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!
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!|
|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???|