Monday, August 14, 2017

Be an example of the believers

Hello fam and friends

Hope you all had a nice week! This week the Sisters' area in our ward closed down and they were both transferred out. Since our area is next to it, we took over the whole thing! So this week has been super crazy trying to meet their investigators and recent converts in their area. We've had a little trouble finding everything but luckily it went pretty smoothly since the mission just had a huge map project not long ago. We got their area book and big map with pins marking where people live and it's all worked out alright! They didn't have too much going on though so we still spent most of the week in our original area. It will be hard for me to get this area memorized now that it's bigger. I still have no idea where we're walking when we're over in our area in Brgy CAA haha there are literally hundreds of streets and buildings. Hard to explain it haha you'd have to be here to see!

We got a text from Bishop one night asking us to go visit a less active the next morning. This less active is named Kimberly, she's 17 years old and was baptized in the province a few years ago. The crazy thing though is she got in a big motorcycle accident with her brother a few months ago and forgot everything about her life! Her name, family, schooling, and everything about the church. Now after a few months she's doing better and started going back to school. We showed up and started from the beginning, teaching about God and Jesus Christ. She showed us a picture of her baptism and couldn't remember why they were wearing white! We then decided to watch the 20 minute Restoration Video. It ended up being a super cool experience I won't forget. Throughout the whole thing she was watching it intently but still all of it was new- until it got to the first vision! She got a big smile and looked over and told us "I remember this!!" It was a cool thing for me to see. Someone who literally forgot everything but when the first vision came, the spirit was powerful and she recognized it. I know that Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that the fulness of the gospel was restored through Him. Even though he was young and unlearned, God works by small means to furthur His work and bless His children here on earth.

We had exchanges this week and I got to work with Elder Dequito here in our area. He is from Davao and goes home in about 2 months. Our focus was on finding and different things we can do in order to find. We didn't have many appointments set so we had plenty of time to just go around meeting people. I'm not super pro with directions so lots of the time we weren't exactly sure where we were at but we had a fun exchange and I learned alot.

There's a homeless man who is always on the side of the road that we walk on to get to our area. Every single day so far when he sees me he gets a huge smile on his face and says "Hey Joe!!" He then laughs the exact same laugh every time and for some reason it gets even funnier for me every time he does it. When the other Elders pass by he always asks where I'm at i guess haha. I love the people here.

We had Stake Conference this week and it was a really cool. The theme or focus was on conversion and the main scripture was Luke 22:31-32. Conversion for me is something that we will be working on throughout our whole lives. It's continuous and consistent effort doing our part to change and become more Christlike. It happens through our small choices that we make every day. By doing what God would have us do, we are strengthened and when we strengthen ourselves we actually are automatically strengthening others around us! I think of people in my life who are trying hard to become fully converted and I know their influence and example has affected me. In my personal study later on Sunday I was reading in Alma 60 and verse 23 stuck out to me. "Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also." This is Captain Moroni speaking to Pahoran about the government needing to be clean in order for everyone else in the land to be the same. But I think it also can apply to our personal conversion. Once we are converted we can lift up those around us. But, if we are struggling with our own conversion we won't be able to focus on helping others and plus we can't give what we don't have! As we become more converted we will have a brighter countenance that people will start to notice.

So, this week I challenge you all to do those small things to become converted! Be an example of the believers especially in your conversation! The words we use and conversations we have shows the person that we are. It shows what we value and what's is important in our eyes. It shows where our heart is. If we start with good thoughts, everything else will fall together for the good.

Take care!!
Love Elder Reber

**Park didn't send any pictures this week so I decided to share a few from our recent day at the Provo, Utah MTC open house. We had a great time touring through parts of the old and new MTC buildings. It was so fun to get a glimpse into where Parker began this journey and where many more will end up through the years. It was a beautiful building with an even better spirit. We loved the windows, bright hallways and especially the amazing artwork. What an amazing place to start a wonderful experience. 
I have seen this map so many times throughout my life. It was fun to see it with my own eyes with some of my favorite people. Sadly Rick was at work and had to miss out on all the fun. 

They change out the many flags each day to represent each one on a rotating basis. 
Where the Beanboozled fun took place. 

Love this future Elder Reber

Again, the artwork was breathtaking. Such a beautiful place to learn. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Another successful week!

Another successful week in the mission field! This place is super fun. Our area is only one barangay.. but it's the most-populated barangay in the whole Philippines!! It's called CAA. The school here has more students than anywhere else from what I've heard and I'd be surprised if anywhere had more haha. They have morning session, afternoon session, and evening session and when school is let out hundreds of kids come flooding out of the school. They all walk down this main road and it's hilarious when we're walking down that same road. Since I'm "amerikano" I hear hundreds of kids yell "aphir!" to me. Aphir is a tagalog word actually coming from the phrase "up here" haha. I've gotten more hi fives this week than any other week in my mission haha! Even in a lesson we were teaching out of nowhere this high school kid outside yelled, "hey wassup man!" through the window. I really love these fun people.

We got some sweet new investigators this week. We started to "tao po" some doors and met a 17 year old named Kenneth. After explaining our purpose as missionaries we asked him if Jesus Christ were in the room and he could ask one question, what would he ask Him? He had a golden question! "why are we here?? I've just always wondered why we're here on earth." It was awesome we went into the Plan of Salvation and he was all into it. I love the messages we have to share as missionaries. Just from talking with someone for a few minutes the spirit always tells us what we need to teach. Sometimes I don't even know what I'm going to say but as I start talking it always works out. I'm thankful for the holy ghost! As missionaries we can't do anything to offend the holy ghost, the work would be impossible and useless without it. We also met a family who was having a very sad day. There was a 17 year old sitting on a rocking chair moaning and we asked what his sickness was. They then pulled up his shirt and there was  a HUGE lump seriously a little bigger than a basketball covering his side as well as his back. They had been to the hospital the night before and apparently the doctors had no clue what to do so didn't let him in. I felt so bad for this kid.. Elder Moster actually said he remembered talking to him in the past. He's pretty tall and I learned he LOVES basketball. Super sad to see him in that condition. We quickly gave a little overview of the plan of salvation then talked about how we have authority and power from God to bless the sick. We gave him a blessing then left. We'll return later this week to check up on him and his fam.

We have a baptism coming up on Aug 19! His name is Jansen Belonias and he's 10 years old. His mom was less active but is now active again. Jansen is awesome though! He's one of my favorite buds I've met my whole mission. He is super smart and calm and really understands what we teach. He even asks really good questions like for example he asked if in the next life we'd still remember what happened on earth and if we'd remember family members. You can tell he's really thinking things through while we teach. We have a sweet handshake too. I'm excited for him to be interviewed this Saturday!

This ward is awesome. We have an RM who served in the Laoag mission who works with us nearly every night. There's also a recent convert named Julius who is 22 and preparing to serve. He's with us a ton as well. They're both awesome! Our ward mission leader Nephi gives out reading assignments to the ward missionaries and full time missionaries every week then texts spiritual thoughts to all of us every day. He also got everyone involved in a ward mission fast! We all closed our fast Sunday after church and then had a huge feast! They also all committed to one day every week where they'd be able to work just 2 hours or so- they got to choose. It helps a ton when the ward is super organized!

Also yesterday we taught Gospel Principles class again. It's cool though because the last time I had to teach that was in my first area and the language has gotten lots better since then haha! I'm thankful that I can now comminicate what I feel and get things across better. Kinda cool to have something like that where I really can notice I've improved a little! I think every day in lessons it seems the language is about the same so having these last two weeks to teach gospel principles has been good!

We had MLC thursday! It's fun seein how our new President does things. Lots is actually being changed already. His big focus is the Book of Mormon and doctrine. We were discussing things to make district meetings more productive and he had the idea of having one person in the district get up and share what they've learned the past week in their 10 pages a day in the Book of Mormon. He said it would be cool for them to break down a few verses with the district then bare their testimony. He then said "well let's try this out right now and see if it's worth doing! Elder Reber, get up here!" Haha it was so out of nowhere! The spirit helped me pull something out of nowhere haha. It was a super spiritual meeting though.

That's about all from me this week! Thanks for all the bday wishes. The people here are so kind and would give us merienda (snack) when they heard it was my bday haha. We also set up some decorations that you sent in that package and the four of us chugged some rootbeer. So that was good!

Love Elder Reber
Parker back at the mission home for Zone Conference