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!|