Monday, March 27, 2017

Coconut tree forest

Hi everyone,

This week was filled with miracles! But first off last week we had a fun P day. We went to a place called Baker's Hill which is a big hill a few minutes from our house. Going up the hill there are tons of mansions and lots of them have security guards! It's super crazy and the view is awesome. At the top of the hill they have a big garden place along with a famous bakery. So basically we just bought cookies and walked around looking at different birds, animals, flowers, statues, art stuff, and even some nice cacti! haha.

But literally we saw so many investigators make some huge jumps. One of them being sister Angie Morata. She has been an investigator of ours for awhile but has never been to church. She has been reading the Book of Mormon a little bit though and really understands our lessons. Quick learner and always has good insights when we ask what she's learning. We were having a hard time understanding why she wouldn't go to church and what was kinda holding her back. So we both thought it would be good to really focus on the Book of Mormon. I had the simple idea to ask her if she has prayed yet to ask God if it's true. She said no! We've told her to do this before but I guess we only followed up on the reading part, not the praying as well. We asked her again to do so and when we returned Saturday night we followed up and she said she prayed. We asked how she felt as she prayed and she said as she prayed a thought came into her mind of her in white clothes! It was super cool. If I've learned anything out here it's how powerful the Book of Mormon really is. Yesterday she was at church for the first time!

Cesar had a birthday on Tuesday! We grabbed a cake at a nearby bakery and brought it with us to our lesson with him. He started crying when we came he's so nice. After we sang we asked him to make a wish and he just went into this huge prayer for his family. We're still kinda trying to help him break some habits from his last church haha. But it was actually a really cool prayer. He really wants to be baptized and follow Christ. It's been a huge roller coaster with him the past few months! Every lesson is so cool. A few days later we returned and found out he relapsed again with drinking so we taught the Atonement. He promised us right there he would never drink again. In his closing prayer he asked God to truly help him, he said he's just a man and he needed His help in order to overcome his addiction. He always thanks God in his prayer too for sending His servants to help him out. He told us also during the lesson that neighbors tell him how they notice how much he's changed ever since those guys in white shirts have started visiting him. That's the best part of being a missionary. Seeing others literally being changed by Christ's Atonement and gospel.

Friday all the missionaries got a text from President Ostler. It said "Elders and Sisters, thank you for serving the Lord faithfully. Tonight when I was praying I felt that the Lord will bless us with many more baptisms if we will pray in faith. 4 times every day have a special companionship prayer for baptisms. Promise the Lord that you will do everything in your power to baptize. Plead and ask for Him to send miracles. Then go out with faith. Open your mouth, teach with the spirit, ask for referrals. Give your 100%. I promise the Lord is waiting to bless you if you will do your part." So this week we've really been praying with more faith to receive miracles in our area. Sure enough that very morning we started the special prayers we saw tons of cool things. The first guy we talked to, the trike driver to get us over into our area was actually a less active who lives in the Sisters area. We had a super cool convo with him as he drove us to an area, especially when we asked him how he felt when he was baptized years ago. His wife hasn't been baptized yet but he said he wanted to meet with missionaries again. When we got into the area we went to the Abastas home. We haven't been to this family's house for over a month since the main progressing investigator there moved to Narra for his work. But as we stopped by we saw him there! Turns out he had just gotten home the day before and we returned there right at the perfect time! We taught Wilfred again and had a cool lesson. After that we continued up the main road to the Balena family- we had met and taught them for the first time two days earlier. They literally live in a coconut tree forest I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. As far as you can see it's just coconut trees and a few mango trees it's soo cool. When we showed up Joshua (17 years oldl) got a huge smile on his face and told us he had read the whole pamphlet we gave him! The three of us are already like best friends haha -he's the nicest kid. After we taught him and his parents he told us "alright lets go hunt for some mangos." He took us into their forest of trees and picked us some fresh mangos to go home with!

Basically tons of miracles started happening after we started praying in faith to our Father in heaven as a companionship more often. It helped me realize the importance of prayer. We had met a lady named Apolania on a multicab a few weeks ago and she started coming back to my head a ton. One morning we decided to go find her and sure enough she was ready to listen. She had also read the whole pamphlet we gave her and had lots of questions! She has 11 kids but we only taught her last lesson. Religion is very important to her and she said return back anytime!

In Alma 13:28 it says, "But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering." I challenge you all to really strive to have meaningful prayers from your heart. We show our humility and trust in God when we turn to Him first and show our faith that He can accomplish our desires for ourselves and others. He will help you through the Holy Ghost and I know you will feel His presence more in your lives.

Have a good week! Elder Reber :)

Back in the early days with Elder Carter his MTC companion in front of the Provo Temple.

We had a great day meeting Elder Lambert and his family. He gave a wonderful Homecoming address where we were able to hear fun stories of his experiences there along with sharing a wonderful testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. He left us with a challenge for young and old to get out and prepare to serve missions.  We are so grateful for Elder Lambert and the positive influence he had on Parker. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

"One thing I like is how family focused you are"

Hello friends and fam,

How’s it goin? This week was pretty good. Our house had a brown out
(no power) every night I think haha. We had to do lots of studies with
candles but the worst part is how HOT it is haha. Especially trying to
sleep. But it just makes the mission adventure more fun. Sunday we ran
out of gas for our stove but luckily we had power during the day time
so we basically just had to put tons of eggs in this tiny
microwave-type thing and cook them up for 30 minutes. My chef game is
still goin strong. Usually so far in this area we eat the same things
every day. Breakfast: eggs, hot dog, rice. Lunch: There’s a canederia
like a minute walk from our house full of super nice nanays who make
really pro food. They’re always so happy to see us haha. I eat
sinigang and rice there basically every day so they make sure they
always have some ready for me haha! That’s my favorite Filipino food.
Dinner we just eat hot dogs and eggs again or sometimes something
quick outside.

This week we had some good lessons. Lots of people are keeping
commitments-reading, praying, etc but nobody will come to church haha.
We had sister Lian Go at church yesterday which was good though. She’s
a single mom and the daughter of Judith Go and she would occasionally
just listen but was really shy. She never read so we just kept
focusing on her mom Judith. It’s funny though now because Judith is
never home and Lian is progressing better than her mom! Sometimes it’s
funny how we find people. You never know who is truly ready as a
missionary so it’s our job to offer as many people as possible an
opportunity to accept the gospel. One lesson that was kinda funny this
week was to the Morata couple. Their son was baptized awhile back and
missionaries started teaching them right before I got here. Usually we
can only visit them once a week though because they’re kinda far from
our other investigators. Anyways Nanay is the one really progressing
and Tatay just kinda listens but is nice. This week we showed up and
Tatay was super drunk haha! So we taught sister morata on their porch
area and brother was inside. He kept interrupting us though as we
tried to teach haha. The first time he walks out and says standing
before us about to fall over “I have just ONE question: Does the Lord
love us?” Haha we just answered “yes, he loves us!” He got super happy
and we just told him thanks for the great question and to go back
inside haha. About five minutes he came back out and bowed down to us
missionaries and told us that we are really nice. Ha the third time he
came back out he just yelled “we’re out of rice!!” Haha it was pretty
funny but it kinda messed up the spirit in our lesson.

We visited David, the guy from California again and had a good lesson
with him. He told us that every month he picks a family in the
neighborhood and installs a solar energy system for their house! He’s
really smart so has kinda shopped around and learned how to make his
house rely on solar energy. Since lots of the houses don’t have lights
or energy, he picks one and manually himself puts it together for them
so the kids can study at night! Super nice! We sang families can be
together forever and he went off on why he liked the song so much. He
said “one thing I like about you guys is how family focused you are.
When I visited Utah there was something EVERYONE had in their
backyard! A trampoline! But it’s because family time is very important
for you guys, and I like that.” It’s kinda hard to teach him because
every thing we say he has an insight for it. We’re hoping this week we
will get some English pamphlets we can give to him and next lesson we
are going to focus on the Restoration of Christ’s church.

I went on exchanges with our zone leader, Elder Orpilla on Saturday in
our area. I learned a ton from him, especially in lessons. He asks SO
MANY good questions and the investigators basically teach themselves.
I’ve never been with someone who has so many good questions. He also
memorizes names really fast and writes them all down in his planner so
he won’t forget. When he prays he will pray for every person by name,
even if there are 6 of them! It was cool for me to remember the
importance of always remembering names and praying for people
specifically. We had a cool experience where we were trying to find a
member’s house when we accidently knocked on their neighbors house.
Sure enough they let us in and we had a powerful lesson with them
about life before this life. We’re the only church who knows this
message because we’re the only church with the fullness of the gospel.
Who would’ve known that people who lived literally two feet from
members haven’t even really heard our message. It just reminds me not
to assume people aren’t interested or that they already know what we
believe in. My goal is to really listen and be more dialed in on
lessons this week so I can better know the situation of our

This week we did lots of finding but didn’t find a ton of people
really ready for the message. We got put in a few situations where we
got bashed and people were really against things we had to say. Had
some pretty weird situations you could say haha. It kinda made me
wonder about whether I really had the spirit while I was finding. I
felt like we have been having a hard time lately finding those who are
truly ready. Lots of people who had listened to us were actually
uninterested and I wondered why the Holy Ghost hadn’t warned me that
we would be wasting our time teaching them, that they wouldn’t
progress, or that they would just bash us. But we had a dinner at two
RM’s house, brother and sister Andres. They have one kid and are super
nice and love helping with the work. We were telling brother of a
crazy situation we were put in and he was just laughing and stuff and
sharing some stories from his mission too. He then said something that
really stuck with me though. He said “wow you know that’s really cool.
God is truly reaching out to all of his children through you two, even
those who might be the furthest from the path. He loves those type of
people just as much as us and knows that they have a chance to accept
the message once again as well.” The next morning I read in 1 Nephi
26:24 and it says “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of
the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own
life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none
that they shall not partake of his salvation.” I am thankful for
Christ’s atonement and for his love. He wants ALL men to return to
him, and I realized that never once was I “wasting” my time teaching
these people who might’ve not been interested. I realized that the
spirit led me to those very people. He laid down his life for us all.
He wants all of us to partake of his salvation. In verse 28 it goes on
to say “all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none
are forbidden.” I know that every person we come in contact with in
life is a child of God and they once accepted the plan. No matter how
far we vere off the path, Christ is constantly reaching out more than
we realize. We are all of equal importance to Him and through His
atonement we can return back to our Father in Heaven. I will always
remember that and will remember that I can always trust in the Spirit,
even when he works in small ways that I don’t always understand. All
things that happen are for the benefit of me and for others as well.

Love ya all, Elder Reber

This weeks pictures are again from the past. The theme I chose is... Elder Lambert and his selfie stick. We are so looking forward to meeting and listening to Elder Lambert at his homecoming this Sunday. He came along at the perfect time in Parkers mission and helped him so much. I am missing the weekly pictures but looking back on these ones gave me a good laugh.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Philippines Manila Mission Song

Hello po!

So I just wrote a nice email and right as I was about to send it the
crappy computer shut down and it didn’t save anything! SO I’ll try to
write this all up again.. it won’t be as good this time around tho
We had a great week here in our area! Probably a top five funniest and
surprising thing of my mission happened on Tuesday. We were walking to
one of our main investigators Sister Go when we decided we’d do a
little finding before seeing her. We walked up a new path and I looked
over and saw something I definitely wasn’t expecting. Just some white
guy sitting at the side of his nice house cooking steak! WHAT? haha It
was literally out of nowhere! But it gets better. The second I see him
he looks over, sees us, and to our surprise gets this huge smile on
his face and yells “ELDERS!! How our you two doing?? Come in come in!”
Haha I was so shocked! He came over to the gate and let us in and
asked me “are you from Utah? What part of Utah? Ahh so in between
Provo and Salt Lake right?” Sure enough this man, David, is from
Sequoia California and he was in Utah a few months ago to visit Bryce
Canyon and Zions! He’s now around 60 and retired just living a simple
life on Palawan. He got married to a filipina 10 years ago whose
husband had passed away so she was left with two babies. Basically
he’s the only dad they’ve ever known and he’s so happy to be their dad
now! He loves national parks and has been to almost every single one
in the US. Haha he started telling me how much he loves Utah and how
he’s skied at most of the resorts. Super crazy! We have lots in common
haha! The cool part is he has had really good experiences with Mormons
in the past. He once lived in Arizona by a mine and all of the workers
were laid off. Most of them were LDS and he said as they kept faithful
in paying their tithing the church was able to help support them all
during the time of need as they continued to look for new jobs. He
thought it was awesome! We as members never know when people are
watching our examples. He also has visited some Pioneer historic
sights and knows lots about them. Basically he said “come back
ANYTIME! I’ll give you guys some soda, we can talk some religion, and
you can tell me why you guys are all so nice!” Haha he’s honestly one
of the nicest guys I’ve met. David is the mannn! We will probably go
visit him tomorrow again. I’m nervous to teach in English though! It will
be so different.
We contacted tons of referrals this week. Like I said in my last
emails my companion and I have practiced a lot in companion study how
we are going to try to help members when we go to visit them for Family
home evening and stuff. We’ve had lots of super spiritual experiences
with different members in the ward. Lots of them want to help with
missionary work, they often just don’t really know where to start and
just need a little push. We went and contacted the Dequina family
which was referred to us by the Nunez family (elders quorum pres
family). The Dequina fam has 9 KIDS!! We haven’t met all of them yet
though but we had 2 good lessons with those who were at the house.
It’s hard to plan a good time to teach them when they’re all there as
a family but we’re doing our best haha. They’ve got lots of potential,
kinda like Jimmer after his years at BYU and before the NBA. Hopefully
they don’ t turn out like him though. haha.
We also went to a new area called Iwahig with a member named Mario to
contact a referral of his. It’s super pretty over there. There are
tons of farms and you have to walk quite a distance to get to each
house. But we went and taught a 19 yr old named Jason. He wanted to
know why there are so many churches that teach about Christ. We were
able to explain that to him and how Christ just established one, not
many. It was a cool lesson and bro Mario had a super cool testimony.
Friday we were heading home for lunch and studies and we helped this
Palawan State University student put her bike on the top of the
multicab. Just a simple act of service and we didn’t really think
twice about it. But on the ride she asked us all about our religion
and what it’s like bein a missionary. It was cool and we were able to
give Tuesday (her name ha) a pamphlet with our number. She texted us
later that night and said thanks again and that she had already read the
pamphlet. She told us she would be at church too but she accidentally
slept in Sunday haha. Next week though. Anyways she’s not in our area
though and the Sister missionaries will be going to her this week!
We had nobody at church Sunday which was a bummer, we had lots of hope
for lots of people and were a little surprised when nobody came! I
told my companion that we just keep working and trust in God. He can
help them have a change of heart. We just have to be patient and not
worry about it. We are his instruments and just need to do our part to
find all those who He has prepared for us at this time.
That’ about all I have time for to write! Today we had the sweetest
Pday in history. We went island hopping! Elder and Sister Walcott came
with us and we even had a buffet on one of the islands. Got lots of
solid pics but won’t be able to send any haha! Anyways, definitely
grateful for that, not often you get to island hop in Honda Bay during
your mission!

Love you all! Elder Reber
Palawan is just not picture sending friendly. So... todays pic is in honor of the snow finally melting around here!

Sister Ostler posted this video on the Philippines Missionary Moms website. She said...
After Elder Bednar's visit, we recorded the mission song. Everyone was exhausted after getting up at 4 am or so to arrive on time, then waiting and having a three hour meeting with him, which they loved and were very involved in. So it was amazing they still had some spiritual power left. They are AMAZING Elders and Sisters

Parker is the first elder in the middle section on the first row of Elders- Love seeing these great missionaries!!!

I am working on getting this video to work on a cell phone:)

Monday, March 6, 2017

When we do our best, Heavenly Father is proud


So not a whole ton happened this week but it was a good one
nonetheless. We're having a hard time getting people to church but
there has definitely been progress in our area. It's super cool as a
missionary to see the impact the message has on people as they start
to show their faith and live its precepts. It really makes the biggest
difference and gives people a broader perspective of life when they
continue making every-day choices.

So Wednesday we had a follow up meeting for all missionaries in
training. I feel like I was in their shoes yesterday haha. I still
feel like I should be the one being trained at times too;) But I
realized the things that they all worry about were things that I once
worried about, but now those things aren't really a big deal! It's
cool to see missionaries kinda adjust and change and become better
without really realizing it. At least I know I don't normally see my
growth haha. But that was a cool meeting to kinda give advice and
learn from others as well. All in all I think we must remember that if
we're doing our best Heavenly Father is more proud than we probably
give ourselves credit for. I remember being so hard on myself in
training and I've learned alot about being patient with myself and to
stop focusing on my weaknesses and just work on helping others. Doing
this makes life alot happier haha. Anyways later that night we had a
family home evening with the Rosales family. One of our focuses as a
mission now is actually finding new investigators through FHE. It's
actually really cool! In this area we've gotten lots of referrals and
will be contacting alot of them this week. Also, if we meet a family
now we actually will do a family home evening with them just right
there! We just sing, pray, teach a lesson, play a game, and give the
head of the house some time to give his family advice or say why
he/she's thankful for them. It's a simple idea but pretty effective!
We haven't done it on the spot yet with new investigators but will
hopefully find an opportunity this week. Anyways, so ya we had FHE
with the Rosales fam, they're a part member family and really cool.
The dad, Joseph works at the Iwahig prison on sundays and isn't a
member but his wife, Milfa is a less active member. She actually works
online for a lawyer in Florida haha so she's fluent in English! We
just all speak tagalog tho. They have 4 kids and two of them aren't
baptized yet and they're 8 and 12! So we had blast, especially with
playing a game where you have to say stuff without showing your teeth
ha it was way funny. We've taught them before but this time doing the
family home evening things seemed to click much better and now we're
setting a schedule to start teaching them more! It will be cool to see
if they'll progress, I know their family will be that much better if
they're centered on the gospel and going to church weekly as a fam.

We're teaching a way nice tatay named Boy and he tells us we're his
best friends every time we teach! He's super awesome he always wants
to know more about us and his hair has a sweet flow haha. He also has
a solid background about Christ and religion. We went to visit him to
teach but he had some other friends over playin cards. He stopped
playin and came over super happy and started talkin to us. One of the
guys was smoking and told him "how is he supposed to help you if he has
no idea what you're saying?!" Haha he just totally ripped one on me
and didn't think I understood. Let's be honest I don't understand all
things yet by any means but I definitely understood that one haha! I
just started talking to him in Tagalog and introduced what we do as
missionaries. It was funny cuz all the other guys started laughing at
him and he just shook his head and smiled. People here always just
start laughing when foreigner missionaries start talking to them
because most of the time they're scared of foreigners because they
don't know English and they're afraid they might ask a question. It's
fun though to see people's reactions since most of the time the
foreigners here are just tourists who aren't that nice.

Ceasar had work sunday and didn't make it to church! Him and Sister
Judith go are our two main investigators as of now. They both missed
yesterday though so their streak for church is back to zero. Tatay
Ceasar though as I said had lots of problems come up in his life but God
answered his prayers! Lots of miracles honestly! He said he knows
without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is from God. Sister Go is doing
well too! She had to watch over her grandkid on Sunday because she has
a disease and nobody else was home. But her daughter (around 30 years
old) actually came to church! In the past she has always listened to
us but has been shy when we try to involve her. Out of nowhere though
she actually kept our commitment and came to church even though her
mom didn't go! It was a cool surprise.

This week I've been thinking a little bit about a scripture I read in
D&C 25:10. It says "And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay
aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better."
I've been trying to forget myself this week and to try to focus on
what's really important. As a missionary my perspective has changed
alot and I'm trying to prepare myself to always keep my priorities
straight throughout the rest of my life. I'm thankful for this gospel,
God gave it to us to help us stay on the correct path and to find more
happiness throughout our lives. I know as you do the small things and
truly follow all of the commandments, you will be blessed and know for
yourself that these things are true.

Take care everyone! One other highlight was the branch's activity
"Santa Monica's Got Talent" on Friday night. Apparently they do it
every month! Members get to share skills they've learned (like one
showed how to format a paper on microsoft word) as well as talents
like singing and dancing. It was lots of fun and it's a great activity
for investigators to see that we're normal people too! So that was
lots of fun. Anyways, have a good one.

Love Elder Reber

No pictures again this week so throwing it back to some of the early MTC days