I guess i'll start with updating you on our investigators. Yesterday, Jenson Mark Cruz was married and baptized! His wife is a member and it's something they've been working towards for quite some time now. He's 23 years old and taller than me! He's 6'3 which is HUGE for a filipino! Tallest person i've ever baptized and it was a blessing it only took one shot to get him fully immersed! I love Jenson though he's just simply a kind person. He works at a buffet called Vikings which is one of the fanciest places you can eat at in the Philippines. We've gotten pretty close over the past few weeks since I've been here and i've learned how being nice can really lift people's days! He always wants to know things like what's it's like for an American to be here, how is life as a missionary, what did I like to do before my mission, etc. Being genuinelly interested in someone's life is something I've been working on in my mission and hope to continue to develop throughout my life. Just his simple efforts to listen really lifts me up when we visit him. After he was baptized he bore his testimony and as he turned around to face all of us he had the biggest smile ever. After his testimony bishop Flores (he's a stud by the way) gave his closing remarks and mentioned how Jenson's countenance was soo bright. It was a cool moment for me, he really did look truly happy and the spirit was really there! That image of his big smile has been stuck in my head ever since. His non member family i could tell was really hit with the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth and throughout each of the speakers, testimonies, and the baptism itself i could really tell the spirit was helping them realize that this is all true.
James Borrero Monilla (10 year old, mom was baptized last year), passed his baptism interview and will be good to go this saturday! Even though he's only ten i've really seen a ton of change in him. Missionaries have been trying to help him be baptized for a year and he seriously didn't want to at all. Even a month ago when i was new he refused to pray when we went to visit him. Even though his mom, aunt, cousins, etc were baptized he still never wanted to! Now when we go there he always volunteers right away to pray and he's super excited when we come. His mom even told us he was fasted the whole day for his baptismal interview! How cool is that??
Teaching him this week was different though. Their family opened up a new tindahan (little family-owned shop that's part of their house) so we were teaching him over there. He has tons of friends/classmate neighbors over there and when we went there Monday he invited two of them to join. Tuesday there were about 5, and each day there was a little more until friday there was 12 of them! We would follow up on what they had learned in the past lesson and they would go crazy answering us! We ended up giving almost all of them Book of Mormons with little maps they color in as they read the chapters. One of them is 11 years old and read all of first nephi! After our lesson we play games for a few minutes and it's honestly just so fun. For me it's cool to see how the kids here have lots of similarities as my bros and sisters as they grew up, even though their circumstances here are alot different. Although lots of these kids probably won't be baptized, it's cool to be able to teach them correct principles that will help them out a little in their lives! Even the fact they're reading the Book of Mormon is just awesome to me. Definately a miracle! Hopefully pictures will finally work this week haha` I got a few good ones of all of them.
When we teach all of these kids upstairs I always feel bad for this little 12 year old downstairs because he watches over the little store as his job. He's always super nice to us when we come down and we could tell he wished he could come up and listen. We gave him a pamphlet and as we were leaving he was already readin through it. Friday we were finding on the other side of our area and this kid out of nowhere answered the door! We found his house and met his family. They're living circumstances are tough it was super sad to see. Him and his family are soo nice though and we have an appointment with them this week. It was cool we were guided right to their home in a tiny little alley.
Joy finally accepted a baptism date for sept 16! She has already been to church 4 times which qualifies her for baptism. We just need to finish teaching the lessons now. She's awesome though and another cool thing is 3 of her kids listened to our message this week. We invite them every time we're there but they've never listened til now. We taught word of wisom to Joy and the kids accepted to live it too. We then showed them a picture of the Manilla temple and told them that the real goal is not only to be baptized but to one day be sealed as a family. It was a cool lesson with all of them and 2 of the kids showed up to church sunday!
I was reading in 3rd Nephi when Christ visits the people in the Americas. As I was reading I started to wonder why lots of these chapters are also in Matthew. About a month ago I was reading these very words in the new testament. Why are they in both? I got my answer when i read in 3 nephi 13:25. it says "And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken." Such a simple phrase but for some reason it really stood out to me. Christ was pleading to his disciples to simply remember. To remember the things he had spoken. In the Book of Mormon we see that people are often quick to forget their God. We get caught up in small things in our lives and too often forget the purpose of our lives on earth! I felt like I needed to do a better job remembering the things I learn in personal study. I think we often have spiritual experiences but after it ends we sometimes quickly forget. In my planner now I write down the main thing i learned in personal study so when things are a little tough out in the area I can pull it out real quick to remember what I learned and regain that courage and spirit that i had felt earlier. Christ then says, "For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people." It was just a good reminder that we are each put in certain situations for a reason. For me right now, I'm very thankful for the area I'm in and I know I need to be here. So yeah, that was a little thing i learned this week. I think that's the reason the prophets and apostles have said to read the Book of Mormon every single day, so we can continually remember the Savior and strive to be more like Him.
That's all my friends. Hope all is well. Thanks for your support and love! Have a solid week! I invite you to read the Book of Mormon every day:)
Love Elder Reber
Ps. Justine from my last area got baptized on Saturday! The stake president heard about her and apparently went to meet her. She told him she wants to serve a mission and I guess he told her he'd pay for the whole thing! Super cool! I'll try to stay updated on how that goes!
|It is pretty amazing they were lead exactly to this home.|
|JB's Baptism :)|
|Love the interaction Parker gets to have with these cutest kids!|
|Book of Mormon Maps|
|So glad to hear they got this super tall Filipino baptized on the first try!|