Monday, July 31, 2017

Las Piñas 1st

Good mornin

This week was super fun here in the Philippines! Monday and Tuesday I continued to train Elder Cram for office things and I'll just say i feel bad for him haha! There's a ton of random things he had to cram into his head (haha get it?) He'll do really great though. Tuesday was my last "departing day" in the office and it was pretty crazy. We got home at 12:30  because we had to return to the airport hotel since someone left some luggage at the office. I hadn't had any time yet to pack since we had lots of appointments the few days before. I literally threw everything into my bags and we got to bed at 1. Then 4:30 we woke up to pick up new missionaries at the mtc. As we were getting ready a departing Elder over at the airport called Elder Webster and all I heard from the other room was Elder Webster yelling "nooooooo!" haha. It was kinda an emergency so we booked it out the door in our white polos, sport shorts and flip flops. Elder Webster even had half a beard. We somehow made it to the airport, back to our house to finish getting ready, then to the mtc in time. Need for speed driving isn't really against the law here:)

I'm here in Las Pinas now!! This area is AWESOME. My companion is Elder Moster from Mendinao, Philippines. He's a funny guy haha it's been super good. Everyone in the house is filipino again so it's kinda nice to get engulfed in the language, culture, and food again. Our house is actually in a pretty nice little village I'd say it's the nicest house I've been in so far. Las Pinas is considered the nicer part of our mission- there are a lot of neighborhoods and trees. Our area however is a huge barangay in the middle of these neighborhoods that's filled with tons of people with a little tougher living conditions. It's an area set up for success I'm really excited. There have been lots of really great missionaries here in the past so I'm just trying to do my best to be a good missionary.

Before I left the office i input a referral for this area! I was excited because because i knew it would be my new area. The first day I got here we went and found her. She's a super nice older woman and met a mission President in a different mission. We're returning to her tomorrow so that will be really fun.

The Las Piñas ward is awesome. The ward mission leader is named Nephi and he really has things movin. They are super missionary focused here and I've noticed lots of people we've been teaching are part member families or neighbors of members. Saturday night we went around inviting investigators to church then going to members nearby and reminded them to stop by the investigators in the morning. Then on Sunday we follow up with the members if they were able to do their assignment. It worked super good! We had 8 at church yesterday which was the most this area has had in a few months. 4 of them were there for the first time. I'm lucky to be coming in right now haha!

It has been raining like CRAZY here the past few days. Every single day it's been pouring and our area here floods a ton! More than any of my other areas. It makes for a sweet adventure.

A highlight of this week was being able to bless the sacrament. It was my first time doing that since my first area. My view of the sacrament has really changed a lot since I've been on my mission. It's a really great time to sit and think of the Savior and what we can work on to become more like Him. I'm thankful that we can be made clean every single week. We shouldn't let anything keep us from receiving such a great blessing. I'm thankful for the Savior and his atoning sacrifice. He is the only way we can be made spotless and prepared to return to God's presence.

Have an awesome week! I love you all.
Elder Reber
Not sure how he has convinced the others to jump on board the cactus thing!

I feel like this horse needs a name- notice he is in above pic :)

Also seems to be passing along the smolder thing!

Two long and lanky Elders!

So thankful for awesome senior missionaries!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Progress in area!

Happy birthday to my mom! Couldn’t have asked for a better mom. She is the best example in my life and the most loving person I know. I hope the fam was nice for your big day.

Well…. This was a CRAZY week!!

We saw lots of miracles this week. Probably the coolest week of my mission! It’s funny because I feel like I’ve said that lots before but this one was especially special.

Monday we met a great man named Arnelle. He listened to our message of the Restoration and we had a great lesson. He shared tons of insights and said he’s been looking for our message for quite some time now. The problem was he had to leave for Saudi for 3 years on Thursday. We thought aw darn this will probably be the only visit but he told us that Tuesday night he was going to a birthday party in Quezon City, but wed night we could stop by and share again. So Wednesday night comes around and he invites us in. Lots of his family was there with him since he was leaving the next morning and wouldn’t see each other for 3 years! I felt super honored to be able to have some of his time right before he was leaving all of his kids and wife. We taught their family and he got all teared up and said he wished we could’ve met earlier. He insisted he was going to take the restoration pamphlet with him and read it and share it often. We then pulled out a book of Mormon for him and he lost  his mind! It was sooo cool it was one of the most powerful lessons. There aren’t missionaries in Saudi but he’s going to find a meeting place. We’re super sad he left but it was amazing God put him in our path right before he left for a difficult new adventure.

We met 4 less actives on the streets this week! We got lots of their numbers and two of them were actually RM’s who had moved into Makati. Super cool! One said he’d work with us sometime.

Justine is doin “alright.” We gave her a book of Mormon last Saturday and we had another lesson last Tuesday. Well… what a lesson that was! We followed up if she was able to read the Book of Mormon and she said she was in 2 NEPHI 19!!! We were like wait first nephi or second? She said “second! The words of Isaiah.” We both about jumped out of our chairs! Haha we both freaked out it was awesome! I haven’t even read anything close to that much in 3 days. We then started talking about baptism and extended an invitation to be baptized. She said “I want to I really do!” We then went and started to set a goal date and OUT OF NOWHERE the member we were with did something I’ll never forget haha. He said “baptism?? Wait elders you can’t do this!” He then turned to her and said “sister have you been to church yet?” She said no and lets just say everything went downhill from there haha. She kinda lost confidence and we didn’t get a date set. But it was still an amazing lesson when I walked out of the church I felt like I had just hit a full court shot at the buzzer. Later this wk we had another lesson with her and she accepted for Aug 26! She was at church too yesterday!

Claire and Angel had dinner with us at the Makilings (members) again this Wednesday!! It’s amazing how quick people can progress if they have a friend at church. We also set baptism dates with them and they were at church yesterday!! Also we coordinated with the Elders quorum and they’re gonna go fix up their house a little for some service!

Wednesday I had an interview with President.. I was working in the office and he came out of his office and had me come in after Elder Webster. He told me “if you were to get hit by a bus tonight, would elder webster be able to train someone to take over your position in the office?” Haha I said yes (elder webster can do anything) and then he told me he’s having me transfer! Soo yeah.. I’m transferring in two days! It was totally out of nowhere because normally an office elder comes in 3 weeks before the transfer. Elder Cram is my beloved son.. he came in earlier this week. He’s from Riverton! Haha I’m teaching him as much as I can but basically the joke is I’m the “worst father the mission has ever seen.” My lineage in the office is very rich and I’m kinda the disappointing link in the chain. My child comes and I leave him right away;)

Crazy thing happened that you won’t believe. Elder Cram came walking in with all of his luggage and you’d never ever guess what he was holding.. a cactus!! He found a place that sells them I guess! So pday we went and bought one. It was awesome! It gets better though. After talking to the lady in the greenhouse for awhile about cacti she gave me my cactus and pot for free!! It was meant to be haha! So now I’ve got a cactus in possession. We ordered mcdonalds to come to our house that day and it ended up being one of the best p days ever haha!

Met and taught a retired jockey! He was apparently super good and won all kinds of races here. He spoke fluent English since he also raced in other countries. Once again I pulled the Kentucky card out of my pocket and we were immediately best friends! The elders will be going back to him this week. We actually met his wife at 7 11 and was looking for her.. but it all worked out! They’re both super nice and have tons of potential.

Well I’m super sad to be leaving this area but I’m excited to get back into the field full time! It’s kinda hard because our area is doing really well right now I’ll be missing lots of good things! But I’m excited to go to las pinas and continue to share this amazing gospel. I challenge you all to talk to someone new this week! Never really something I’d do before my mission but I’ve seen so much joy come from always opening our mouth. I have never once regretted opening my mouth to share the gospel or even to simply lift someone up- even if some of the time it hasn’t been the perfect exchange or maybe a little awkward or something. I know God will always help be with us and we can have amazing moments with people we may never see again.

Love Elder Reber
Office Elders and the AP's
The horse that will be making it's way all around the world to all of Parker's friends that are serving missions. 

Back story on the cactus obsession was Parker and a great friend decided to start up a new club at the high school. Somehow they decided that a cactus club would be a good choice. The funniest part about it was just after Parker left for his mision, they became so popular and we keep seeing them on all sorts of things like clothes and home accessories. Little did they know they were ahead of their time with the trends!

His beloved cactus in the seat of honor. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Every member a Missionary

Hello! Things were great this week in the area!!

So in our area we have lots of friends that love to say hi as we walk by but don’t want us to teach them because they’re busy. I guess though we always continue to be kind and smile and ask how they’re doing as we’re walking by. One of these people is named Claire. She’s a mom of 3 kids and her 12 yr old daughter Angel has cancer. Apparently Elders have been trying to teach them for awhile now and we always let her know we can help them with anything. This week they had a big problem come up with her daughter’s cancer and long story short we were able to help solve the problem! The gospel is awesome. We taught their family this week at a member’s house and had a really cool lesson. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and eat dinner after. She was so happy to get a Book of Mormon and really excited to start reading it. Members can be the biggest help! We were so excited that day we went and talked to everyone after the lesson until the very last minute. We then ran to our car parked in our area and… whoops it wasn’t there haha! We were “coding” which basically means it’s our day we can’t drive from 7am to 7pm. Since we were in the area at 4 our car was over at the office haha! Totally forgot. We had to haul back to the office but we got home late dang. Don’t worry we’ve repented haha. Then Claire was at church yesterday! Her kids weren’t able to go this week but we’re hoping next week they’ll make it too!

Eric is still about the same. Taught him twice and he’s still reading a lot. Every time he’s reading over things he liked with us he skips over the word “baptism” haha.

A highlight this week was teaching our referral I mentioned last week on Saturday! As we’ve been texting and planning our apt she’s been super excited! It’s so fun when someone is just as excited as the missionaries are. She showed up at the church and we had two members with us- Ed and Giovanni. She brought her friend too which was awesome!! Justine is SUPER prepared and we had a great lesson. She’s 18 and goes to institute twice a week with her Mormon friends. She has already read the ENTIRE gospel principles book and even looked up the full Restoration video on YouTube on her own. We taught her and her friend Eloissa the Restoration and gave them both a Book of Mormon. It’s so cool seeing there are people super ready to receive the gospel. She wasn’t at church yesterday because she went to her church with her family. That’s the only problem we’re seeing as of now.. her fam is pretty solid on their church. We’ll just have to teach them one day too when the time comes!

Other random things this week. On July 11 Elder Webster and I ate 7 11 every meal to celebrate that haha. I tried to explain to the different cashiers it’s 7/11 day but they didn’t know what I was getting at. When they finally understood they thought it was seriously the funniest thing haha. They don’t have slurpees at most of them here so there wasn’t any free slurpees L Still a fun memory though. This week we talked to some drunk guys watching horse racing. They offered us beer but eventually they got us some soda haha! I told them I was born in Kentucky where the Kentucky derby is and they thought it was awesome! Lots of people here actually love horse racing so I’ve actually said that quite a bit. We will return to those guys later tonight. We’ve been out in the area super consistent so we’re starting to get more momentum with appointments and stuff. I’m so thankful God is helping us every step of the way. He knows us and He knows every person in our area perfectly. I know there are many who need this important message and many hearts ready to receive it.

I love being a missionary! Remember missionary work is super important for members. Try to help out missionaries anyway you can, it really makes the biggest difference!

Elder Reber

No pics again this week. This is President and Sister Fermanis at the MTC. Parker is having a great time getting to know them. So grateful for their willingness to serve and support Elder Reber!
We made sure to take advantage of the free slurpee day even though Parker couldn't. Glad he was able to celebrate with three meals there that day. Can you even imagine?? Yuck! Excuse me while I feel completely sick!

Elder Rebers sisters and their cute slurpee drinking friend!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mausoleums and Crematoriums

This week was awesome!

Lots of ups and downs this week! A big rollercoaster week and I like rollercoasters so it was sweet. I’m not sure where to begin so I’m just gonna start with what happened with Eric this week.

We showed up to his house Tuesday to teach him like normal and he has continued to read lots in the Book of Mormon. He is now in Mosiah 5 so he has been reading King Benjamin’s final words to his people. He thinks those first few chapters in Mosiah are super awesome and I agree. Anyways we followed up on his drinking because it’s been pretty on and off lately and we were super impressed! He said his brother came with him to drink both Saturday and Sunday and he had “no desire whatsoever to drink.” Even though his brother bought all the alcohol he still didn’t join! It really strengthened my testimony on fasting and prayer. We’ve been trying our best to pray for him and to help him finally make it to church. He’s getting closer little by little but watching him grow has been really cool for me.

We went and found a guy who used to listen to Elder Webster and his last companion Elder Ahn months ago named Rico. He is super cool because he’s in the FBI!! He has a nice fam and everything it’s just hard to catch him since he’s always at work. We were blessed to pass by his home at the perfect time and we were able to help him really understand the Restoration. It truly clicked in his head why a restoration is needed and how we should have a prophet in our day today which is the best thing ever for a missionary to see. We’ll be visiting him again this week.

Wednesday something super funny happened. Our kabahays (Elders in our apartment) got a referral but when they went to visit him they were told he had just barely moved to the Makati South Cemetery. Well, that’s in our area so we were given his name and went to find him! The cemetery here is SUPER cool they don’t bury the people! They just put them in a cement box and you can basically just go sit on them. Lots of homeless people kinda just hang out there and we kept asking people if they knew the man and they’d just say “Is he still alive?” then laugh super hard haha! Clever clever. Well we finally found him and we asked how he had met missionaries in the past. Long story short I realized he was super familiar and it was actually me who met him outside of our church!! Every Sunday morning before church we go out in front of our church with some ward missionaries and hand out little cards to people who walk by. I totally forgot it was me who put him into the referral system! We were supposed to teach him yesterday but it didn’t work out but we’re hoping this week it will happen.

Friday we had a “meet the President” meeting with all of the mainland missionaries and it was super fun! The Fermanis family is awesome haha. They showed a family video and all of his kids played rugby and were super intense! He has one daughter and she is a boxer! One funny thing that kinda explains his personality is when a missionary asked “what is the main thing you learned on your mission?” He said, “well, lots of aussies are going to hell!” Although he’s super funny he’s also really spiritual. He’s crazy with doctrine and the scriptures and I know I’ll learn a lot from him and his family.

This week was amazing because every day we got out of the office really fast! We had tons of time in the area and talked to SO many people. My patience continues to be tried because we can’t get into a house to save our lives!! Like I’ve said, it hasn’t ever been like this my whole mission. Actually we had very low success the entire week and saw soo many appointments fall through. I think we taught 4 lessons or something this whole week. Things were a little tougher UNTIL Sunday came along!! We decided to stop by AJ, the less active we met a few weeks back. Her asawa isn’t a member yet. She had been in Cavite for weeks but she’s finally back! We had a super cool lesson with her and set a long term goal for her to one day enter the temple with Chistian and be sealed. They also have their first kid on the way. When she was in Cavite she went to church every week! It’s so cool because when we first met her she hadn’t been in about a year. She committed to having us come to teach Christian every time he has work off so they can reach that goal of entering the temple. Also, Sunday towards the end of the night we got a text from some other missionaries in our ward! Some elders gave them a referral but apparently it’s in our area not theirs. She is named Justine and is really close with a Bishop and his family in a nearby ward. She has been to the institute of religion in Sampaloc a few times and is currently reading Gospel Principles and wants a Book of Mormon! We contacted her and set an appointment for this coming Saturday since it’s the only time she doesn’t have school. It’s our p day but we don’t care haha she’s so ready! Totally an answer to our prayers. We got to see miracles come Sunday, the last day of the week after lots of hard work with little success! I know God will always bless us if we do what we’re supposed to do, we just need to constantly be gratefully noticing His hand in our lives!

Have a nice week!
Love Elder Reber

No pics from Park this week so I am sharing a few of ours from the Mission reunion we crashed!  President and Sister Ostler were kind enough to allow us to come by to say hello at the reunion they put together in Bountiful for their former missionaries. We had a great night talking with some of Parker's old companions, the Ostlers- including their awesome son Caleb,  and other missionary parents. We are so grateful for this wonderful couple and their family. 

Was lucky enough to check out one of the infamous mission umbrellas!

What a welcome site! We can spot that flag anywhere!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New Mission President

Hey everyone

This week is the last week for President Ostler and his family! As a result we had lots going on but many amazing experiences. The highlight this week was our last zone conference with them so I’ll start off with a little I learned there!

President Ostler’s opening remarks mainly talked about sustaining leaders and why priesthood keys are important. I actually read recently a talk by Elder Holland where he said when we sustain our leaders we uphold them and will support them at all times. Not only do we “uphold” them but we also “hold them up” just like we hold up our hands when we sustain them as our leaders. President Ostler reminded us that comparison never blesses anybody and told us not to compare the old President with the new one. Their son caleb and Sister Ostler then both gave great talks. Caleb talked about being a 100%er, giving your best even in the hardest times. Sister Ostler talked about how we sometimes feel we are stuck in a dark hole and can’t get out. Jesus Christ, however, is willing to come all the way down to where we are and offer a helping hand. He reaches out as intensely as a drowning person grasping for air. How we don’t truly understand this until we ourselves truly labor unceasingly and try to help other be saved by the rescuer. I’m super thankful to know this truth!

President Ostler then closed the conference talking about life after the mission and gave some really awesome advice. He focused on how the Lord sees all that we do. He knows our desires and our good works. He blesses us more than ever when we choose right with nobody watching. That is one of the biggest things I’ve learned on my mission. More than anything I want to be someone full of integrity. Someone who does good because they love their Heavenly Father, not because they seek honor and praise from men. He said “When you save face with men, you lose face with God.” We then watched a portion of Elder Holland’s talk a few years ago. After the atonement of Jesus Christ had taken place, Peter and some other disciples returned to their old lives catching fish. Holland describes Christ probably asking Peter something like this, “do you love me more than you love all this?” If we love Him, we won’t love small things in the world but will always be in marvel of Christ’s life and God’s amazing plan. How priesthood authority has been restored to the earth and families can be sealed for time and all eternity. God needs disciples and he needs them forever. He challenged us not to slow down in our missions and definitely not after our missions. I’m so thankful for the Ostlers and the many things I learned from how they live their lives.

The reason I’m emailing today is because of how busy it was yesterday getting a new mission President! The Fermanis family is super super nice. Elder Webster and I were actually the first missionaries to meet them! President Fermanis had an “All Blacks” tie on and is fun to be around. My companion and I had a secret mission to take Caleb Ostler, William (16) & Jared (14) Fermanis, and some of the English ward youth to play laser tag!! Haha definitely lucky on that- it’s super not allowed most of the time haha. President told us Jared is super competitive and to "clip his knees" if he gets out of hand haha! We had a short P day on Saturday so we could help out with that. Elder Webster and I had to stay by each other throughout the games but it built some nice comp unity haha. My skills have dropped though I must say. We then returned to the mission home and drove the Ostlers to the airport! It was really lucky we were able to do that. It was sad dropping them off but they were just real positive throughout it all!

We kept getting out of the office on time to head to the area then kept getting called back to do an assignment haha. We still got a good amount of work in though and met lots of nice people. Still doing our best to find. The area is growing and improving even if it's in small increments. We’ve really seen God’s hand in the work and I couldn’t be more thankful for my mission. Til next week!

Elder Reber

Here is the horse from the Folk. Not sure what else there is to say :)

Apparently the horse likes California Pizza Kitchen