Monday, June 5, 2017

Zone Conferences


This week was filled with lots of little miracles! We had zone conferences which is a super busy time for my companion. I end up having to help him cover lots of stuff so I get behind too haha. It’s just a crazy week as far as office stuff. One of the nights we were up with the assistants doing stuff until about 10:45 haha. It’s not against the rules for us to be late if our reason makes sense. But we tried to make the most of all the opportunities we had to talk to people. Tuesday we were going to different stores buying all of their cardboard, pins, glue, etc for the new maps that were handed out in zone conferences. After 3 stores we had all we needed! But one of the stores I was waiting for Elder Webster to buy all the stuff so I started talking with a security guard. Turns out he wants to share messages about God to those around him. I guess he’s actually been looking for a way to share and he’s been wanting to talk to missionaries like us. We talked about what we believe in and some things that make this church different. By the end he said he wanted to work with missionaries!! Too bad he’s in a different area haha but they went and visited him last Saturday. Hopefully he accepts the message. It was kinda small but it was cool to see God put someone in our path. It’s just important for us to always have courage to talk to everyone around us!

Wednesday we were able to sit down and be a part of zone conference. It was a great conference! The focus was family history and how we can better use it in the work. President helped me really realize how important missionary work is. He reminded us that we as missionaries aren’t alone. There have been millions before us who have also sacrificed a little for the gospel’s sake. We, just like them, are capable of overcoming any challenge that might come our way. Our ancestors and our future children pray for us every day. Not only that, our investigators’ ancestors and possible future children are doing the same! Not to mention the millions of prayers from members, prophets, families, friends, and others on this side of the veil. It was a cool reminder. I realized that all of us here on earth are in the middle. There are so many that have come before us and so many to come that rely on how we decide to live our lives. If we are faithful while here on earth, thousands who follow us may benefit and see blessings in their lives as a result. If we are diligent in family history work, we can show our gratitude to those who came before us and suffered for our blessed lives. In my head I imagine us standing in the middle of a huge football stadium with lots of people cheering us on. Just one baptism could affect so many people now that I’ve stepped back and thought of it more. Sometimes we forget how important our time here on earth is!

Thursday we went to MLC. My companion Elder Webster taught a class about BCR’s (baptism confirmation record) and totally roasted everyone there haha. He’s a super funny guy. He has dealt with BCR problems for quite some time now.. he even has dreams of putting them into the system haha. He talked about how other missions are probably getting more new missionaries because they fill out their BCRs correctly and as a result, it looks like they’re getting new baptisms. A person can be baptized but isn’t actually a member until his/her record is put in the church. Funny way to think of it haha! I’ve realized taking time to do things correctly and being organized really will save lots of time. Something I wasn’t super awesome at before my mission I feel like haha. Still workin on it too ;)

I also talked with Elder Niutupuivaha, my last zone leader and “kabahay.” He told me Gerry is being baptized!! I don’t know if you remember him, but we met him two weeks before I left Palawan. I was so pumped hearing the news!!

Another funny miracle was at Burger King! They have one here kinda by the office, it’s the best! We sat down at our table and I looked over and caught eye contact with this guy at the table next to us. I said “kamusta!” and he responded in broken English “hi elder! Where are you from?” I said “taga Utah kami!” He then jumped in and told us how his life was saved by a tall white guy from Utah when he was younger. “I was Mormon awhile back.” In my head I was thinking.. come on man you’re still Mormon! Anyways apparently he was suicidal but a Mormon missionary came right in time and helped him find hope. He now hasn’t been to church for three years. I decided to ask where he was from so I asked him in Tagalog. He then said “what?” so I repeated. He didn’t understand two more times then he looked over at his wife kinda frazzled. His wife bursted out laughing super hard. The man was JAPANESE! I had no idea hahaha. I’ve never had that happen to me in the mission yet, it was really embarrassing! Even though it wasn’t my best OYM in my life, we were still able to encourage a less active to return to church. He kinda avoided giving us his address or number which was too bad but it was again cool to see an opportunity come to lift someone up.

Last little cool experience. We were heading to a new potential investigator’s house. We had met him earlier in the week. Elder Webster has the area perfectly memorized since he’s been here nearly a year. But we accidentally went straight instead of turning onto a little road. We then walked another minute or so and he said, “wait, why did we keep going straight?” As we went to turn around I saw a big pile of gravel to the side of the street. I realized it was an area we had been to once a few weeks ago. Somehow I remembered that it was close to an old family they used to try to teach months ago. I said “wait that one family lives around here right? Let’s go stop by.” This family had started hiding in the past and just wasn’t really all that interested. We went over by their small cement room and sure enough the dad, mom, and both their kids were there! They let us right in (which had never happened so easily!) We found out that the mom and one of the kids had just returned a few days ago from a vacation in a spot in my last area in Palawan! She was so excited because I knew all the little places she talked about! Apparently she was born in Santa Monica, Palawan. In a barangay we’d go to nearly every day called Siksiksan. We have an appointment this Friday to head on back!

We talked to around 200+ new people this week but didn’t get any new investigators. Even though we didn’t get any new, we got a lot of potential investigators that we will try to visit next week with the appointments they scheduled with us. I’ve just seen a lot in my mission that a person ready to hear the message comes at the end of a long day of hard work, or at the very last person you try to talk to. There might only be 1 person who is willing to listen out of a couple hundred. It’s like hundreds of cups upside down, but only one cup has candy under it. Sometimes the only way to find the candy is to flip every single cup! The same principle I feel goes with lots of things in life. Challenge yourself to go a little further and try a little more each day!
“Therefore, 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.”

Love you guys!
Elder Reber
Zone Conference

President and Sister Ostler will be leaving in a few weeks. How grateful we are for all of their hard work and especially the  love they have shown to our favorite Elder. He has had an outstanding example to learn so much from. 

One of these things is not like the other.... Notice the large pic is one with Park!

So grateful for a program where we are able to send packages that safely get to Park. Sending a little love from home is our favorite!

Parker tried to explain the heat there during our Mother's Day call. He said you just could not comprehend it without being there. Fans are definitely their friends! He just bought this new fan. It's called "tough mama" :)

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