Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ice cream cart ride

Hello all!

This week was a busy one! We were packed with meetings almost every day so we didn’t have as much time in the area but I still learned a lot myself.

Well I’ll start off with Tuesday. It was the rainiest day I’ve seen on my mission as well as in my life. I can’t really explain over email how funny it was for me. Probably at least 10 times throughout the day I saw things that just made me bust up laughing. The craziest part though was on the way to district meeting. Our little trike driver took a different route because some roads were so flooded then eventually we got to a main road and there was no way he could go any further. It was literally a river! We got out and got up on the sidewalk which was elevated a bit from the rest of the ground around us. We then watched cars come through and the water was higher than their lights.. probably not good for the cars but oh well haha. They literally looked like boats. Since it’s a rule as missionaries to not walk in water like this we paid some sick grandpa guy 40 pesos to get us across the stretch of about 50 yards. He actually sells icecream on a little cart but he had taken off the cooler part and we sat up on the little piece of wood that was pretty high up in the air. He then pushed us through this street and the water went up to his chest haha! As we were just sittin there we watched a motor totally die in the water and kids were swimming in the black water haha. I won’t be forgetting that sweet ride on the icecream cart anytime soon!

Joy received a call from her husband this week! He’s currently working in Saudi. He said that he doesn’t approve of her being baptized because they owe it to their old church because they helped them get married. He also said their family should all be the same religion. The only way he approves of her being baptized is if all the kids do the same. I guess to me that’s pretty understandable if I were him. The problem is though her kids aren’t quite where she is yet as far as knowing the truthfulness of the message. We’re still working with them and will see what happens! We figured out about the call and went running over to their house after MLC. We both felt like we needed to watch the restoration video because they haven’t seen it yet and knew it would give them a clearer view of Joseph’s experience. It was one of the coolest restoration lessons I’ve ever been apart of. After the video we both shared our testimonies of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel here on earth. Our awesome member PC who works with us also bore his testimony and had some cool things to share about his conversion story. We left it up to Joy to pray to know what to do. It’s hard when they know the message is true but random little obstacles keep coming up! I know eventually she’ll overcome them all and join the church, even if there are some sacrifices that may be required. We read how the king said to Aaron in the book of Mormon he was willing to give up his entire kingdom to receive eternal life. We also shared how Lehi left many riches to go dwell in a tent in the wilderness- because he knew what he was doing was commanded by God and was true.

Our awesome Ward Mission Leader Nephi had his first kid this week! Also Julius, the recent convert prepping for his mission, worked with us every day this week. The people here have been such good examples to me. On Thursday nights the wards play basketball at the church and Julius always goes. This week though he knew we needed a third male in our lesson so he decided to work with us instead! Haha that’s after me trying to tell him to just go play basketball for 5 minutes. He’s super cool!

We had an mlc on Wednesday and it was a cool meeting. I still am always amazed at how crazy president is with the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. When he holds his scriptures it’s like he’s holding a sword waiting to strike with some scripture. Every time he goes to open everyone’s just like “oh man.” Haha in the middle of a discussion he opened up to a random page and read, then connected that scripture to lots of others. He’s showing us that every verse is in there for a reason and that doctrine changes behavior. My interest in the scriptures has really grown there is seriously so much to learn. The more we learn the more we understand how to become like the Savior. Knowledge is actually a “Christlike attribute” in preach my gospel which is an attribute I would never pay attention to until now.

One cool thing I learned about setting goals in that meeting is we need to first set the big goal, then set smaller goals after that that will lead us to achieve the main goal. I’ve noticed that I usually try to do too much at once, but by setting better goals I can focus my energy on one thing rather than many. One thing I’ve wondered in my mission though is why I sometimes set goals then try to do all I can to achieve it, then don’t achieve it. I learned that just like we shouldn’t take credit when a goal is achieved, we also shouldn’t take credit when a goal isn’t achieved. President said we shouldn’t worry, this work isn’t our work, it’s His work. In D&C the Lord says many times “counsel me not.” We just need to trust in Him and continue to have faith to see amazing things happen in our lives.

We were able to attend a baptism Saturday for the missionaries we stay with. The kid being baptized was named Christian Nuguit. He’s 23 and has tons of tattoos up to his neck. I had met him on exchanges he’s super cool. One of the speakers was an old guy and he gave the funniest talk! I was in that back laughing- haha. He said “Christian, you were foreordained to join this church! Let’s look at your name. Christian- your name helps you remember to do things that Christ would do. Of course you were foreordained to join His church here on earth. Nuguit. (then he turned to English) Nuiguit in English is “no get.. Satan no get you Christian! Your were foreordained!!” Haha people here are so fun they always speak a little English in formal settings and it’s super good to see what they’ve got up their sleeves. That guy was the man haha! Anyways though seeing a tough guy like Christian in tears after being baptized was a great experience. The spirit was really there that meeting.

I learned Sunday night that Claire and angel were baptized in my last area! I’m super glad to hear they chose to follow Christ’s example. I can’t wait to see them again one day, I saw so much change in them when I was there I can’t imagine what they’re like now! I love being a missionary and I know that the fullness of Christ’s church is restored here on earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage you to follow my companion’s counsel that he always has for the other missionaries.. “keep following the word of chastity and law of wisdom and all things will work out.”

Love ya all! :)

Elder reber

So grateful Parker could have a temple day. It is even worth waiting an extra day to get his email!

I love thinking of my picky eating Parker sitting down and enjoying a new meal!

Blurry of Park but still such a cute picture- look at those smiles!!

Study Time

Love Baptism Days

My favorite has to be the cactus centerpiece! Pretty nice presentation if I do say so myself!

Another pic with the horse

Elder Reber and Elder Moster

Love seeing the missionaries at the temple

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

100th Stake

Hey everyone!

This week has been good! This week has been really busy because this zone combined so there are tons of new missionaries here it’s been kinda wild! I’ve learned the importance of having a good area book because lots of missionaries are fresh starting in the mission and some are feeling the pains of bad organization haha. The number of missionaries have been going down in our mission as well so every transfer areas are being combined like ours was a few weeks ago. Lots of good new opportunity though!

Well transfers came and I’m still here with Elder Moster in our area. I’m happy we have another transfer together it has been fun with him. The best part of this week was seeing Joy Gontinas return to church! Her kids weren’t able to come but at least she made it. After church she told us her decision has been made- she will be baptized! I think last week’s little trial with her old pastor was just a little test of her growing testimony of this church. I think her going to church at her old church also solidified her knowledge that it… isn’t true ha. We are hoping to set her goal date for Sept 23 but we will see how our lesson with her goes tonight!

We have a few other investigators who are making little steps but haven’t been to church yet. It’s cool to see how line upon line they gain more faith as they take action. Some aren’t keeping commitments so this week we are going to focus on helping them realize the importance of doing things on their own in order to know if our message is really true. We might have to drop some of them as well.

Some recent converts in our area had their new home finished so we got to go eat dinner there then later that night blessed/dedicated the home. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned when we do this but I think that was at least the 10th home I’ve been asked to bless haha! I don’t know why but my companions have never done it.. it’s always me. It’s kinda funny because the streak continues until now!

Well this week I finished the BOM! One thing I want to share though was something new I noticed in the book of Ether. In the story of the brother of Jared he must prepare for a long journey and we see that instead of the Lord just telling him exactly what to do, he makes him figure it out first. He works really hard to do all he can then after that the Lord does the rest. I’ve always liked that, but in verse 24 of chapter 2 I noticed something new this time. Even after preparing the vessels and having things prepared for their journey, their travels on the sea weren’t easy. Rather than the Lord finally giving them a break and making the travel smooth, it says there were mountain waves that dashed upon them. The Lord then said “for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.” It shows the all of the trials they were going through were sent from the Lord. All of the winds, waves, rains, and floods were coming from Him. Then in chapter 6 verse 8 later on it says “And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land…” It’s another good example that all of the hard things that we experience really are for our benefit! They help us become more like the Savior and become prepared to return to His presence. Every day people ask us why their life is filled with so many trials, disappointments, and hardship so as I read it seems to be a question I continue to focus on. I’m thankful for the scriptures and words of living prophets and apostles that have helped me understand why. Even in the story of Job, the Lord actually invited Satan to go visit Job in order to test his faith. He knew that Job would overcome the trials, even if it included taking everything that he owned including his family. No matter how hard a trial might seem and how difficult it is to understand why we have to go through it, I know that it’s for our good and the Lord won’t give us adversity that we can’t overcome. I was reading “Our Search for Happiness” this morning and I think what I read helps it all come together. It’s talking about missionary experiences but I think it can apply to anything else as well. “Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs, and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord.”

I’m excited for more adventures! Our mission just had a new stake made- the Mandaluyong Stake, which split from the Makati Stake (my last area.) This is the 100th stake in the Philippines which is an awesome thing to see! I hope I’ll stay on the Lord’s side throughout my life, it’s the side that will always win.

Take care everyone have a nice week!
Love elder reber

Pics for the week are again compliments of Sister Fermanis. With the organization of the Mandaluyong stake there are now 100 stakes in the Philippines. They had a fun program to celebrate! What an exciting time to be serving in Manila!

Monday, September 4, 2017

James Borrero Monilla's Baptism

hello everyone.. and merry christmas!! Yes, the christmas music is startin up here in the Philippines.. gotta love it! They don't celebrate halloween or thanksgiving so yanno it's time for christmas of course! I love christmas so i'm not complainin at all:) I'm hoping I'll get to spend christmas in this area I think it would be pretty intense haha.

Another good week in the books. For p day last week we went to "the beach." Pics will be sent if the computer is kind today. It was actually a really fun little trip we even found churros!

On Thursday my comp and I went to work in the other area of this ward. All four of us worked in their area.. I worked with Elder Armadillo and Elder Moster worked with Elder Dequito. Their area is super DIFFERENT than anything i've seen on my mission. The houses aren't neccessarily big but alot bigger and nicer than anything i've experienced. There's also NOBODY outside it was kinda freaky! We spent the whole time finding and in a few hours we found 6 new investigators. We met a 23 year old named Joshua who goes to school at UP (university of philippines) which is the kinda the harvard of the philippines. It was cool because he has always been looking into religions and his friends are all of different faiths. We shared the whole Restoration lesson in about 20 minutes and he was really interested because it's different from anything he's ever heard. I love how simple yet powerful the things we share are. I feel like the more I teach the same simple principles over and over the more I learn about them and know that they are really coming from God.

In our area we were looking for a less active in a spot we've never been at before and asked someone for directions. After getting help we got to know her and found out she actually went to an LDS church quite a bit growing up with her family. Her mom is also a member! We learned that she has actually been waiting for missionaries to find her and it wasn't a coincidence we met. Just cool to see yet again as we're walking God puts people directly in our path. She told us she normally is in her house with her kid which is in a little alley but for whatever reason that morning they were outside on the road playing.

Our bud james was baptized on Saturday! It was a great service and lots of support. His uncle from Mendinao flew all the way up for it. He and his family have been long-time members and have been praying for over 20 years for his brothers and sisters to be baptized. Last year it finally happened with the whole family (except for James) haha but now they've all been baptized! Super cool. One of the sisters who was baptized last year is now less active so he's also here to help bring her back to church. It was cool for me to see his faith. He said honestly their family could barely afford the plane ticket for him to come up here but he felt he really needed to come help his sister and knew that God would make sure everything financially would work out. The goal is for them to all one day be sealed. The people here are seriously the best.

Sister Joy Gontinas has her baptismal date for Sept 16 but sadly this week her old pastor went and chastized her and her kids! That dirty sinner haha. He basically forced them back over to their church. He went off about our church to them Saturday night then sunday morning he showed up at their house at 7am to escort them to the other church. At their church I guess the pastor focused the whole meeting about how Joseph Smith is our God. Joy then got up in front of everyone and basically bore her testimony to them all. It was the coolest thing i've ever heard! Apparently the pastor also knows when we have appointments with her so this week we might run into him. Should be fun! Joy is doing good though and her kids listen to us consistently now. They made us a big dinner one of the nights too! Two of the ward missionaries who always come with us to her also joined and she cooked my favorite food here- sinigang! This week I ate sinigang every single day except sunday haha.

So yep that's my up and down week! Filled with lots of adventures. Transfer week is this week and we still don't know if Elder Moster will transfer. I hope he stays- i've been learning tons from him especially how to befriend investigators. He has a big strength for gaining people's trust quickly and has some good jokes. Love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Reber
The pics without his glasses are my favorite- smolder and all.  Sadly the kid would be walking around blind without them but we just aren't used to Parker with glasses!

Mall of Asia behind him

Enjoying some Churros

Parker and a buddy switched planning books at the halfway mark of their missions. They wanted to see it in each others language.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Jenson Got Baptized!


Astig talaga ang linggo na ito! I don't know why but Heavenly Father has really been blessing our area these past few weeks. I feel like my faith is growing alot as I've seen so many cool little things happen. Even on the hardest days of the mish I feel like my comp and I still see God's hand in the work in so many ways. I think one thing I've learned this week is God sees each of our sacrifices and will bless us in His time for the small things we do to try to be a better instrument in His hands.

I guess i'll start with updating you on our investigators. Yesterday, Jenson Mark Cruz was married and baptized! His wife is a member and it's something they've been working towards for quite some time now. He's 23 years old and taller than me! He's 6'3 which is HUGE for a filipino! Tallest person i've ever baptized and it was a blessing it only took one shot to get him fully immersed! I love Jenson though he's just simply a kind person. He works at a buffet called Vikings which is one of the fanciest places you can eat at in the Philippines. We've gotten pretty close over the past few weeks since I've been here and i've learned how being nice can really lift people's days! He always wants to know things like what's it's like for an American to be here, how is life as a missionary, what did I like to do before my mission, etc. Being genuinelly interested in someone's life is something I've been working on in my mission and hope to continue to develop throughout my life. Just his simple efforts to listen really lifts me up when we visit him. After he was baptized he bore his testimony and as he turned around to face all of us he had the biggest smile ever. After his testimony bishop Flores (he's a stud by the way) gave his closing remarks and mentioned how Jenson's countenance was soo bright. It was a cool moment for me, he really did look truly happy and the spirit was really there! That image of his big smile has been stuck in my head ever since. His non member family i could tell was really hit with the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth and throughout each of the speakers, testimonies, and the baptism itself i could really tell the spirit was helping them realize that this is all true.

James Borrero Monilla (10 year old, mom was baptized last year), passed his baptism interview and will be good to go this saturday! Even though he's only ten i've really seen a ton of change in him. Missionaries have been trying to help him be baptized for a year and he seriously didn't want to at all. Even a month ago when i was new he refused to pray when we went to visit him. Even though his mom, aunt, cousins, etc were baptized he still never wanted to! Now when we go there he always volunteers right away to pray and he's super excited when we come. His mom even told us he was fasted the whole day for his baptismal interview! How cool is that??

Teaching him this week was different though. Their family opened up a new tindahan (little family-owned shop that's part of their house) so we were teaching him over there. He has tons of friends/classmate neighbors over there and when we went there Monday he invited two of them to join. Tuesday there were about 5, and each day there was a little more until friday there was 12 of them! We would follow up on what they had learned in the past lesson and they would go crazy answering us! We ended up giving almost all of them Book of Mormons with little maps they color in as they read the chapters. One of them is 11 years old and read all of first nephi! After our lesson we play games for a few minutes and it's honestly just so fun. For me it's cool to see how the kids here have lots of similarities as my bros and sisters as they grew up, even though their circumstances here are alot different. Although lots of these kids probably won't be baptized, it's cool to be able to teach them correct principles that will help them out a little in their lives! Even the fact they're reading the Book of Mormon is just awesome to me. Definately a miracle! Hopefully pictures will finally work this week haha` I got a few good ones of all of them.

When we teach all of these kids upstairs I always feel bad for this little 12 year old downstairs because he watches over the little store as his job. He's always super nice to us when we come down and we could tell he wished he could come up and listen. We gave him a pamphlet and as we were leaving he was already readin through it. Friday we were finding on the other side of our area and this kid out of nowhere answered the door! We found his house and met his family. They're living circumstances are tough it was super sad to see. Him and his family are soo nice though and we have an appointment with them this week. It was cool we were guided right to their home in a tiny little alley.

Joy finally accepted a baptism date for sept 16! She has already been to church 4 times which qualifies her for baptism. We just need to finish teaching the lessons now. She's awesome though and another cool thing is 3 of her kids listened to our message this week. We invite them every time we're there but they've never listened til now. We taught word of wisom to Joy and the kids accepted to live it too. We then showed them a picture of the Manilla temple and told them that the real goal is not only to be baptized but to one day be sealed as a family. It was a cool lesson with all of them and 2 of the kids showed up to church sunday!

I was reading in 3rd Nephi when Christ visits the people in the Americas. As I was reading I started to wonder why lots of these chapters are also in Matthew. About a month ago I was reading these very words in the new testament. Why are they in both? I got my answer when i read in 3 nephi 13:25. it says "And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken." Such a simple phrase but for some reason it really stood out to me. Christ was pleading to his disciples to simply remember. To remember the things he had spoken. In the Book of Mormon we see that people are often quick to forget their God. We get caught up in small things in our lives and too often forget the purpose of our lives on earth! I felt like I needed to do a better job remembering the things I learn in personal study. I think we often have spiritual experiences but after it ends we sometimes quickly forget. In my planner now I write down the main thing i learned in personal study so when things are a little tough out in the area I can pull it out real quick to remember what I learned and regain that courage and spirit that i had felt earlier. Christ then says, "For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people." It was just a good reminder that we are each put in certain situations for a reason. For me right now, I'm very thankful for the area I'm in and I know I need to be here. So yeah, that was a little thing i learned this week. I think that's the reason the prophets and apostles have said to read the Book of Mormon every single day, so we can continually remember the Savior and strive to be more like Him.

That's all my friends. Hope all is well. Thanks for your support and love! Have a solid week! I invite you to read the Book of Mormon every day:)

Love Elder Reber

Ps. Justine from my last area got baptized on Saturday! The stake president heard about her and apparently went to meet her. She told him she wants to serve a mission and I guess he told her he'd pay for the whole thing! Super cool! I'll try to stay updated on how that goes!

Birthday Shenanigans

Elder Moster

It is pretty amazing they were lead exactly to this home. 

JB's Baptism :)

Love the interaction Parker gets to have with these cutest kids!

Book of Mormon Maps

So glad to hear they got this super tall Filipino baptized on the first try!

Monday, August 21, 2017

JB's Baptism


Had an awesome week!! The highlight was definitely Jansen Belonias' baptism!! He's 10 years old and lives in a part member family. His mom was less active for about 10 years after being heartbroken by a few RM's haha but after visiting them over the past little while she's active again. Jansen is awesome I've never seen a kid focus in lessons so well my whole mission! Every time we teach him I feel we were teaching someone who was around 16 yrs old. The night before his baptism we shared Helaman 5:12 with him and talked about the amazing blessings that come when we focus our lives on Christ and stay faithful in the church throughout our lives. No matter what trials come we can overcome them and grow so much as a result. It was a cool lesson, he was super excited to be baptized. The service was really spiritual and there was good support from the ward. He gave an awesome testimony after and his mom did as well. It just reminded me really that everything we do as missionaries is worth it and that no effort is wasted. Next step now is trying to teach his dad!

I had to give a talk at the baptism on the Restoration and I mainly focused my talk on the sacrifices Joseph Smith made. I'm so thankful for him and for the restored gospel. As I've learned more and more about his life throughout my mission my testimony has really grown and trials seem so little. Joseph Smith REALLY faced alot of opposition and Satan was doing all he could to stop such a marvelous work. Joseph Smith knew that he had seen a vision, and he knew that God knew it, and he couldn't deny it. It's cool he was able to keep that perspective through the hard times and never stopped trying. God even reminded him he wasn't yet to what Job had to go through. When facing a trial we need to always have a wider perspective and remember those who came before us!

Speaking of the restoration, that was our focus for our zone conference on Wednesday! As a mission we now have a new focus, every time we meet someone and every time we teach the first lesson we are going to focus on the Restoration. We are now practicing teaching the whole thing in 4 minutes so they can feel the spirit of the restoration and especially the first vision. This is something we were doing while i was new, then the focus shifted to inspired questions and their needs/concerns, but now it's returning back the restoration. It just feels right and I'm excited to see the miracles that will come from focusing on the restoration.

President Fermanis really taught us alot during conference too. His huge focus continues to be the Book of Mormon and is doing everything he can to make our personal study more exciting. When our study is good we'll have more faith and energy to go out and share the gospel. He said how there are days where he reads something and feels like he could easily go out and knock doors for 10 hours so it's something we're trying to experience too as a mission! He pointed out to us that the Book of Mormon was published before the church was even established. What does that show about the importance of the Book of Mormon? That was super cool for me to realize and I've been thinking about it all week. It's the only way to be truly converted to the restored church of Jesus Christ and to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. This is done by knowing the Book of Mormon is true by the Holy Ghost. The church couldn't even be established until this great book was available. President answers almost all questions using the Book of Mormon it's really cool to see. My testimony is growing that you truly can read it your whole life and still find new things to learn. My companion and I taught a class on answering questions of investigators through the Book of Mormon. Preparing for that just reminded me of how grateful I am for the Book of Mormon in my life. It has answered my questions throughout my mission and I've seen miraculous changes in others as they've read it.

Thursday I went on exchanges with Elder Rushton. He's from Magna and goes home in 3 weeks! We worked in our area and had a great time. We focused on finding new people and "tao po"ing doors even when as President put it "you feel like your trying to push water up a hill with a rake." We got a few good return appointments and taught some fun lessons. We went back to Jaymar (the 17 year old with the huge infection on his back) and found out he actually had passed away the night before! It was super sad i couldn't believe it. They said though the hospital finally let him in eventually so he wasn't in quite as much pain as when we met him at their home. He was a cool kid though all of his neighbors loved him because he was always helping them try to fix up their little houses and doing other acts of service. We taught his brother the plan of salvation and plan to visit his family this week again.

We have a few other investigators that are progressing pretty well. Jenson Cruz will be married to his girlfriend (member) Aug 28 then will be baptized right after! He's a super cool kid and is actually as tall as I am!! James Borrero is 10 years old and his mom was baptized about a year ago. A few weeks ago he finally decided to let us teach him more and he now has a desire to be baptized! He got rid of his tea a little bit ago so now his goal date is Sept. 2 if we get the lessons done by then. Our other main investigator is Joy. She went to church again yesterday and we had some cool lessons with her this week. She still hasn't accepted a baptismal date yet but her faith is growing lots!

One quick story is we got permission to teach Jenson Cruz at 8am since it's the only time he's available. We happened to run into a less active as a result of being out so early in the morning! He is a trike driver and we may have never met him. God knows His children though and put him right in our path! Rodrigo was at church yesterday so that was a cool little miracle.

In the Book of Mormon this week I read about one of my favorite characters in the Book of Mormon- Nephi, the son of Helaman. It's crazy for me to read about the miracles that happened while he was serving with unweariness. Even after all of these miracles however, only "some" of the people believed he was a prophet of God. it's a reminder to me that the Holy Ghost is really the way for someone to know of truth. The Holy Ghost is more powerful than the 5 senses and can testify to someone better than a sign. The people in this time saw lots of "signs" and miracles from Nephi but still refused to accept. I'm glad to know this because sometimes it's not fun getting rejected! Over time sometimes I catch myself thinking "man i must not be powerful and convincing enough" but I can always remember that if I have the Holy Ghost with me it will be enough for the person to accept or deny the message.

That's about all for this week! We were a little busy with some stake reporting and zone conference but it still went pretty well! Loving the work a ton and am thankful to be out here in the Philippines.

Love you all!
elder reber

This weeks pics are compliments of the great Siser Fermanis, Parker's new mission presidents wife. I love seeing a full view of some of the experiences she is having. Many of which for the first time!  She shares not only pictures of our missionaries and fun facts like their Zone Conference program, but many pictures of the world around them. It has been such a blessing to have this wonderful family come to serve the people in the Philippines. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Be an example of the believers

Hello fam and friends

Hope you all had a nice week! This week the Sisters' area in our ward closed down and they were both transferred out. Since our area is next to it, we took over the whole thing! So this week has been super crazy trying to meet their investigators and recent converts in their area. We've had a little trouble finding everything but luckily it went pretty smoothly since the mission just had a huge map project not long ago. We got their area book and big map with pins marking where people live and it's all worked out alright! They didn't have too much going on though so we still spent most of the week in our original area. It will be hard for me to get this area memorized now that it's bigger. I still have no idea where we're walking when we're over in our area in Brgy CAA haha there are literally hundreds of streets and buildings. Hard to explain it haha you'd have to be here to see!

We got a text from Bishop one night asking us to go visit a less active the next morning. This less active is named Kimberly, she's 17 years old and was baptized in the province a few years ago. The crazy thing though is she got in a big motorcycle accident with her brother a few months ago and forgot everything about her life! Her name, family, schooling, and everything about the church. Now after a few months she's doing better and started going back to school. We showed up and started from the beginning, teaching about God and Jesus Christ. She showed us a picture of her baptism and couldn't remember why they were wearing white! We then decided to watch the 20 minute Restoration Video. It ended up being a super cool experience I won't forget. Throughout the whole thing she was watching it intently but still all of it was new- until it got to the first vision! She got a big smile and looked over and told us "I remember this!!" It was a cool thing for me to see. Someone who literally forgot everything but when the first vision came, the spirit was powerful and she recognized it. I know that Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that the fulness of the gospel was restored through Him. Even though he was young and unlearned, God works by small means to furthur His work and bless His children here on earth.

We had exchanges this week and I got to work with Elder Dequito here in our area. He is from Davao and goes home in about 2 months. Our focus was on finding and different things we can do in order to find. We didn't have many appointments set so we had plenty of time to just go around meeting people. I'm not super pro with directions so lots of the time we weren't exactly sure where we were at but we had a fun exchange and I learned alot.

There's a homeless man who is always on the side of the road that we walk on to get to our area. Every single day so far when he sees me he gets a huge smile on his face and says "Hey Joe!!" He then laughs the exact same laugh every time and for some reason it gets even funnier for me every time he does it. When the other Elders pass by he always asks where I'm at i guess haha. I love the people here.

We had Stake Conference this week and it was a really cool. The theme or focus was on conversion and the main scripture was Luke 22:31-32. Conversion for me is something that we will be working on throughout our whole lives. It's continuous and consistent effort doing our part to change and become more Christlike. It happens through our small choices that we make every day. By doing what God would have us do, we are strengthened and when we strengthen ourselves we actually are automatically strengthening others around us! I think of people in my life who are trying hard to become fully converted and I know their influence and example has affected me. In my personal study later on Sunday I was reading in Alma 60 and verse 23 stuck out to me. "Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also." This is Captain Moroni speaking to Pahoran about the government needing to be clean in order for everyone else in the land to be the same. But I think it also can apply to our personal conversion. Once we are converted we can lift up those around us. But, if we are struggling with our own conversion we won't be able to focus on helping others and plus we can't give what we don't have! As we become more converted we will have a brighter countenance that people will start to notice.

So, this week I challenge you all to do those small things to become converted! Be an example of the believers especially in your conversation! The words we use and conversations we have shows the person that we are. It shows what we value and what's is important in our eyes. It shows where our heart is. If we start with good thoughts, everything else will fall together for the good.

Take care!!
Love Elder Reber

**Park didn't send any pictures this week so I decided to share a few from our recent day at the Provo, Utah MTC open house. We had a great time touring through parts of the old and new MTC buildings. It was so fun to get a glimpse into where Parker began this journey and where many more will end up through the years. It was a beautiful building with an even better spirit. We loved the windows, bright hallways and especially the amazing artwork. What an amazing place to start a wonderful experience. 
I have seen this map so many times throughout my life. It was fun to see it with my own eyes with some of my favorite people. Sadly Rick was at work and had to miss out on all the fun. 

They change out the many flags each day to represent each one on a rotating basis. 
Where the Beanboozled fun took place. 

Love this future Elder Reber

Again, the artwork was breathtaking. Such a beautiful place to learn.