Monday, January 30, 2017

Baptisms for Robbie and Rose Marie!

Hello friends and fam!

First off happy bday to the bro Cannon! You're the man. For your birthday I actually became a licensed driver here in the Philippines.. Excited to drive a nice jeepney one of these days haha. Hope your day was good! Also, happy birthday Nana! Hope you had a great day!

This week was a fun week here in the field. Like I said I got my license one day and I was was able to see my MTC companion Elder Carter for the first time since we've been here! Haha he's still so hilarious it was fun to catch up. I also saw Elder Mitchell who was in my room over in the Provo mtc. Love that guy. Over at the license place we weighed ourselves and I've gained 11 pounds here in my first area! It's alot since i weighed like 78 before the mish haha.

Saturday morning we had the worldwide missionary broadcast where we saw some big changes made! We learned that lots of the "key indicators" in all the missions will be changing. We will no longer report how many lessons we have but instead how many baptisms for the week, new investigators, investigators with baptism date, investigators at church, etc. Basically the focus is shifting to baptism- which is our purpose as missionaries. So far in my mission I've realized that lots of our time has had to be focused on less actives and recent converts in order to "fully activate" them and help them prepare for the temple. This is great and important stuff that we will still be doing but it will be cool to be able to spend more time finding and teaching investigators. We were called to build the kingdom, not to just give it a few finishing touches haha. We also had a few changes in our schedule which will let us use our agency more. We now get to choose what time to do our studies according to when is best in our areas. For example, in Africa they can study in the evening now since it's recommended for them to be inside after dark. Also, daily planning is in the morning so we have more time at night to write in journals and stuff. But lunch is only thirty minutes now. You probably all don't find all of this very interesting haha but it's a big deal for the missionaries to see changes like these. It's cool to see the church adapt as they continue to learn. Elder Bednar said that the past ways of missionary work weren't necessarily bad at all, but as we're here on earth we will continue to learn and grow line upon line and find out what might be better. I'm super thankful for our church leaders and their sacrifice for this true church. They really have their priorities straight. It's cool to hear their insights on how we can be better disciples of Christ!

Saturday at 4 we had two baptisms!! One for Danny's wife, Rose Marie Santos and the other was Robby Perez. It was actually Robby's birthday too! Danny did a great job! It was cool to hear both of their testimonies after too. Their stories are pretty cool and their testimonies were powerful. Rose Marie and Danny were able to get two of their kids along with some grandkids to come to the baptism. Their oldest has been to both baptisms, church a few times, and stake conference as well along with her kids. Her husband isn't too interested as of now but she said she's really liked all of her experiences with the church so far. I'm excited to see the blessings that will come because of the good examples of the Santos couple. I'm thankful that God has given me such a great opportunity to work with all of these people. I'm thankful for saving ordinances here on the earth today that help us prepare to return to His presence. They bring power and light from heaven to this sometimes dreary world. His plan truly a happy and perfect plan!

Lately in my mission I've been trying to be led more by the holy ghost. As missionaries we really rely on the holy ghost for everything we do. Studying, finding, teaching, and working with members requires the spirit if we want to help God fulfill his purposes. I've been trying to learn to gain His trust and be willing to do anything for Him. The more we act the more opportunities he will give us. It's still a work in process, but I know that if we can learn to get out of the way and let the spirit do his work, all things will work out. I realized that at times I focus too much on myself and if my teaching is good enough, if the language is alright, if I sound bold enough. But the more we can just forget ourselves and our pride, the better the spirit will be able to work. I know we will be better instruments for God, and happier people in general if we can learn to love others more than ourselves!

Have a good week!

Love Elder Reber :)
Looks like the Elders found a new custom t-shirt shop! Glad they will have these treasures to remember their time working so hard together. We love Elder Jervoso!

Elder Sumaoang is about to have a rude awakening here in Utah. He will be leaving for the Provo, MTC soon. It is snowy and cold here- nothing like the weather in Tondo. 

You are looking at a licensed driver here! Parker was so glad he was able to see Elder Carter and Elder Mitchell, good friends from his MTC days.

Yes, I do worry about this poor kids arteries. Hot Donalds- picture worthy as always. 

What a wonderful day!! We were thrilled to see Danny dressed in white again. This time he was able to baptize his darling wife, Rose Marie. So happy for the Santos family and very grateful they were able to be a part of Parker's mission story. 

The Santos Family

Our friend Mera, is in the striped dress. I am constantly impressed by the love and support she shows her fellow Tondo 2nd ward members. We are thankful for her friendship and all that she does for our favorite missionary!

Robbie and Rose Marie on their special baptism day.

 Mera was the lucky recipient of yet another custom t-shirt.

I got this one from Mera- I guess the Elders had been out jogging and stopped for lunch. I just had to laugh at the thought of these two twins running through the streets of Tondo with their matching outfits. Hilarious- I love it!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Interviews, Zone Mtg, Manila Stake Conf

Kamusta friends and fam!

This week was a busy one. Lots of good stuff. Last Monday we had a sweet zone activity over in Santa Cruz, we played basketball and ate burgers! If you remember earlier in my mission I would sink every shot I'd take on the streets. That trend has since ended haha. Our new zone leader is Elder Roberts from Holladay and he's super nice. I actually saw him every day this week except one. But anyways Tuesday we had a good zone meeting that was centered on love and Christ's atonement. We were reminded of the many things God has given us to help us as missionaries, especially the Holy Ghost. We talked about ways we can invite the Holy Ghost into our lessons and how important it is to be praying at all times.

Wednesday morning we woke up and took the LRT (the nicer train) to Buendia for interviews! Interviews are awesome, they always give me a boost to want to work even harder. President Ostler is the coolest, kindest guy he's nothing but complimentary the whole time. He asked me to share a scripture to him so I just opened up to D&C 64:33. It talks about how we shouldn't be weary in such an amazing work and how by small things great things come to pass. Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, restoring Christ's church, is of course a great example of this. One that I often think about. He wasn't a perfect person, but God was able to work with him as he continued to try, repent, and try some more. God can work through weak people even if they may feel unqualified. Also, small CHOICES we make every day make the biggest difference as well. Small choices can bring big results. Joseph chose to act after reading from James. He chose to pray- and not only to pray but he prayed with faith. Because of this simple choice he was visited by our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. We must remember the importance of every choice effects who we become. There's a good, better, best for everything. We will reap what we sow. If we take the easy road for everything in life, we will be a pretty average person. An average example and an average instrument for God. But if we can learn to really give our heart to Him and take that extra step, that's when we will see true growth and miracles.

After interviews we got permission to head over to the temple for ward temple day! Sister Fatima was over there for baptisms but we ended up not getting to see her since we could only be there for around 40 minutes. We taught a lesson over on GRASS to some less actives we've been working with for awhile and it was cool how strong the spirit was even outside the temple. I'm thankful for temples and ordinances to give us strength here on earth and help us return to God's kingdom. I'm also thankful for authority here on earth again, the same authority prophets of old and Jesus Christ himself had.

When we finished our lesson we realized we needed to get goin if we wanted to get home on time. The ward was all still in the temple though so taking the jeepney they rented wasn't an option for us. Taking the train would take too long as well and a taxi for just two missionaries is too expensive for our budget. Sure enough out of nowhere the zone leaders came around the corner! We had no idea they were over there as well. They asked how we were going to get home and we ended up having a member from a different ward call up a taxi. Long story short my comp and I got home at 9:29 haha right on time! Lots of small miracles here in the mission every day.

Robbie and Rose Marie passed their baptism interviews! I'm super pumped for next week. Danny reviewed over the questions a ton to make sure she had everything down sharp. Haha they're super funny. Classic old couple. In lessons if she says something slightly wrong he'll quickly fix the problem haha. Robbie is in Mosiah and Nanay is in 2 Nephi. Basically they read more than we missionaries do!

To top off the crazy week we had Stake Conference Saturday night and Sunday! I was relieved i wasn't speaking this time haha. But it was awesome! We were even lucky to have 8 investigators there- many coming from a referall from some members (Cabajar family). President and Sister Ostler were there as well as President Bowen (area president, member of 70) and his wife. Wow he's a smart guy. He talked about how we must ALWAYS share the gospel. We need to remember how much it blesses us and how it can help others. We must share what we have and not just keep it to ourselves. He talked about Satan trying to make us scared or nervous, how he somehow makes us think about the worst thing that could happen. I liked how he said if you had 1000000 pesos would you be scared to offend someone by asking them if they wanted it? The gospel is worth more than this! Why would it offend anyone? And if it does then that can be their choice! Why are we ashamed about what we have? He reminded us not to judge our success on the free agency of others. He said our grade is always an A+ if we open our mouth. He asked those who knew of someone who would be interested in having their family sealed for eternity to raise their hand. Basically everyone raised their hand and he said the name we were thinking of was personal revelation from the Holy Ghost and we could be the only ones who could help this person. It was cool how he was so bold and really stressed the importance to share, even if it might not seem convenient.

Like i said before, small choices will make the biggest difference. Earlier in his life, President Bowen invited the Jones family (less active) to their family's home evening and was later on able to watch them sealed for eternity in the temple. A few years later the Jones' young son passed away and President Bowen was the first to call and remind KC Jones that he would see his son in the next life. A few years later, President Bowen's young kid passed away after inhaling chalk. Sure enough the first one to call was KC Jones with the same message that was given to him a few years earlier. On top of that later on President Bowen was the sealer for one of the Jones kid's wedding. He wasn't even born yet when their family was first invited to FHE. What comes around goes around. I prayed for small things i can change to become more effective in His hands and I have a few good ideas now. Hopefully i'll act! I invite you all to do the same! I also invite you to somehow share the gospel, even if it's in a small way.

I love my mission. I love the gospel. I know it is true. Have a good week!

Love Elder Reber

PS thanks everyone for the Christmas cards and letters! I got those this week:) You're all studs.

I love that Parker thinks eating at McDonalds is picture worthy!

A little piece of heaven for Elder Reber- Hot Donalds:)

Manila Temple

Elder Jervoso should have let Park stand farther down the hill-haha

This hand signal is a bit like a thumbs up around here

Another "thumbs up" pic 

This is Elder Luke Roberts. Rick and I went to school with not only his mom but his aunt and uncle as well. Elder Roberts is now a zone leader for Parker and they got to spend lots of time together this week. 

Looks like Park has been lifting weights! Check out those biceps!

Monday, January 16, 2017


Hey hey,

Got to witness my first "fiesta" this week and it was super insane. It was just as nuts as New Years Eve haha! Every street has ribbons, little flags, etc hanging above them to represent their barungay and to celebrate fiesta. Lots of colors it's pretty cool. But anyways HUGE groups of people gathered to play drums and dance all week. Saturday and Sunday were the actual fiesta days and there were tons of parades, music, fireworks, decorations, and just tons of people. It was a packed house this week. Crazy living in the most densely populated spot in the world. Hard to explain it. Sunday night there was a huge stage set up in the middle of the street for a comedian/magician and hundreds of Filipinos were watching. Of course as I walked by he called me out and everyone started laughing haha. People here are super energetic and fun it's been good for me to learn to always smile and be energetic even when you've gotta force it a little. Up to us to be happy or sad, no matter what the situation. Our work suffered a little this week because everyone was always busy but it was a fun week.

So there's a crazy homeless guy who lives across the street from us who likes to talk to us sometimes. But when I say crazy I mean he's actually crazy like looking around quickly and swatting around like bees are attacking him. To try to earn money he literally digs through trash all day and collects pieces of metal and bottles. Our apartment decided to start collecting all of our bottles instead of throwing them and made a huge stack. We had him come over and gave all of the bottles to him and he was SO HAPPY. It was cool to see. It's crazy how I'm learning to not even waste a soda bottle here. Super thankful for my life, we're very blessed.

Rovie Perez and Rose Marie Santos are still on track to be baptized on the 28th! Both really good examples and have lots of faith. Rovie went with some friends to lunch and they all got coffee and asked her why she wouldn't order one. It was cool to hear she stood up for the church and was able to explain the Word of Wisdom a little bit. Rose Marie talked to me after a lesson with them how earlier she had no interest but when she saw the "fruits of the gospel" for her husband Danny, she knew that something really was different about our church. She talked about how he would read the Book of Mormon nonstop, stopped coffee, alcohol, became a lot nicer all the time, etc. It's been cool to see the same thing happen to her now too! She used to drink 6 cups of coffee a day and has since totally stopped and is super happy about it. It's cool to see the Lord work quietly yet super powerfully if I pay attention. I normally miss the little miracles daily so it's been on my mind lately to try and always look for God's helping hand as much as possible.

We found a new family this week! We talked to a 16 year old named Lowell a few weeks ago and finally ended up getting to share with him and his family. Their house is about as small as it gets but the first thing Lowell said was basically "Sorry our house is a little small, but we're super happy to live here and there's lots of love here." He's the nicest kid honestly. They're strong Born Again Christian and all of their kids go to a Born Again school. Lowell knows bible verses way better than I do! They had tons of questions but it was cool to know that this gospel has all of the answers. They were a little hesitant about prophets after Jesus Christ but they told us to return and teach them again. I'm excited to see how it goes!

The ward has a temple trip this Wednesday and lots of our recent converts will be going! We've been working on family history with all of them and lots of them have names which is pretty exciting. Sister Fatima (the one who was married also) has i think 9 names printed. Good stuff. 

Lovin it here in the Philippines. We found out Danny Santos will be getting the Melchizedek Priesthood soon! That guy is just awesome. I love going into their little house, it's my favorite spot here in Tondo. He's reading the Bible now and is in Samuel I think, he reads for at least one hour a day it's sweet. He always picks up chairs after meetings and shakes people's hands before sacrament starts. Since we first met him he's saved money to buy some good looking church shirts, pants, ties, shoes, etc. We're still learning how to tie the tie haha, he always has me tie them for him if he gets a new one. Hopefully before I leave we'll have that down solid. The gospel really does change people. I thought I was thankful for it earlier in my life but my mission has shown me how important it really is. 

Love ya all! Elder Reber

Looks like Parker found another "Joe" like him!


We got to meet this great man during Parkers Christmas call !

So grateful for those that are taking such good care of Parker filling his stomach!
Mera and her girls.

Parker gave the tree we sent to our good friend Mera. She has since decorated it with great pics of her family and friends. Exactly what we had intended it for. She is wonderful and we appreciate all she has done for the missionaries!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Santos seems to be the lucky name

Hello everyone,

Fast week here! We made lots of progress in our area this week, especially with less actives and recent converts. We had 9 less actives at church which is the most I've had on my mission this far! We're thankful that God is helping these people remember how great the gospel is and why it's so important for them! We're just His instruments and He will do what He needs if we're always obedient and doin our best. 

Tuesday we had a cool experience. We were finding over in an area but didn't have a third lalaki so had a hard time teaching lessons. We were right by Alfred's house, the 20 year old member who works with us basically every day. So we decided to see if he was there since he didn't answer our text. Alfred is the only member of his fam, was baptized last year, and is preparing to serve a mission. He's an awesome example to me, like I've said before I'm impressed he's willing to work with us as much as he does. He's probably one of the shyest people I've ever met but he's super nice! We got there and found out he was just sleeping but he said he could work with us after he got dressed and stuff. As we waited we talked to his mom for awhile, about why we're on missions and how it has helped us in our lives as well as the people we serve. She started asking a few questions and before I knew it we had sung a hymn, said a prayer, and were starting to teach the Plan of Salvation. It was a cool lesson and my companion was able to share his sweet life story how he's the only member of his family, how he had a deadly disease earlier in life, how a typhoon hit his home, etc. Super awesome and powerful. This whole time Alfred was upstairs I think because he was nervous we were sharing to his mom! Haha i would be too tho. But he walked down the stairs just in time to watch us extend a baptism invitation to his mom and to hear his mom say yes! It was literally perfect timing. She wasn't at church Sunday however but we're going to return to try and teach her again tomorrow.

Our other investigators keep progressing towards baptism. Our main investigators as of now are Rovie Perez and Rose Marie Santos, Danny's wife. They're both strong and it's cool to see the spirit testify the truthfulness. As a missionary sometimes not every lesson is exactly perfect haha, I'm glad that God can help them understand and feel the truth through us missionaries, even with our many mistakes and weaknesses. Rovie actually was referred to us after one of her friends from school had the courage to share the gospel to her. Even though she's the only one in her fam interested her faith is strong. It just reminds me to always share the gospel, even in small ways. We don't need to give someone a perfect sermon in order to convert them, we can share the gospel simply and from the heart. We just need to pray for courage that we'll act on those promptings to help others learn the truth! Sometimes, like Uchtdorf said in conf, we forget how great the gospel really is. After having something for a long time we tend to take it for granted whether it be a phone, family, the gospel, literally anything. So hopefully we will always remember why the gospel is so important for us and count our blessings. That's the happy way to live life haha.

One other progressing family right now is the Santos family. This is a different Santos family than Danny and Rose Marie (Santos seems to be the lucky name.) Their names are Vincent and April, they're in their late twenties, and they have a super nice little boy. We've been teaching them for awhile and they're SO NICE. They try to feed us every time we go there haha and they can't believe we've left our homes for two years to serve haha. Vincent is in JACOB in the Book of Mormon already and reads all of the pamphlets we give him. April is a member of Iglesia ni Cristo so hasn't quite accepted everything yet, although she likes to listen and asks difficult questions at times haha. But anyways they said they'd be at church but couldn't make it yesterday. We had an appointment last night at 7 and got bishop to come with us! We showed up and Vincent was out front chuggin some beer and smokin a nice cig with some friends! Haha he was soo embarrassed but immediately said "pasok!" which means we can enter their home. Sure enough the next lesson for them was Word of Wisdom and we had a great lesson. Bishop always goes off when he's with us and knows exactly what to say it's awesome. We were able to talk about the other Santos family and how they were able to overcome all of the things we're commanded to avoid. God doesn't give us trials we can't overcome. They both committed to live it and to try their best to change. They understood the blessings that can come from living it. If they're at church this week i'll try to get a pic with them!

Went on exchanges with Elder Panugao on Thursday. He cracks me up haha. He literally thinks he's Kobe Bryant. I'm not a fan so I've given him crap about it since we both got here in Tondo. Every morning for exercise he does the exact same stretching routine as Kobe it's super funny! Basically all he says in english is "wow! super great!" "wow! super clean" "give me money give me money!" Their area has been struggling but we were able to find some new investigators. We also found a less active he didn't know was in their area who hasn't been to church for over 15 years. He told us of all the trials in his life and we were able to share about why we have trials here in life- a pretty common subject for us here in 
the Philippines.

I'm happy to be here in the mish. Times are good and I really enjoy this area. We had a solid piano lesson Saturday and got 3 new investigators off of it. Two of them actually went to church the next day! I taught gospel principles yesterday and of course we happened to have a full class haha. Also earlier this week I looked in the mirror and noticed my right shoulder is literally two inches lower than my left shoulder from holding my bag all day every day! Ha crap I'm starting to shift back and forth so hopefully it will even out again. 

Glad to be a missionary! Couldn't be doing anything better in life right now. Mahal ko po kayo!

Elder Reber
Elder Jervoso and Elder Reber

Elder Jervoso, Elder Reber and Elder Sumaoang

This mall looks so festive- wish I knew the story behind it :)

Fun Decorations

I feel like Parker is overlooking City Creek-guess not

We love Mera and her darling girls. She is so good to the missionaries!

I love all of the color they have in their homes. Such a happy picture!

So grateful for those that are surrounding my favorite Elder with support and love!
Park will always love a good sunset!