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
|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!"|