Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mission Maps

Hi everyone,

Things continue to go well here in Makati!

We’ve been super super busy in the office and haven’t gotten out to work as much. We’re making area maps with two zone leaders for every area in the mission. They will be printed onto big tarps and will be hung in apartments! They’re really nice and will be pretty helpful especially for those fresh-starting an area. It’s taken lots of time though. I’m not really too involved with that project but my companion has done a lot with it. I’ve got other things that keep coming up haha. I guess I haven’t really done the best job explaining what I do! So here are some random things  so you’ll maybe have a better idea- phones for the mission, insurance and anything to do with the cars in the mission, temple scheduling, interview day schedules, English Language tests for Filipinos when they’re about to finish their missions, referrals, ordering pizza or food for different meetings, helping Filipino families send money to their missionaries, plan how to get missionaries their things they left at their old house, moving furniture or supplies to different apartments, conversion indicator reports, keeping track of what time different churches have sacrament and other meetings, missionary calendar, birthday emails, updating contacts and information for missionaries, sending out teaching material for missionary training classes, apartment and address info, transfer board (shows where all missionaries are and how long they’ve been there), transfer day planning, etc. Those are just kinda some of the main things I guess!

But anyways it’s hard for me if we get stuck in the office too much haha. We got out last night and were just going house to house trying to find new investigators. Lots of nice people who wanted to talk but not really interested in the message and wouldn’t let us in. As we were out we got a call from the assistants and we had to drive back to the office when I felt like we had just finally gotten out haha. I was just like COME ON haha that happened basically every time we were in our area this week! It’s alright though, we’ve seen some great miracles in the time that we have had in the area! I’m learning that Heavenly Father knows our situation and will bless us with success in our area if we remain diligent as missionaries. I’ve found myself wondering how our area will ever catch fire, but I’m sure things will all work out if we keep pressing forward.

Eric is still the only person we have set appointments as of now haha. He’s still doing great and it’s so fun teaching him. He’s still bein funny about coming to church. It’s hard because he reads a ton and he knows he needs to change but he’s worried about going to church. We’ve been trying to find his concern but it hasn’t come up yet. He keeps saying that he joined his last church without knowing much and it came back to bite him. He wants to really really make sure he knows this is true and wants to have a super good knowledge of what he might be committing to. We shared again about faith and how we won’t have a perfect knowledge before doing something that might be hard. No faith would be required if we aren’t stepping a little bit into the dark!

I’ve really learned that blessings truly do come AFTER our trial of faith. The children of Israel needed to cross the Red Sea. They stood outside near the banks waiting for the sea to part, but it actually didn’t do so until they started getting into the water! Joseph’s prayer in the sacred grove wasn’t answered right away by being visited by God and Jesus Christ. Joseph said he had scarcely begun his prayer when he felt a power of astonishing influence come over him. Thick darkness gathered around him. But he exerted all his powers to call upon God to deliver him out of the power of this enemy, and as he did so a pillar of light descended gradually until it rested upon him. At the moment of the light’s appearance, he found himself delivered from the power that had held him back. The first step is always a little hard, but blessings will always come.

Something cool though this week was reading Elder Holland’s BYU talk “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence.” Instead of talking about the trial of faith before success, he talked about a trial of your faith AFTER a spiritual experience. He uses the example of Moses on a mountain where “he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon him.” He eventually beheld all every particle of the earth and also the inhabitants thereof. After maybe one of the greatest revelations that we know of, Satan appeared and shouted equal portions of anger. Even to the point to where Moses feared exceedingly. But by calling upon God (the same phrase Joseph Smith used) he was strengthened and overcame the trial that was given to him. He talks a lot about us having great spiritual moments but how opposition will always eventually come. He said we need to find the embers of our past and remember those, but to forget the ashes. Rather than always longing to be in the past again, we need to just take what we learned and remember it then have faith that God has an even future in store!

I know that we will have lots of good experiences as well as lots of trying ones. They will help us grow and it’s why we’re here on earth in the first place. I always remember that God is on our side and all things are possible through Him. The Holy Ghost will help us face our fears and overcome doubts. As we focus on the blessings and don’t compare our lives will be super awesome.

Everyone have a super great week. Choose the right. That’s all from me!

Love Elder Reber
I spy with my little eye....Parker!!! He talks about this map project- they look great! This picture came from the mission blog. I had to go on a search as Park didn't send any pics this week. Another highlight of this pic is a favorite area he served in, Tondo!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nephi's Example


Another good week! Remember that less active we found last Sunday night? We were able to teach her and her husband three times this week! They’re 21 and 20 and super nice. AJ, the less active, has been looking for the church here but has been a little nervous to return. Her husband Christian has really good questions about why there are so many religions and how he can know if Joseph Smith is really a true prophet. He’s been confused his whole life why so many religions claim to be true.

Saturday night I think was the lesson that stood out the most to me with them. AJ was talking about how she wishes she could be baptized again haha! She was wondering if God would still accept her. Her whole life as a member she didn’t really understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his love and grace for her. It was such a cool experience to help her realize that she could be forgiven from ALL things. We shared one of my favorite scriptures with her. It’s in 3 Nephi 9:13-14. It says, “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” We went on to talk about the sacrament as well and how we can basically be “baptized” every week. I’ve learned a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ on my mission. He is waiting for us to come unto Him. His arm is always extended no matter where we’re at in our lives! I’ve always kinda wondered if I’m doing enough or if He is happy with how I’m doin here on earth. I know that He wants us to return to Him and He’s on our side. He knows us individually and hopes we will accept His gift and become more like Him. In the next life I feel He will be asking us to come live with Him rather than strictly pointing out all the things we didn’t do right. If we do our part and learn to love living the gospel then we will become a person who will be comfortable living with Him, rather than wanting to run away!

We had another dinner at the Pimentel home. We got there right as they were ending their call with their son Elder Pimentel so it was fun to meet him real quick! They’re the family who feeds you until you want to die. Every time I took a sip of juice she would take my cup and fill it back to the brim haha! I literally couldn’t walk after it was a miracle I got to our next appointment without throwin up.

We’ve had some CRAZY oym’s this week. The mission office is right here in the city but our area is on the outskirts in the “squatters.” It’s not quite like Tondo though haha. That place is the best! But since we’re both white we just walk around and have a blast trying to get into people’s houses. We call it “white power.” A few weeks ago we stopped by a tindahan to buy some fruit soda. Every missionary here in the Manila buys fruit soda because they’re all over the place here. Plus it’s dang delish. Everyone also knows that a fruit soda is 8 pesos. We went to a new spot and the little nanay said it “pitong peso na lang, kasi pogi kayo!” She gave us points for being handsome and only made us pay 7 pesos! We gave her a pamphlet and she started reading! Now we stop by every once in a while and grab a quick fruit soda and save a peso every time! We want to teach her but she always says she’s busy running her store. Oh well. I think one of these days our funny friendship of fruit soda may lead to some lessons. Another story is we met a tatay the other day and he started singing a sweet song to us haha. He was drunk. He then asked Elder Webster if he would give him a kiss and Elder Webster said nope. I was making fun of Elder Webster for awhile after that haha.

Eric Encarnacion is doin really good! We taught to good lessons to him this week although he’s still a little scared to go to church. He knows it’s what he needs to do and he said to just not give up on him. He’s been reading a ton in pamphlets and the Book of Mormon! We asked him how his reading in the lesson 3 pamphlet was and he said “scary!!” I asked him if he thinks it’s from God and he said “of course!” The spirit has testified to him a lot now that all of this is true- he’s just a little scared to show his faith. Mainly he doesn’t want to give up drinking yet. But we’ve been able to help him read the Book of Mormon and APPLY it to his life rather than just reading to learn more about religious history. It was super cool because he said “I tried to apply the things I read to my life this time!” I asked, “well what did you do?” At first he was embarrassed to tell us but then he finally said after laughing “I pretend that I’m Nephi.” We were like “that’s so cool!!” We were able to talk about how he can be more like Nephi. Nephi was blessed because he was always obedient. No matter how hard it might’ve been, he still chose the harder right. We talked about how he always was blessed after he showed his faith. How he was able to get the plates, how the liahona would work for him, how he got food for his family by making another bow, and how he even built a huge boat! He couldn’t have done these things without God. Most of his family was murmuring and they weren’t able to do the things Nephi did. He said, “wow I’m being a lot like Laman and Lemuel, I complain too much and I’m afraid to show my faith!” I’m thankful for the example of Nephi. I think that was the first time in my life too that his example hit me really strong. I decided I was going to be more like him too. Because of Eric, I’ve been realizing I myself need to apply examples in the Book of Mormon in my life. It was a cool lesson!

P day Elder Webster and I spent the whole day doing family history. Our mission has a zone conference coming up centered on it so we all have to fill out our My Family booklets the best we can. It was super fun! I printed out tons of pictures of my fam and of my ancestors and I just really felt thankful the whole time. I’m thankful for what my ancestors sacrificed. Lots of them didn’t see the blessings of their work but I definitely am in my own good life. I invite all of you to find a story about an ancestor this week! As I read, it made me feel like I can do tough things and see miracles just like people I’m related to did!
I’m just really thankful to be here! Hope you all have a great week.
Love Elder Reber

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my awesome mom! Being in the mission has made me even more grateful for all that you do! I've learned that not many people at all are blessed with a mom like mine :) I'm really blessed and sometimes I wonder why my life is so lucky haha. Also, happy mother's day to all of my other moms out there haha! I'm lucky to have so many great examples in my life.

This week was good. I got super busy because the Assistants said in an email in the mission "If any of you can't contact your family to coordinate the Mother's Day call or if you have any questions, contact Elder Reber." The second they clicked send my week was never going to be the same haha. I actually had some really great experiences helping the missionaries line up a mother's day call. About 20 missionaries needed me try to contact their families for them. I would first try to call their parents but normally a random person would answer because numbers change so much here and nobody updates us when they get a new number. I then move on to their bishop or branch president. I also called a few stake/district presidents too haha! The interesting part though was lots of these missionaries are from small provinces in the Philippines where they speak different dialects! I talked to people who speak Cebuano, Illocano, and Hiligaynon. There were so many funny experiences haha! It was fun trying our best to communicate and finding a solution to the problem. Lots of families answered and were sooo excited to hear from someone trying to line up a call. A few people here have no internet so they can't email their missionaries. I found lots of joy though as I did all of this! I don't know why but it's just something I feel like I won't forget.

Every morning we eat at 7 11 because it's really close to the office. Elder Webster has been in this area for 11 months now so everyone there knows him super good. He orders "menudo" every time and has done so since he's first gotten here. Every time we walk in every worker yells "Menudo!!" it's really really funny haha. It's always packed with people in there too so everyone looks at us two skinny white americanos walkin in probably thinking we're pretty weird. Haha people here are awesome!

We got a new car this week! Elder Webster decided to crash at the perfect time haha. We have the same car tho- just the newer version. People are giving us a little more respect on the road now though which is nice haha. If you drive a nice car here you won't get cut off quite as bad so it's a nice little blessing. I walked in the office the first morning and told Elder Jacobsen (senior missionary) "you should've seen us out on the roads this morning! We're stylin now!" He quickly reminded me we're driving a van haha.

We taught Eric twice this week. He's in 1 Nephi 14 now and he reads everything 3 times so he can understand it all haha. I try to tell him I can't even understand all of it yet and we can study our whole lives and continue to learn new things but he won't take it. His understanding though is actually really good and he asks tons of questions every time! He's still waiting for an answer though before he wants to go to church. He really doesn't like leaving his house and actually hasn't left their barungay yet this year. We asked what he's expecting for an answer and he said, "I'm not telling you because then you'll do it!" Haha he's pretty funny but at the same time really wants to know it's all true.

Last night we were about to head home when out of nowhere someone runs up to us and starts crying! She's been looking for missionaries for months I guess. She and her family was baptized years ago in Cavite and she moved here to Makati with her husband. Her husband isn't a member and isn't the best guy haha. She's 21 and now doesn't have communication with her family because they're disappointed she married that guy. Apparently she was planning on serving a mission but made a few choices that really made her life tough. She lead us to her house which in a tiny cement room after almost crawling through little alley ways. Her husband and his friend were in there and the place was filled with smoke. It was sooo hot in there. I really felt the spirit really strong after we met her- God literally put her right in her path. She said she watched walk from a distance and felt scared but knew she needed to come get our attention. We were praying for a miracle that day and we were definitely blessed to see one!

I know that this church is true! I see little things every day that really testify to me that this is all real. I know that missionary work is very important and we need to always pray for opportunities to help God's children. He knows each of us and wants the best for us. I know as we follow his commandments He will bless us more than we can comprehend.

Love you all!

Elder Reber

This video of the end of our phone call only works on a computer :)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Car Crash!!

Haha mom I probably just freaked you out with my email subject. Sorry had to do it :) Don’t worry though we’re all good! So driving here is just insane and Elder Webster didn’t see this person cut in front super fast and he ran right into her. It was some business lady who got out and started absolutely wrecking us. It was hilarious because we’re missionaries so we were just like smiling and apologizing. One funny thing though- when we get pulled over or in a crash we’re actually told to pretend to not know Tagalog. Especially when we get pulled over.. Apparently the cops will kinda get tripped up with their English and will get nervous to take your license away. They don’t give tickets here- they just take away your license and you have to go retrieve it haha. Anyways this lady was pretty good at English but it was hilarious listening to her on the phone totally taking shots at us thinking we had no idea what she was saying as she switched over to Tagalog. She said a million times to the cops that we shouldn’t be driving here in their country. Anyways tho the cop that showed up was totally hilarious. Elder Webster forgot his license at home and the lady was like “oh of course he forgot it!” (in tagalog). But the police guy just told her to quiet down then pulled out 10 licenses of random people from his back pocket and said to Elder Webster “Go fish!!” Haha the lady didn’t like that. He then walked us away from her because she was starting to freak at Elder Webster again. When we got away from her he said “yeahh she has three mouths. Yanno sometimes ladies just keep talkin talkin. Don’t worry though, there are three of us and only two of them (her husband came to the scene.) I know it was her fault!” Haha I was just laughin pretty good.. He was totally on our team! It wasn’t even her fault either honestly haha it was ours. Why was he on our team you may ask? He went on to said “By the way Elder Webster, maalaala mo ba ako? Tunay na Filipino ako!” (Do you remember me? I’m the real Filipino!) He goes on to pull out his ID and we then see his name is none other than.. Filipino! Haha whatta stud. Apparently Elder Webster had talked to him on the streets a few months ago haha. He went from trying his best to speak English to us to just speaking tagalog. He said, “I know you guys speak our language, but I like your plan. Keep speaking English to that lady and you’ll be good.” Haha you never know, maybe just being nice to someone will really help you later on in life!

So this week was transfer week. It was totally crazy! Hard to really describe everything that happened. I’ll try to give it a quick run-through though. Tuesday was the last day for the missionaries “dying” this transfer. We got to go pick up one of the Sister’s mom from a hotel and videod them seeing each other for the first time in 18 months! We then took the “skyway” and took tons of luggage over to the hotel by the airport. That was my first time driving super fast in a long time. We were busy with tons of planning and preparing for transfer day which was the next day then that night got to drive the missionaries for their last stretch of their missions. I’ll really miss Elder Jervoso (my second companion) and the assistant Elder Billariña. I got pretty close with Elder Billariña here in my small time working in the office. Im really thankful for the good examples here in my mission and for the things I learn from all of them. Got home at 11:50 and woke up the next morning at 4:30. Ahh!

Wednesday we went straight to the mtc and picked up new missionaries. I feel like yesterday that was happening to me it was super weird! New missionaries are always super excited and coming off a lot of spiritual moments in the mtc. They bring a fun spirit to the mission. We then found out on the busiest day of the transfer Sister Jacobson had an unexpected death in the family! She and President Jacobson are in the office with us (btw elder ahn transferred.) I was able to take part in a blessing for her in the middle of the chaos. I’m soo thankful for the Priesthood! We drove tons of missionaries to different spots for training, meetings, etc.

After things started to cool down it was time for us to make a legendary mattress run. We were in the car driving from around 4 until 10. Traffic was insane! We hadn’t eaten all day but it was cool to see the Lord was looking out for us in small ways. One mission couple gave us a bag of candy as we grabbed a mattress from them and my old zone leader Elder Roberts said “Don’t think you guys can stop here in Sta. Cruz without getting some donuts!” He pulled out two donuts from his bag haha. We got to drop off mattresses in my first area which was super fun. Driving to different missionariy houses was super tough because of the tiny streets here. They’re called eskinitas, people riding jeepneys had to put their elbows in because we were so close. My companion got out to guide me and said a piece of grass would’ve gotten stuck in between my wheel and the curb at some spots haha!

Saturday on P day I cooked the Top Ramen that was sent! Elder Webster and I had to run and do stuff earlier and we had Stake Conference at 4 so our P day was about 2 hours. After groceries and doing laundry I thought just cookin up some nice Top Ramen would make my day complete. As I started cooking Elder Webster woke up from his sleep and started looking around super violently. Then next thing I know Elder Allred is walking in the room too. They both FREAKED OUT when they saw the Top Ramen package it was hilarious. +So thanks mom for makin our lives awesome here!

This week was pretty wild for us and we only got into our area twice the whole week. Yesterday was the second time and we started from 3 oclock until it was time to be home. We had no appointments so we just talked to everyone and ended up with no lessons! There’s a Catholic holiday going on right now so we kinda had a hard time ha. Success always takes time and work though, in life we need to be patient and remember the Lord’s timetable for us and others. In Stake Conference one thing that hit me was when our mission president said, “We need to learn to change for the better NOW. Don’t wait until tomorrow, NOW is the time!” I was thinking of things I could do right now in my life in order to be a little better. It was cool as I pondered this I had a few ideas come to me. Not crazy big things, but just small things that I know can make things better. I know that the Holy Ghost is real and that it plays a very important role in our lives. He will always give us answers and guide us through this life. I’ve relied a ton on the Holy Ghost in my mission and nothing would happen if it was just me trying to teach the people here. Another cool thing this week. There is a missionary waiting for her Visa from Parañaque which is an area in our mission. While she waits for her visa she is assigned here in the manila mission. We thought for sure President would put her as far away from her house as possible, but to our surprise he announced she’d be serving in the Parañaque 3rd ward! The closest area that a trainer was at. It would like me serving in the Sego Lily ward haha (or whatever ward is in our building now)! Same stake, same building, just a different ward. I’ve learned that sometimes the Holy Ghost gives us promptings that seem inconvenient. I’m sure it was hard for President Ostler to follow that prompting but there must be a reason Sister Portez is where she is!

Thank you all for your support!
Love, Elder Reber