Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Elder Bednars visit

This week all of the missionaries in our mission got to together and were able to listen to Elder Bednar and Elder Bowen along with their wives! It was sooo good. We left Thursday morning and got home on Monday morning. Not too much happened before the trip, we found some new investigators and Ceasar is still doing well. He reads the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets even though he can barely see! He's been saving up for glasses for awhile now and said he should get them this week. But it's cool how he reads, he says he always has a huge headache after like two minutes of reading because of his eyes but as he continues reading his headache goes away. It's cool seeing his faith grow as he continues to do the right things. One other thing is we have permission to do some studies outside now to save time. Our area is kinda far from the house so we had language study right by a sweet river by our investigator's house. A little hot but alot prettier than at the classic desk haha. Saves time too so it probably won't be the last time we do that! I love Palawan:)

So in the airport in Palawan we met a member who was from Quezon City but actually lives in Australia now. He's traveled like the whole world including Utah. He bought six of us missionaries lunch which was super super nice of him. It's the first time I've had a ham sandwich on my mission! On the plane ride to Manila I sat by a French guy and had a good convo with him. He had just chilled alone in Palawan for 3 months in a little hut in El Nido haha. He wasn't too interested in the message though, he refused to take a card which doesn't happen alot with Fililpinos haha. I also met a guy from Ukraine later on in Manila. It's super weird talking to foreigners.

We stayed with the Mandaluyong elders. 10 of us piled into their little house and it was a blast. I was able to go to Mcdonalds and Mang Inasal while there which will always give Elder Reber a smile. I broke my rice record at Mang Inasal haha. We were assigned to be with Elder Mitchell and Elder Jones. They're both so awesome. Elder Mitchell is one of my best friends in the mission, we had a blast teaching together. Elder Jones is from England and i just bashed him how Real Salt Lake would take down Manchester United in soccer haha. Also, Elder Cibuco my tatay was in their kabahay so it was fun to update him about Tondo and to actually be able to speak Tagalog somewhat better to him.

We had interviews friday with president. Interviews are always the best. I always can't believe how President loves so many missionaries as much as he does. It's like we know each other so well even though we've only talked a few times. I'm hoping I can learn to love people I don't know to well more and more as I continue my mission and throughout my life.

Saturday was the big day. We had a mission luncheon in the morning where I got to see EVERYONE. It was so fun. I've met some awesome people here in my mission. Elder Jervoso told me that Lheia Dela Cruz as well as some of our other investigators will be baptized in 3 weeks! Also the Santos' daughter and her whole family is taking mission discussions now. Super cool. We then got a huge mission picture with Elder Bednar and got to hear from him for a few hours. Elder Bednar is the smartest guy I've ever met it's crazy. The spirit in the meeting was awesome. It will probably be the only time in my life I'll be in the room with an apostle, a member of the 70, and a mission president. A few quick things I thought were cool: "you don't just go to the celestial kingdom for what you did, but for who you became. If you think the gospel is a hassle to live right now would you really want to live in the Celestial kingdom where everyone loves living its principles? If you keep living worthily throughout your life you will over time have no disposition to do evil or something against the will of God. The more experiences you have, the more you will be able to acheive this state." "The faith that moves mountains is the same faith that trusts His will. You won't ever see huge miracles but you must look for the small ones daily. Those are what will convert you."

My favorite though was a question one missionary asked, "what makes a person a great person?" He talked about how all of the other apostles and prophets he has worked with have absolutely no ego. They do nothing for themselves or for personal recognition. Their will is God's will and they have complete trust in Him and will do anything neccessary while in this life because they know of the blessings of God's perfect plan. He said they're better in private than they are in public. Integrity is something that not many people see, but God sure sees it. I learned I can really improve on putting away my selfish desires and give all I can to Him. It was a cool experience and I have no doubt he's an Apostle of God, just like Peter was in times of old.

The rest of the week was great. We had zone conference Monday actually so that's why i'm emailing today. Tons of meetings this week haha. Great week that I know I'll never forget my whole life. I'm super thankful for this opportunity to be a missionary! Take it easy everyone.

Love Elder Reber

This was the first time in over five years that every missionary of the Manila, Philippines Mission were able to meet together. What an amazing opportunity this was for Parker. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

He was there and he was happy!

Hello everyone!

This week was super awesome. We found lots of new investigators again
this week and we had to drop quite a few old ones. We're being patient with
everyone, but at the same time we are really trying to find those who
are ready to follow Christ. One hard thing as a missionary is knowing
if we should drop someone or keep helping them. You hear of
investigators being baptized after years, so we must really rely on
the spirit to know what to do.

One thing we're focusing on is teaching members a quick lesson aboutmissionary work then asking them to think of someone who would benefit
from the gospel. We remind them of how amazing the gospel really is,
we sometimes forget and take it for granted! We've come up with a
pretty solid lesson plan for this and it's given us lots of success!
We kinda switch stuff each lesson just depending on who we're teaching
and what we feel we should share. It's funny though, as a missionary
usually you don't have huge crazy ideas of what exactly you need to
share, it's normally small ideas that come to your mind that the
spirit gives you. As we learn to act on these promptings we gain God's
trust and he'll help us even more. Just like anything else in life,
the more you practice something the more you'll improve! But anyways
we got quite a few referrals! One of my favorite lessons was with the
Nunez family. They had lots of ideas of less actives as well as people
in the area. Since me and my comp are pretty new in the area and the
area book a little trashed we need all the help we can get in order to
work not just hard, but smart too!

The Nunez family lives up this huge dirt road in the forest kinda on a
hill. After we taught them we needed to get home and Bro Nunez (Elder
Quorum pres) offered us a ride in his jeep/explorer car! It was sweet!
We were in the back and it was the first time I've driven with a
member in the mission. It was like off roadin' haha. Good times here in

Our main investigator Caesar was acting weird earlier this week. We
went to teach him and saw him at his neighbors house. We were saying
"tao po!" at his door and we saw that he saw us then kinda hid
himself! I was like ah crap. Then the next day we went to the front of
his house and got no answer so we went around to the back of his
house. As we turned the corner we saw him running away haha! He's like
kinda old so it was funny but also frustrating since he's our main
guy! Me and my comp were a little let down. But finally later in the
week we were able to talk with him. Turns out he's had some super
super sad things happen to him the past week. SO many trials. I can't
really say any of them but it was stuff beyond anything I've seen in
my life. As a result he drunk once and that's why he ran, he didn't
want us to see him drunk. But we sat him down and had an awesome
lesson about trusting God and His absolute perfect love for Caesar. It
was a lesson i won't forget, he was in tears the whole time but God
comforted him a lot. His trials even tested my faith! How could so many
things happen to someone as nice as he is? As we left both me and my
comp were just like "wow!" Ha we were both in tears too. I'm so happy
though to have the knowledge that God loves us and has a perfect plan
for us. I finished the Doctrine and Covenants this week and it talks
a lot about the word "sacrifice." Joseph Smith had his fair share of it
haha. But he overcame ALL things and it all worked out. Jesus Christ
felt all of the pains and trials of the world. He also succeeded. I
know we can trust God no matter what happens, we can always look
positive and remember our trials are so small! We can complain or we
can press forward and look for the sunlight!

The best part of the lesson though was when Caesar said, "I'll be at
church tomorrow and every week the rest of my life. Don't pick me up,
I need to be responsible and go myself." Sure enough he was there! And
he was happy! The branch is really good at helping people feel welcome
and we planned people to sit with him. It was a cool experience seeing
him there!

This next week we get to actually fly to Manila Thursday and stay
there through Monday! Elder Bednar is coming to our mission! It will
be awesome. Every missionary in Palawan is                                                                                         flying over then flying back to Palawan four days later! I've been
doing lots of studying about learning by faith to prepare for
his visit. I read that assurance leads to evidence which leads to
action. This action will lead to more assurance. The three are
intertwined. As you continue this cycle your faith, knowledge, and who
you are will improve. You will become converted. The best way to learn
is by living what you learn. We must be doers of the word, not just
hearers. There are no shortcuts to becoming converted. We're trying to
help our investigators understand this. So many people just go to
church and listen but don't live the teachings. Our job as
missionaries is to help them reallze they must act. Giving someone a
fish will feed them one meal, but teaching someone how to fish will
feel them their whole life. I know as we continue to center our lives
on Christ, we will become more like Him and want to do more good as we
continue to have those experiences that will build our testimony.

Loving the mission! My companion works so hard:) We haven't even used the
full time given for meals since I've been with him haha! I'm thankful
for the two years I have to focus everything on the gospel and helping
others come unto Christ.

Love Elder Reber

ps I found out our ward mission leader, brother Benji, was baptized by
Sister Williams, from our stake,  I think?! He says to tell her hi haha. Also, a brother
in our ward was kabahay with my cousin Mitch in Laoag. Brother Saragosa.

No pictures this week so just found an oldie but a goodie!

Monday, February 13, 2017

I'll forever be thankful for this day

Hello everyone!! Especially to the birthday girl, my sister Paisley!! Big number 11! I love you tons and was glad to hear you had a good day!

Wow this week was awesome! Saying goodbye to Tondo was a ton harder than I thought it would be! I am so thankful for being assigned there for my first area. I will never forget the people I was able to work with while living in that area.

So on the taxi ride from Tondo to Buendia we had the best taxi driver ever!! He was super super prepared to hear the gospel. He was the nicest guy ever and we had a great discussion about the church. We asked if missionaries could visit his house and he said "yeah of course!!" We were able to give his address and name to the referral center it was really cool. He told us at the end as we got out, "I can't but think that God has sent you two to me this beautiful morning. I'll forever be thankful for this day." It was so cool! On the plane I met a guy who was maybe not quite as ready. He was a professor at PU which is like the Harvard of the Philippines. He asked about polygamy, word of wisdom, tea, everything haha! It was cool though how the spirit was able to help me know what to say.

It is SO DIFFERENT here than my first area haha. My area is in the middle of a total jungle, it's really cool. We have to take lots of "trikes" around which is killing my budget, but it's all good. I found out last week that I was going to train and be a district leader so I've been stretched a little bit for the past few days! Good opportunity to learn! But I got SOO lucky with my trainee! Elder Vinculado is the coolest guy ever! He's from Davao, Philippines. I feel like he's been in the mission for a year but he's brand new and 18 years old haha. We've been having a blast. He works so very hard. In three days we got 22 new investigators which is by far the most I've ever gotten in my mission in such a short period! Nobody was at church yesterday and not a whole ton are progressing towards baptism but I'm excited to get to work!

So my second day here we had a crazy lesson! Here in the philippines divorce is illegal. One of our investigators named Mercy was married earlier in her life but hasn't had communication with her old husband for 14 years. She now lives with an RM and they want to get married so bad but can't. For the church, if you've lived with them for five years and can't get married you can have an exception and be baptized. But Mercy doesn't qualify for this because her "asawa" has been through the temple. Basically we had to go tell them that they need to separate in order for her to be baptized. It was really sad and hard but we were both super so thankful for the Holy Ghost to help us know how to say what we needed to say. They both thought that the five year rule would apply to them and she'd be able to be baptized but it just wasn't the case in this situation. We shared Proverbs 3:5-6 which really comforted them and reminded them that they can trust in our perfect loving God.

I talked to my first American!! Haha we were walking through the middle of the forest and we found some American living in a little hut all by himself. The first thing I heard in my mission from an American human was "NOPE!!!!!" Hahaha he went on to tell us how he's Lutheran and he knows exactly who we were. As we left I just said "we're just here to help people better know Christ through the fulness of His gospel. Not trying to do anything to make your day a bad one." Haha he felt bad for kinda bashing us and took some time to get to know us just a little. When i said I'm from Utah he said "yep, that's about right. Probably right by SLC huh?" Haha I don't like Americans.

Our branch here is really strong. Lots of awesome people and they are very organized. The ward mission leader Benji is the best too. I am so excited to work with the ward and help them share the happiness that we have as members. Our sacrament room is on the second floor with no air conditioning so they just open all the windows and have tons of fans going. It's like we're in a tree house because we've got the breeze coming through the windows and all you can see is green trees outside. It's super super pretty here haha. Lots of tourists over where we get groceries, but when we get into our area it's pretty desolate. Excited for this next week! Thank you all for your support. Have a good one!

Elder Reber:)

Parker didn't send any pics this week so I am adding some I received from Mera and her friends that are so good to the missionaries in the Tondo area. Parker will miss all of the many people he was able to grow so close to during his time there.

The party planners

This is one good looking group!

Pizza and Chicken at the farewell party- yum!

We will be forever grateful to these wonderful sisters that took such great care of Elder Reber and the other missionaries!


Pancake night
Self proclaimed Pro Chef

Last Sunday in Tondo 2nd ward

This is Parker's friend Khloe. She cried when she had to say goodbye to her good friend Elder Reber. How cute is that???

This last picture is one that Rick sent to Parker. He is starting a new game. Every week, Parker will receive a new picture that Rick finds on google earth. The challenge is for Parker to find the spot and take a picture there. It may take some time for this game to work out as apparently Elders may have better things to do with their time, but we think it is fun. It is amazing to actually move down the streets on the internet. We found his new church building and once we get some pics from his end,  we will be able to stalk some more! Yes we apparently are those creepy stalker parents.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Augustus-Best/Worst Burger Place


This week was great! Looks like my last week here in Tondo. Can't believe how fast time has gone by. I'm super thankful for the people I've met here, people we've worked with, and relationships I've made. These people are awesome- my mission is the best!

So Monday was pretty hilarious. We got permission to go to Ocean Park which is the aquarium not too far away from our area. I was super pumped to go look at some nice fish. Well we took a taxi over there and came to realize it costs 600 pesos for the aquarium when we thought it was only 200 pesos. That's what a member told us anyways haha. So we ended up having a great time looking at pictures outside the aquarium of what is inside the aquarium. We also were privileged to read about the activities and things inside it was nooice. After a few minutes there we just went across the street and walked through Rizal Park to get to the train back home. Always fun to go on an adventure though! That night we had family home evening with basically the whole ward auxilliary at Nanay Lapid's house. She just moved back into the Philippines this January after living in Virginia for 40 years. She was a dentist like Richard! We had a good time there talking about faith and playing some games that I'm not good at haha.

Tuesday was zone conference! I always love going and seeing missionaries that I've met so far and getting to talk with them for awhile. One thing that stuck out to us was how President lovingly chastised us because many missionaries were late to the meeting! Manila traffic is unpredictable! But he talked about how too many were late and how the stake conferences he's been to he's noticed missionaries were always running in late for the Saturday night session. He talked about how Gordon B Hinckley would always show up early to meetings and would actually usually start a solid twenty minutes earlier than the scheduled time. It was just a good reminder of the importance of being early so we can be spiritually prepared for our meetings. It takes good planning and responsibility. But if we are always early in life it will become a habit over time. And good habits are good.
After that we talked alot about the new changes in the schedule and key indicators. One thing I love now is going out to work starting at 10, then returning when it is super hot in the afternoon to finish language and companion study! It's super fun in the mornings when lots of people are outside. Basically we have much more agency now as missionaries and God is showing His trust in us. We talked about Joseph Smith's quote "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves." I'm thankful for God's trust in me and in all of us. One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 123:16-17 which says "A very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Thererfore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." We know that the helm of a ship being shifted an inch could make a huge change in the ship's end location after several miles. God works in small ways and with small instruments. He has done this since the beginning of time. We must "cheerfully do all things that lie in our power" to be able to help His work and also to help ourselves be ready to eventually receive the blessings of eternal life. Our small habits will go a long way and really shape who we are. They will make the biggest difference in the long run. I still always like to think of how God wants to give us so many blessings but we aren't willing to give up the smallest of things maybe due to pride or lack of faith and courage. I know as we continually evaluate ourselves we'll become who He wants us to become, and we'll be a pro "helm" for His ship haha.

We did lots of finding this week and had a ton of success! We got a ton of new investigators and my favorite has to be Augustus. We were trying to contact an investigator who wasn't home and while we were outside Augustus yelled over at us and asked what we were up to. We went over to him and got to know him and talked about our purpose as missionaries. Well he was drunk that day but said he wanted us to return so we set a return appointment for two days later. Sure enough we returned and he was in the same spot waiting! Drunk again haha. But not too drunk this time. My companion started talking with his friend and I talked to Augustus. He said "I promised you I'd be here so I made sure to be here" and went on to apologize to me for drinking again. He said that he does it to help him forget his challenges in his life. His wife left for Saudi Arabia for work but he hasn't heard from her for years now. His kids and grandkids live in the province but don't visit him because they say it's too dangerous in Tondo haha. He said to me "I just want to stop drinking so bad and I want to know the purpose of life." Funny, that is exactly what we missionaries have to offer. We taught "Ang Plano ng Kaligtasan" and focused on why we're here on earth. Fast forward to Sunday and he was there at church for all three hours! Also Trisha, a 10 year old from a part member family was at church for the second time in a row with her less active mom and active 16 year old sister! We've been visiting them a few times to try and help them remember the importance of church. With the help of the good example of their daughter-the only one who went to church in their family for months- they're starting to come back! It's cool how their one daughter will make the difference for their family. Lastly on Sunday Bro Santos and Sister Santos were joined with their daughter again, her husband, and lots of their grandkids from two separate families! There was a whole row of Santos people! It was super awesome to see, their son in law now has interest in the church. Our gospel principles class was on Jesus Christ and I know that learned a lot of new and different things about Him. Our church really has such a great understanding about Him, because it is His church, and I'm thankful for the extra knowledge we get to learn being members of this church.

An awesome thing about this week: I found a new burger place that sells burgers super cheap! Worst part of the week: I found a new burger place that sells burgers super cheap! Ha so i decided I'd buy 4 burgers from this place for lunch and I ended up almost passing away that night. Literally up all night it was the worst pain I've probably been in my whole life!! We weren't able to work for four hours the next day which was the worst part. But we were eventually able to head out and visit some appointments even though i was super tired. Good times haha! The burgers actually tasted alright- I thought!

This week I've been thinking a ton about Christ's love for us. Two scriptures I really studied and liked were in 1 Nephi 11:14-17 and Luke 15:4-5. Starting in 16 of Nephi it says "And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? 17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Condescension means: going from a "high" person to a "low" person. It hit me that Christ literally was perfectly happy up in heaven. He was up with God on His throne. He went from heaven to earth. He was born in a barn, became a refugee, and was eventually tortured and beaten for doing nothing but good. Above all He suffered for our sins sa Halamanan ng Getsemani. Like Nephi, I really can't quite comprehend what He went through and the depth of his "condescension" but I think it's safe to say that He really does love us and cares for each of us. He wants the best for us and is waiting with open arms to help us. He wants to take us in, even when we fail Him so many times. In Luke we learn that He is more than willing to leave 99 sheep to go find the 1 who was lost. It doesn't matter how we get lost, whether it's because of our own poor choices or unlucky circumstances beyond our control, He wants us to return. There aren't huge qualifications for this divine help, all sheep are worthy to be rescued simply because the Good Shepherd loves us. I'm just so thankful for Christ, His example, love, and sacrifice to help us achieve all things.

It was a good week! Yesterday Alfred, the bishop's daughter Eunice, and the young women's president Sister Gay worked with us which was cool. It's always nice having those extra testimonies and personal experiences. And today Elder Jervoso and i just went and ate some pro pizza! I got a text from President last night saying I'm off to Santa Monica Palawan to finish someone's training! I'm gonna be a Tatay!! Whaaaaaat??? I'm so nervous haha. I fly over on Wednesday! I'm super excited but will miss Tondo. Lots of change coming up!
Much love! Elder Reber

This may be my new favorite mission picture!! How cute is this little guy??
Actually,  this may be my new favorite mission picture. These kids are so darling!
The outside of the aquarium- too bad they didn't get in!

These kids are the best!

Elder Reber and Mera
These sisters take such good care of the missionaries! Can't wait hear how Elder Sumaoang likes the Utah cold!
Parker felt so loved from the members here!
Tondo 2nd ward is awesome!
Elder Reber and Elder Jervoso loved their time serving together- what better to celebrate but with a "pro- pizza!"

For many years the Reber kids have made grandparents cards for birthdays and Fathers/Mothers Day. We usually use construction paper so it is fun and colorful. Graden had a flashback when I pulled the paper out and thought he might be writing a Fathers Day card - to his missionary brother! 
We sent Parker a package with a Survivor theme as it was hand delivered by Ray Goodson who graciously offered to take it with him. Thank you Ray!!! We decided that we would send what is treasured most on the Survivor show. Letters from home. We all wrote notes or even drew pictures for Parker to enjoy. In his email he wrote," I got your package! I loved all of the stuff, especially the letters! I was like in tears I was laughing so hard at the letters/pictures from Graden, Cannon, Bro and Tate. Hahahaha I forgot how funny we all were!" We are so excited that he gets to head to Palawan for his next adventure and know he will do so much good for those he comes in contact with!

We want to personally thank Bishop Altre, his family and all of the wonderful people in Tondo for all of the love and support they have shown our favorite missionary! What a great area this has been to start of his adventures in the Philippines!