others to know he knew them but I think our missionary attire gave it away. He served a great two years though and I learned lots from him. After that we went and played some tennis next door to the mission home! Elder Fiesta actually played in a big league throughout the Philippines growing up so he was dang good. It was tons of fun to play him for awhile.
The funniest part of this week though was our experience with a rat. Elder Fiesta saw a rat one night in the mission home and nobody would believe him. President HATES rats too so he was getting mad at him for even joking about it. Anyways though the next day us missionaries were cooking up some dinner and sure enough we all saw this crazy huge rat. I texted President that we have more witnesses and he immediately called me telling me to kill it asap and he wouldn’t be coming back til it was dead. We set a rat trap and by the time we finished eating we went to check it in the laundry room and we caught it! Right then President and Sister Fermanis got back and President went to the other little building to his office. We set the rat cage with the rat in it right outside his door and Sister Fermanis called for him to come grab the phone. He FREAKED out when he opened the door hahaha. Long story short a few minutes later the rat sat in the cage covered in hand alcohol and was set on fire. President named him Abinadi.
Love you all! Have a great Christmas week!
Elder Reber
So grateful Park has met so many fun friends along the way!

Not sure when this cactus fascination is going to be over.

The obligatory food pic

Fun day playing tennis

Monday, December 11, 2017

Being as Ammon

Hey friends and fam,
First off, happy bday to the one and only, my bro Graden! If you see him make sure to wish him a nice happy birthday. It’s crazy you’re 18 now and almost finishing up school time has been flying! You’re going to be sitting down in a lesson here in Manila before you know it.
This week was a pretty busy one! December is always crazy haha. We had to do lots of things in preparation for our Mission Tour with Elder Schmutz and his wife which is coming up this week. Because of that we had to do lots of random things which took a little time from the area but it was still a good week. We had to go to the mall one night to buy 80 ties to give to missionaries for Christmas.  It was pretty sweet choosing out so many, I think the people thought we were crazy. I don’t think I’ll ever have to buy that many ties at once again in my lifetime. We’ve also been creating a cool design to go on the lava-lavas that the missionaries will be getting for Christmas. The design is done, now we’re just working on finding tons of fabric and a place who will do the sublimation printing. But ya I’m basically a professional fashion designer mom! You’d be proud I make sure colors match up good and stuff.
Our area is doing pretty good right now! We have a baptism this Friday for a 18 yr old girl named Kathy. The two other elders met her like a week before I got here and she’s already bein baptized! It’s been fun teaching her. She also had her friend come and be apart of one of the lessons and her name is Cristy. We taught her the restoration and she understood it perfectly! It was so cool she thought it’s awesome that God doesn’t want us to be confused and lost here on earth. She couldn’t stop smiling the whole lesson and even when she said the closing prayer she was still just so excited to start reading the book of Mormon and learning more. She was at church yesterday!
That cool lesson was last Friday night and Friday itself was just an amazing day. The days before that we weren’t getting hardly any time in the area but Friday we decided Elder Fiesta and I would just head to the area all day even though there was so much that needed to get done over at the office. In that day though the Lord really blessed us more than I’ve ever seen in just one day I think. Three of the investigators we were teaching told us they wanted to be baptized and set a baptismal date. Every lesson just kept getting better and better it was so fun! There’s a guy named Balong who has been an investigator for a year. His only problem is he needs to get married to his wife. But he’s seriously the coolest guy and works with the missionaries all the time even though he’s not a member! I met him Friday and he immediately told us he’s going to get married this month! It’s amazing seeing God’s helping hand in these people’s lives. He knows there desires and really will prepare a way for them to accomplish them.
We also taught a 11 year old how to read a little bit better. He wants to read the book of Mormon but hasn’t learned how to read yet. His mom is our investigator right now and was having a hard day. When we got there she was yelling at these kids outside and was really stressed. She told us she was busy but we got her permission to just teach her little kid instead. As we focused on him I think it really softened her heart and after we finished helping him a little she sat down and listened to us. Serving others has been a big focus lately in our mission and it’s been fun to see the results of being as Ammon was in the Book of Mormon, a servant.
Saturday morn there was a baptism in the sister’s area in our ward so we went to the service. There was a ton of members there to support it was so cool. One laurel had a dance practice she needed to get to with her friends in preparation of a talent show so she invited all of her friends to the baptism before their practice. There were 17 of them and after the service we gave them a tour of the church! It was fun joking around with them and sharing our testimonies. It’s pretty amazing how different I seemed to grow up compared to them but there are still so many things we have in common. That night was the ward Christmas party and we sang a compilation of tagalog Christmas songs. I’ll try to get the video of that and send it next week. It was pretty funny haha.
Sunday was elder mccauley’s last Sunday so we went to his old ward in Pamplona. That ward is in the same chapel as my last ward las pinas and luckily there were still lots of members over there at the chapel when we got there. When we walked in I saw the relief society president sister maricor and she grabbed my arm and yelled “we need a pianist!” then dragged me into a room where tons of the members from my old ward were practicing for the Christmas choir! Haha I was able to help them figure out how the song is supposed to go for about 30 minutes which was funny.
Well hope you have a great week! I was talking to President Fermanis about prophets in our dispensation and he was saying how he’s read almost all of their biographies and teachings. One thing that stood out to him is he said that all of them didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do- they just did it. Before these amazing men were prophets, they were simple members serving diligently in their ward. It was a good reminder to me to always be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.”
Talk to ya soon!
Elder reber 

      **No pictures this week but was happy to have this one sent my way with Parker and Elder Petersen from his last area. 
Thank you for this great pic Elder Cibuco. He said, "We met together, Elder Reber my training, and Elder Petersen his companion. I love their companionship, their like twin!" 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Back to the Office

Hi friends and fam!
This week was a crazy one for sure. Tuesday, Elder Racaza in our zone got on his flight to go serve in Ghana! He was just waiting for his visa so he got to do his training here in the best mission in the world. I’ll really miss that guy he was so happy always. His companion Elder Mandla is from Australia and has a pretty THICKK accent it’s super fun. Elder Racaza got to the point where he could only understand elder racaza and president fermanis but couldn’t understand English from an American. Pretty funny haha. But anyways elder mandla worked with us for the day and we had a blast. He’s super good at skating and had about 50 kids freaking out as he rode around doing sweet tricks on one of their boards haha. I found out I would be transferring the next day so didn’t have any time to say bye to anyone really! We had set appointments with new investigators throughout the evening which was cool since some seemed pretty good.  Elder Petersen and I were pretty sad we’d be parting ways! I’m going to miss being with him every day we had such a blast. I learned a ton from my “twin.”
I got transferred to Makati 1st ward! Yep haha I’m back in Makati- and actually back in the office again. Should be lots of fun though. I’m companions with Elder McCauley (from texas. Goes home in the middle of this month) and elder Fiesta. I was actually already super close with both of these elders so it has been fun so far. It was the weirdest thing ever walking into the office to grab some things on Saturday. GOSH I feel like I was just in there! Time is so fast out here.
We did lots of training and stuff this week which was lots of fun. Thursday we had MLC and I got to see some mission buds I haven’t seen for a while. We talked about lots about sacrifice. The mission now has a goal of proselyting for 65 hours a week. “Proselyting” is when you’re actually outside working and furthering the work of the Lord. This new goal has been so cool because we’re seeing missionaries now waking up earlier, eating meals quicker, doing shorter studies, and talking to more people. These small things are showing the Lord that we really want to help. It shows that the people are more important to us than what we’ll be eating for lunch. Sacrifice is a really powerful word to me and I’m excited to continue to grow little by little so I’ll be able to give a little more each day.
All of us in the office actually don’t currently have a house so we have to sacrifice a little by living in the mission home ;) Man I’ve eaten lots of lucky charms, brownies, and ice cream these past few days. President also is a pro chef and cooked us up some crazy good omelets a few times. It’s fun to be around him and his fam. I’m startin to learn tons about rugby haha it’s like the one sport I didn’t watch before my mission. I’ll be watchin it for sure when I get home I never realized how cool it is. The office elders are currently elder cram (the one I trained to take my spot) and Elder Burdeos. They both went to riverton high school which is fun. E burdeos is actually full filipino blood but was born in Utah haha. People are super surprised when he opens his mouth and speaks perfect English. We’ve all been playing lots of basketball oer here too at the mission home it’s awesome fun.
Saturday was our pday and we made our way back to my first area- tondo! We went to divisorial which is that crazy huge blackmarket place where you can buy tons of fake stuff for super cheap. We got stuck in traffic and it ended up taking about 4 hours to get there haha. We were trying to drive on this narrow road with millions of stands set up with tons of people weaving through cars. As we were sitting there we were getting bored so rolled down the windows and started handing out pamphlets to people haha. Elder Burdeos was cracking me up because he was baring his testimony to everyone in English and they thought he was super cool.
Sunday was stake conference. It was super awesome because I was able to see everyone from my past area, the Makati 2nd ward! I saw Justine there- our awesome investigator who was baptized after I got transferred to Las Pinas. The missionaries are working on her family now and she goes to institute all the time! She also just finished the book of Mormon. The conference itself was great. There was a celebrity guy named “eruption” who spoke on the word of wisdom. It was funny haha he kept flexing at the pulpit (he’s ripped) but he actually gave a really great talk. He’s polynesian and served his mission in the Philippines. He eventually returned here and was a tv show host. He said last year he was on Amazing Race.. is that true? Also the stake president introduced the plan to split the stake again and to get an institute building in the stake boundaries. To do this they challenged every member in the stake to give one Book of Mormon in the year of 2018. Also, they’re starting something called a 6-year mission. All Priests and RM’s will be made ward missionaries so before their mission they can learn and practice, as well as after the mission they can stay on the right path and keep good habits they had in the mission. So basically everyone here ages 16-22 will be involved in missionary work, whether being set apart as a full-time missionary or not. The spirit was super strong as they introduced these plans. It just feels right. It will be great to see progress in the Stake as they apply these new ideas. I’m thankful for church leaders and for the revelation they receive to help build the kingdom.
Sunday night we had an awesome lesson. We needed to get heading home but Elder Fiesta felt like we should go try a family they had taught once real quick. We got there and started teaching the mom and her daughter. The husband is always at work and the first time they taught them he was still at work. But as we were teaching the dad suddenly came in! Long story short the family of 5 had never heard their dad pray because he doesn’t believe God exists. But after we shared the Restoration he told us he was feeling different and was willing to try learning more. He said the closing prayer and his wife was in tears after. I love bein a missionary!
Love ya all! Hope you all have a great week. Elder Reber  :)

Not the best quality of pics but I am copying them off from Parkers Mission Facebook account page- Philippines Manila Mission 2017-2020. It is so fun to see all of the information posted there about life in his mission field. Sister Fermanis does a great job of keeping all of us at home updated on what great things they are up to. 

Got this great pic from Brother Bunyi from the Pasay 3rd ward. It hasn't happened very often but a random picture sent your way in the middle of the week is the best!!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Baptisms and Primary Program

hey friends and fam
   It was a cool week! The highlight was the baptisms of AJ Mediana, Pauline Cusi, RJ Crisanto, Chelsiey Crisanto, and Xyza Crisanto. I love all of them we've gotten super close over these past months. They continue to surprise me with how faithful and awesome they are. AJ shared about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith to one of his classmates at school and watched the new Joseph Smith first vision video on his phone with his less active mom. We feel his mom is super close to returning to church we're just trying to help her not be so embarrassed returning to church after a long period of time. She went to the baptism though along with some of the other extended family and the were pretty emotional there haha. There are lots of people we're teaching and working with because of these recent converts lots of them have family members who are less active or not yet members. Pauline is actually the first member in her family.
   We tried to go to a baptism for some elders in our zone to support them but hadn't ever been to their church before. It's the Moonwalk chapel and it usually takes 3 trikes and a long jeepney ride to get there. BUT we saw this bus that said moonwalk on it so we assumed it would just fly us right over to the front of their chapel at least. we just got on that to try it out. Well apparently there's a place called moonwalk in the Cavite mission lol so we went pretty far away from our target destination. We spent tons of pesos tryin to get back and by the time we got to the chapel they were all gone. We met a few cool people while on jeepneys on stuff though i guess. We were able to go on an exchange for awhile with Elder Hernandez and Elder Ho Ching over by the chapel though which was lots of fun. Elder Ho Ching is brand new in the field and from Hawaii over at that one high school next to BYU hawaii and the temple. He's super fun and we'll see each other in provo!
  We ate dinner with a 76 year old sister in our ward, sister villanueva. She took us to this little "tapsilogan" to eat. She's not just a typical old lady tho she's super awesome at sharing the gospel. She had all the workers at the place come to our table and commanded them to listen to us for a minute. Haha she's such a nice little old lady and nobody else was eating there so all the workers came over. We overviewed Lesson1 with them then ate our food haha that was a new experience! She also took us to someone she met and shared the gospel to on Sunday. We need to be more like this old sister haha!
   Sunday though was a pretty crazy day. It was the primary program! And guess who played the piano? haha. I was asked to play the night before- i guess the primary thought they could play music with speakers but that's not supposed to happen in sacrament meetings. But most of the songs were in the children's songbook and not only had I not played a few of them, I hadn't even heard a few of them my whole life. It was good though, the kids were super funny. A little sunbeam girl got up to say her four word line but as she got up there she said "I'd like to bare my testimony. I know God loves me." in english and it threw everyone off super bad haha. the sister helping the kids behind her had no idea what to do! Also at church there were a ton of YSA there from other wards and stakes. I guess they had all met at an activity earlier that week then all decided to meet at our ward this Sunday. We met a ton of RM's and had a few of them work with us after church. It was cool to work with lots of people about our age. We had lots of laughs haha.
   We had a pretty interesting lesson with Arnold (the guy who had a stroke and can't speak/walk.) We were reviewing the restoration and when we got to the first vision he started getting all mad. On the picture we were showing him he covered one of the two personages that Joseph Smith had seen with his hand. At first we thought he was like everyone else and believed God and Jesus Christ are one being. So we addressed that question but then realized he believed us that they were separate. What he didn't believe was that God Himself would actually come down to earth, only Christ can do that. We shared the example of Moses seeing God Himself in the Bible and talked about how He has all power and can do all things but Arnold just wasn't liking it. I then had a little thought come to me.. something I had heard back at the manila mtc. I invited him to "ask God if Joseph Smith's experience is true.. He was there! He will be ready to answer if you have a sincere heart." I'm thankful that as missionaries we don't have to prove every little thing. There are many lessons where people just don't want to agree but nobody can debate the fact that asking God Himself can help them receive the answer they need. We as missionaries can testify of something to be true, but they can't know for themselves until they find out for themselves from the source- Heavenly Father. It's so great that we can always trust God to help someone know the truth. Prophet Moroni's invitation and promise is simple- read the Book of Mormon, ponder its teachings, and ask of God. God is not a lying God and when a prophet makes a promise, God will hold that up. I know that we can all receive answers for ourselves.

I haven't put in a bom insight for awhile so here's something i was thinking of this week! This week I read one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon- Mormon 8. It talks very specifically about how the Book of Mormon will be brought from the earth at a time of darkness, when it will be said that miracles are done away with, that there will be churches defiled and lifted up in the pride of their hearts, how it will be translated by God's help, and how he who translates it will do so with an eye single to His glory. I was thinking about our day and some of the problems we face. It also says in this chapter "yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not..." I feel like at times we seem to justify things. We might be doing something that isn't what God would want us to do but we try to convince ourself that it's ok. We're trying to find happiness in wickedness. that "it mattereth not." Because others are doing it, it's ok. Justifying things is something we should watch out for. Then, Mormon says that he speaks to us as if we were present. That Jesus Christ has shown us unto him, and that he knows our doings. The first thing he says about what he sees in our day is "ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts." I've been thinking alot about this and I think pride is the greatest thing that can harm us in our day. We see how harmful it is throughout the Book of Mormon and often bang our heads reading of the bad decisions people make in the stories and think "why would they do that?" But Mormon says it will also be harmful in our day, so i think it's important that we evaluate ourselves as well and do all we can to clean our inner vessels. There's another thing we gotta avoid- pride. In verse 38 it says, "why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies- because of the praise of the world?" We need to choose the right because we love God. We need to serve others not looking for praise. When one receives the glory of men it says in 3 nephi 13 that "they have their reward." We must always remember that God's plan and blessings are better than anything man has to offer. We can continue pressing forward doing good knowing that God's blessings to the righteous will always come. DC 64:33 says "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." I know as we read the book of mormon over time we will stop justifying our mistakes, our pride will start to fade, and we will follow Christ not looking for praise but rather doing so because we love Him and trust that his plan will work out for our benefit.

Love you all! Have a nice week.

elder reber

Baptism Day is a great day!

Obligatory food pic for the week 

Thank you Zesiger family for getting a little love from home to Parker!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Negotiating with the big timers

This week was pretty swingin. On tuesday before district meeting the STL's put together a "zone lunch." We all have district meetings at the same chapel so it worked out well. They cooked up TONS of rice then everyone brought different ulams to share (kinda like a main dish i guess.. basically what goes on the rice.) We then threw all of this rice and random food onto huge banana leaves and ate with our hands. Kinda a cultural thing here in the philippines. It was lots of fun, there are alot of great missionaries here. Good thing sisters are creative cuz i'd never think to do something like that haha.

We are continuing however to try to be somewhat creative with our finding haha. There's a funny thing that happened with that one hospital we played the piano at. So when we played there they didn't have a light near the piano so it was a little dark and a security guard was just standing behind us pointing a flashlight at our little handheld hymn book as we played and sang. We could tell some of the workers "higher up" were pretty embarrassed since we're white guys haha and were kinda chastising the maintenance head guy for not having a good light. Anyways we returned back this week and they had a SUPER fancy light installed right over the piano. They also got tons of christmas decorations on the piano now as well as a full nativity right next to it. Haha it's funny what people will do here to impress some white 20 yr olds. I was laughing so hard when i saw all of those renovations.

We wrote that hospital a letter asking permission for our zone to sing christmas stuff there and we also went to ask an SM Mall. We walked in and next thing we knew we were in some of the main administrative offices it was kinda scary since we had no plan haha. The head of marketing came out and started "englishing" us. They basically asked us what we have to offer and if we're actually good. I guess they do big christmas programs there on their stage so we're trying to get into their program to sing 3 songs or something. It's all just a work in progress haha but it will possibly get us on tv and help people be more familiar with us missionaries.

 Went on another district blitz this week with some of the missionaries. We've had to spend lots of time in other areas trying to get things movin a bit it's been super fun. It's cool throwing lots of missionaries in one area for a day because i feel like we're all more united now and missionaries feel that other missionaries care about how their area is doing. they can also see we're all ready to help each other.

 AJ, RJ, Pauline, Chelsiey, and Xyza all passed their baptism interviews this past saturday and will be baptized on the 25th this saturday! They're super excited it's awesome to see how much they now know compared to when we met them. The night before interviews I guess they all talked about the book of mormon and reviewed everything they've read so far together. They all got the story of nephi going back to jerusalem down super solid haha. AJ is the oldest and is kinda the ringleader of all of em. He's 14 but i feel like he's 18 haha. He's already gotten us tons of people to teach and continues to try to get his less active relatives to listen to us. He's also plannin on goin on a mission now! Such a sharp kid i love that guy.

 That's about all! I'm so thankful to be serving here in this area at this time. I love this work and i know it's a very important work. I'm thankful for my Father in Heaven's patience with me as I try to be an instrument for Him. It's very true that by small and simple means, great things come to pass. His ways continue to really amaze me.

Have a great week :)

elder reber

Someone is in his happy place. Missionary tag and clubs at the same time?? Perfect for Park!

He mentioned it was a pretty funny site seeing him on a trike and jeepney with this load on his back!

Elder Petersen had never hit a golf ball- Parker was happy to show him the ropes!

Fun basketball activity

Zone Conference talk notes

Finally got to a range :)

Smart Sisters plan an activity around food- see the church is the same all across the world!

To think he wasn't sure about all the rice before he left.....

Love the creativity! Wouldn't want to let an empty box go to waste!

More cute kids! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I'm thankful to be here in the Philippines

Hey everybody

Just got done hittin some balls at the range! Gotta say it was pretty sweet. I hit some beauts not gonna lie but some were pretty bad as well haha. We paid a "tee girl" to set up the balls on the dirt and tee em up when we were hitting drives haha it was super hilarious. We finished that then headed over to mcdons baby. It was super hard to get the clubs over there on trikes and jeepneys but it was worth it:)

Well this week hauled. We had quite a few meetings like stake mcm and zone conference it made things pretty busy. I guess I’ll update you all on a few of the investigators who are rollin pretty good right now.

Aj, Rj, Xisa, Chelsiey, and Pauline are actually now set to be baptized on the 25th. Due to all we had going on this week we weren’t able to get through the lessons yet. We were however able to talk to them one on one after church Sunday just to make sure they’re all on track. They all were awesome! Kids have really impacted me a lot on my mission they continue to surprise me. When we went to teach them Monday after we finished the lesson they all asked us if we could give Pauline a blessing. We were really surprised and excited I guess they somehow remembered us talking about priesthood and blessings a few lessons ago. It was cool they asked though! Aj, the one who is 14, takes notes on his phone while we teach and always goes off when we asked what he is learning in the bom. His insights are better than mine its nuts.

Bonifacio was still asleep by the time church was starting so he wasn’t there but we still had some cool experiences with him. We gave him a book of mormon and he was super pumped! He gave the best reaction and went to show his buddies later on that day. Every time we teach him or the kids in that area someone random joins the lesson so lots of people are getting the opportunity to hear about the restored gospel.

We also taught a guy who can hear but can’t speak! It was pretty different not being able to ask questions while teaching but he really liked it. He spelled out his name in the air and we got his other information that way as well haha. As we left he was already readin the pamphlet. I’m excited to go back to him.

So Wednesday we had zone conference! It was a pretty nice success. A cool thing president challenged us to do is to head into our area without our procelyting bags. He’s not a fan of em haha he says we look like a bunch of wusses carrying them around. Pretty true actually haha! He’s challenging us to proselyte only holding book of mormons. It’s a way to rely on the book of mormon and its power rather than letting little other things take more of the focus like pamphlets and stuff. So a few times this week we’ve just grabbed like three book of mormons each then we go around feelin like a missionary back from the time of when the church was first established. It has been pretty sick I gotta say.  Another new focus for the mission is before every lesson we teach we start it by talking about Joseph Smith and the first vision then connect that to the lesson we’re teaching. That way investigators are continuing to remember the importance of knowing if joseph smith is a prophet of God. And by constantly hearing that they will have a greater desire to read the BOM to know for themselves that Joseph Smith’s experience really is true and that he really was called by God to restore the fulness of Christ’s church. I also had to give a talk/discussion out of preach my gospel and I decided to focus on the first and last paragraph of the first presidency message at the beginning of preach my gospel. It says, “Dear fellow missionary, we compliment you on the great opportunity you have to be a missionary. There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction. The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.” I guess normally I just skip over this part when I’m studying preach my gospel but it really stood out to me the night before conference so “happiness in the work” was what I talked about. The people around you is one point I focused on to be happy. In alma 26:27-31 we can see how ammon found his joy. I like imparticularly in 31 it says “Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.” As missionaries the work is super fun when you’ve got investigators growing, changing, and showing action. It’s awesome when they’re genuinelly excited for us to show up. BUT on the other hand it’s the worst when they’re hiding from ya and you can tell you’re trying to push water up a hill with a rake. Spending time with people like that makes things tough. SO one thing I think lots of missionaries need to do is drop those who aren’t really ready. Scattered israel is familiar with His voice. One way of knowing if someone is ready is by noticing their sincerty and their love for you as a missionary and for their fellow brethren. So that’s a lil part of what we talked about ha. I also got “thrown under the bus” and had to play a piano solo. It went alright tho I actually really enjoy any chance I have to play now.

We’re trying some new things in our area. Saturday night we had a basketball activity where we just took about 40 minutes to play with investigators. Since church seems to be a hard commitment for many, this activity we’re going to do weekly at the church I think will really help more feel comfortable to get to church. Cuz now they know exactly where the church is and have met other members and investigators in a nonthreatening atmosphere. We had around 30 people there it was fun! Time to get my game back a little haha. Another random thing we did was when we were at the hospital after teaching Jordan. We walked downstairs and noticed the huge grand piano that just sits there. We went up to the front desk and asked them if we could return one night with the zone to sing christmas songs in their lobby. The lady was super excited and gave us the name of the main guy runnin the hospital so we’re going to write him a letter. Then she told us that we should just go play right then! So we were like uhh alrighty let’s just go for it boi. We played some christmas hymns and sang (not sure how I did both at once that was new) but it was hilarious cuz tons of people were singing along and were gathering around. After we met the head of all the surgeons as well as the head of maintenance and they had mormon friends. We’re trying to be more creative and service-oriented in order to find more people to teach.

I’m thankful to be here in the PhilippinesJ I know this work is the work of the Lord. He is at the helm.

Have a great week.
Elder Reber
 Zone Conference
Parker got to play I Believe in Christ at Zone Conference. He said he hadn't seen the music in months so was nervous, but I thought it sounded great! It was so fun to hear him!

Monday, November 6, 2017


Another good week down!

Startin off with Monday elder Petersen and I went to a Japanese place called Tokyo Tokyo it was super fun to try something different! We’ve been cheffin it up this past week! For breakfast we have to be fast but one morning we made some awesome cinnamon French toast. Usually lunch and dinner we don’t have time to cook but one night we got home at 9:30 without dinner so we chopped up frozen fries then added salt, pepper, tomatoes, onions, bbq seasoning, eggs, cheddar cheese, and some other stuff. It was just this huge blob of food but it was prooo.

This week in the area we were blessed a ton. AJ, RJ, Chelsiey, Xisa, and Pauline all are scheduled to be baptized on the 17th. Their baptism interview should hopefully be this week! They have been to church four times so now we’re just finishing up lessons and making sure they’re solid. They literally do everything we ask though it has been so cool. Lots of faith. They haven’t missed church since we’ve met them, they read, pray, participate, and love the youth of the ward. It’s been so fun teaching them and along with them Zhon Ron, Ezekiel, and John Mark have been listening and have potential to be baptized in December. They’re just all a big family of cousins, brothers, sisters, uncles, etc. Haha it’s a classic big Filipino family that live in a three houses next to each other.. it’s hard to keep track of!

We had a pretty great miracle one night. We had all these young investigators waiting for us to teach them but we didn’t have a third male over 18. The oldest of them is AJ who is only 15 so we literally were just outside of their house asking random dudes if they wanted to join us and listen to the discussion. After 20 minutes of talking to tons of people we were about to just call it good, visit a less active, and try the kids another day. But then we met Christian.. 18 years old and lives down the street a little (remember these streets have like 100 people every few steps lol.) He said he’d listen if his uncle would (also 18 but somehow his uncle) but his uncle, Bonifacio, was in the shower. We waited then Boni finally came out and said “let’s go!” outta nowhere and walked right into the kid’s house! It was awesome!

The two of them really caught interest but were a little lost since it was their first lesson and our other investigators are at a different stage. I thought the two of them would sit quietly but they actually asked questions as we taught the kids and as we involved them they were willing to share. At the end they said every time we go to the kids they’ll both come be our “third lalaki” so we won’t have to worry if a member ends up being unable to work with us. We asked if we could go share just to them as well so they could better understand from the start and they agreed. On Saturday morning we taught them the Restoration and the two of them & their friend who was there talked to us how they want to change. We told them words of God might not be something they think about much at our age, but as they listen it will become more familiar and their desire will grow. We said the age they’re at now is where they set habits and make choices that will be reflected throughout the rest of their lives. I love teaching people who are a little younger than me or about my age it’s the best. The spirit really there and boni said “I’ve never felt like this my whole life.” Then at 3pm we were back in the area to teach the kids. As we were about to start Boni just comes booking in through the door coming from playing basketball to listen again haha! On Sunday he was at church and told us “my mind has been so opened here.” He actually volunteered to give the closing prayer in gospel principles and said the prayer the correct way (sometimes people can’t break their old praying ways for a long time.) But it was cool, he prayed that his family and friends could be able to join him at the church next week.

So that’s the story of my new friend Boni. It was a cool week meetin him. He’s number 9 out of 16 kids. Yep, 16. Four have died so it’s just 12 now but man their family and tons of cousins/uncles all live next to their little house.

One night we went to teach bishop’s inactive sister and her fiancĂ© who isn’t yet a member. His name is Vans and we met him last week at church. It’s cool because if we can get his future wife active again in church he has a really solid group of people around him to support him in becoming a member. We met Bishop Flores’ dad for the first time because he works on a cruise ship! It was super cool to meet him and he shared how the ship visits everywhere throughout the world and super wealthy people stay on it. He was just “englishing” us the whole time and seemed so excited and happy about his job. Also in their house there are hundreds of old Lord of the Rings collectables which I guess could be sold for just tons of money now. That was definitely a new thing to see here in the Philippines haha.

Thursday we joined one of the districts in doing a district blitz. It’s where the whole district goes into one area and finds all day. It’s a fun new idea the mission is doing more and the missionaries have been more excited about the work doing random creative things.

We taught one of our investigators named angelo. We’ve taught him about three times now and earlier this week we focused about the book of Mormon again so he’d really understand the importance of it. His dad (a pastor) suddenly came downstairs and we were thinking he’d eventually come tell us to stop teachin his kid. But angelo is super interested and as his dad came down it didn’t make him nervous at all. His father continued to listen as we explained the bom and testified of it and at the end the pastor actually asked for a copy! He seemed to be looking for a way to prove it wrong but we could see it all just made sense to him. I’m thankful the book of Mormon is perfect. Ive relied on its power many times throughout my mission.

One night we got home and the two elders we live with were pretty heated with each other. It was out of nowhere because they’ve been having a blast together always laughing and being so funny. They’re both relatively new in the mission so they’ve been fun to be with em. Anyways as we were up following up people over the phone we could hear them arguing about how they aren’t reaching their goals. One was telling the other he’s the senior comp and should know what to do and the senior comp was telling the other he’s been in the area longer and needs to figure it out. One then stopped talking to the other so elder brizuela came up and told us to come help them out. We finished up follow ups then went down, said a prayer with them to open, then asked why things are all of a sudden so bad between the two. We asked why they came on missions and stuff and it was a good talk. E brizuela said “yeah he just won’t answer my question! He’s just being silent and won’t listen.” Then e vinas said “tell them your question then elder.” And e brizuela said “I asked while we were eating lunch- why do you like the spicy chicken more than the normal chicken?” The two elders then burst out laughing. They totally were KIDDING hahaha! I was in tears it was just so funny. The people I’m around have really made the mission amazing. Those two are total clowns.

Sorry this email has been long.. these emails are now also my journal because I don’t have time for the journal. I type way faster than I write too haha. I’m trying to write everything I want to remember. As far as the worms I think I’m all good with that whole situation now haha. President showed the mlc the pic I took with the worm it was pretty hilarious haha! I think the sisters all thought it was pretty cool but im not sure. We were blessed with 10 investigators at church yesterday. I think I’m more excited with missionary work now than I have my whole mission. Busy as ever- we didn’t have any comp or language study this week haha. Also trying to help some missionaries move to new apartments. Just lots of good stuff! Excited for another great week!

Elder Reber   
Japanese restaurant

The twins turn to triplets. Wonder if any of these guys actually wore glasses before their missions. Parker always wore contacts so the glasses look is a definite mission thing. 

He didn't even mention it but I would assume having a washing machine will make a big difference!

Parkers version of "cheffin it up" :)

Loving the hat!

There were many pics sent of this giant snail they found in their apartment. Glad Elder Petersen has some exterminating skills. That thing is huge!

Looks like a version of a microwave just warming up some leftovers. 

So grateful for so many loving Filipino people that take such good care of our boy!

Just a day at the market

Dinner is served.
Love all of those smiling faces!

These pics are from Sister Fermanis from the MLC at the mission home.
Hooray he is eating again!!

Good looking group!

Its awesome to see President Fermanis' captive audience

Eat up Park! Hopefully just for yourself this week!