Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 16 in the Philippines - "Happy New Year!"

Hi my beautiful family and friends!

How was your Christmas? It was sooo good to talk to you on Christmas and see your cute faces and hear your voices. I have the best family ever! I'm so glad we were able to get skype to work. I loved how you had prepared questions. You're so cute. Thanks so much for the awesome teaching resources, the puzzles you sent me! I already used the Plan of Salvation one in a lesson with a bunch of kids. Every time I set down another piece to the plan, all of the kid would all look and read what it said. I also have been reading that awesome talk by Elder Maxwell. So interesting! I\m learning so much! Also, on Christmas eve and Christmas day, my comp and I visited lots of people and shared a Christmas message with them. I brought the papers with music and scriptures you sent me and they were super helpful!

Christmas eve and Christmas day were super fun. We got to celebrate with a bunch of our investigators and members as well. And every single person we visited fed us so much food! They pretty much eat all day when they celebrate a holiday and Sister Parada and I felt sick. We ate so much. But I got to try some awesome new foods this week. I tried chicken blood, I can't remember what they call it. It's black and the chicken blood was cooked with all the insides of the chicken. yummm :) haha Good thing there were lots of spices. I also tried adidas, chicken foot! We have an investigator with a BBQ stand and so I got it from her. Everyone watched me eat it haha. It was rubbery and hard to bite haha. I also tried uga for the first time this week, which is the terribly smelling dried fish. It wasn't too bad but just super super salty. not a huge fan. but I guess I need to try it again because I didn't know you're supposed to dip it in vinegar. maybe that will make it taste better. I want to try balut sometime, but our mission pres banned it. Foreign missionaries aren't allowed to eat it:(

Oh my goodness I'm sending you a picture of this baby goat I got to hold on Christmas day. It was the cutest thing on the planet. Only like 4 days old. It made me really happy haha. Also the picture with people is me with our awesome investigator Pamela and her granddaughter Welchie. I love them so much. and yes I have terrible sweaty pits in this picture. sorry! haha They're excited about their baptism on Jan. 18. Also the other day we went over to their house and Pamela told us she had good news for us. SO her husband causes her so much grief because he drinks all the time and is really stubborn. It makes her so sad. He never wants to join our lessons or have anything to do with church. Her good news for us was that her husband prayed for their family on Christmas day for the first time ever. She said it made everyone cry. It's a miracle! He also joined our lesson! He asked us how he can change. Can you believe it? It's truly a miracle. God really does answer prayers!

Also on Christmas day the most adorable girl got baptized. Her name is Lovely Joy. If you go onto facebook and look up Sagay ward (2), you can see pictures from our baptism. She was sooo excited and just made me have the best Christmas ever:)

So yesterday they asked me to play the piano in sacrament meeting for the second time. I don't get to pick the hymns and I haven't played the piano in months. that's my disclaimer. ALSO, the F key doesn't work! So our opening hymn was Far Far Away. I played the intro and started playing but the first note is a F and no one joined in singing! I just kept going and no one was singing. Finally  they came in on the chorus! hahahaha It was terrible, but not that bad because we're in the Philippines so it's not a big deal:) thank goodness.

Also, we live right across the street from a church. They are so loud. Yesterday, we were trying to study in the morning and it was impossible. The church has a microphone, loud choir, drum set and everything. They would sing super loud and then the preacher would yell super loud and then they're sing again. We went to church at 1 and they never stopped. They were still going on until we went to bed. It reminded me of the church where Jare and the tribe women worked before they got the house. I seriously wanted to just join in because if you can't beat them, join them. That's what the women would do in Uganda! We'd just all get up and dance!

I hope you all have a fabulous, safe and super fun New Years this week! Yay for 2014! I love you all sooooo much! Thanks so much for all your love and examples to me and for being so amazing!

Love, Sister Malyon

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 15 in the Philippines - "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

My dear, lovely family and friends! Merry Christmas! Maligayang Pasko!!!! 

How are all of you? Are you feeling the Christmas spirit? What have you all been up to during the Christmas break? Lots of people have Christmas lights up, which is fun. We found some Christmas lights stars that someone left at our house, so we put those up and we bought a little baby Christmas tree! :) We also made snowflakes last P-day to get in the spirit. Every night, we see lots of kids going around to homes caroling. They carol and then ask for money hahahaha. So naturally every single kid does it. Too bad people don't give you money in America for caroling, otherwise Josh would be out there every night:)

Apparently the popular thing to eat on Christmas is spaghetti, filippion spaghetti, it's not the same. haha We've heard from the appointments we have for Christmas Eve and Christmas day that we'll be eating spaghetti. I wouldn't be surprised if they still  eat rice with their spaghetti:) 

I got the big envelope package from you the other day! Thanks soooo much! I'm going to wait until Christmas day to open the two wrapped presents. I'm so excited to bring the Christmas scripture and songs papers to our Christmas Eve FHE so we can have an awesome Christmas program that you sent me! We also got Christmas cards from the First Presidency! How cool is that? They send every missionary a Christmas card. I love the gospel:) 

I want to tell you about a couple of our investigators. We have this golden investigator, Sister Pamela. We just met her by talking to people. She used to be Baptist, but stopped going because she felt they were lacking something. :) The perfect thing to say. We've been teaching her and her granddaughter, Welchie, and they both came to church yesterday!!!!!! I was sooooo happy yesterday. Sister Pamela is awesome. She always reads everything we leave with her and she answers questions so thoughtfully and asks awesome questions. She saw a picture in the pamphlet of someone getting a blessing and asked if she could get a blessing because she's been in pain and sick for a while. The bishop gave her a blessing at church yesterday and she was just so happy. They have a baptismal date set for Jan. 18! 

We have a baptism this Wednesday, Christmas baptism, for the sweetest lady in the world. Her name is Mariacel and we've been teaching her cute daughter, Lovely, as well. They are both getting baptized this week. She invited us over to dinner this past week. She is the most giving person ever. Her home was totally flattened by the typhoon, so they basically have no shelter. She's a single mom with two kids and supports them by selling produce in the market everyday while holding her baby.I love them so much. We're gonna do a CSP for her to help get her house back up. When we were at her house, there was this goat, she has lots of goats, that kept following me. Every time she got close to me, she would rub her head up and down against my skirt. It was the weirdest thing ever! 

Also, guess what? My worst nightmare came true this week. This girl gave a talk yesterday in church who has worked with us a couple times. She went into detail about when she worked with us one time and included the detail that when we were talking to a lady feeding her chickens, Sister Malyon stood far away because she is scared of chickens. awesome. Now the whole ward knows! and they will never forget. When we were walking home from church we saw a member and he said "Sister Malyon I have a gift for you. A chicken." 

Well, I just want to leave with my testimony of our Savior. I am so grateful to Him for coming to the earth, descending below all things for us. He has ascended above all and descended below all in order to understand each one of us perfectly. He loves us so much that He suffered, bled and died for each one of us, personally and individually. He came to earth to free us from bondage. I was reading in the Liahona and Elder Bruce D. Porter said, "Whatever binds us-sins, circumstances, or past events- the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Immanuel, came to set us free. He proclaims liberty to the captives and freedom from the bonds of death and the prison of sin, ignorance, pride and error.It was prophesied that He would say to the prisoners, "Go forth" (Isaiah 49:9). The only condition of our freedom is that we come unto Him with broken hearts and contrite spirits, repent, and seek to do His will." I know that is true. I know that it is through our Savior, and best friend, Jesus Christ, that we are freed from sin, pain, sorrow, heartache. He loves us soooo much! 

I hope all feel the unconditional love of the Savior and share that love with all those around you! I love you all soo much! 

Merry Christmas! Love, Sister Malyon

My companion Sister Parada loves you all too! She's awesome:)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 14 in the Philippines - "love"

I know that God is watching over all of you and I'm so grateful for that. You are all in my prayers too! Wow, I'm amazed by all the missionary work going on back home. You are all so wonderful. It makes me so happy to hear about that incredible conversion of those three sisters who got baptized. God has people prepared everywhere!  You will be blessed for every effort you make to share the gospel! Missionary work is the best!

Yesterday in Sacrament meeting, we had 6 young girls get confirmed. I just started crying thinking about the work I am involved in. None of the girls were people we taught. Some were the elders and some were 8 year olds in the ward. It was so neat though and I just felt the spirit so strongly remind me of how incredible it is to be participating in helping to bring others to what they need to return to their Father in Heaven. It's amazing. 

We also had 7 investigators come to church yesterday! It was a miracle and I was soooooo happy. I was also so grateful for the members who talked to them and sat with them and made them feel welcome. We actually went to pick up some of them. I told you last week about the mom's and their kids that we've been teaching. We went to pick them up and they were all sleeping! Our church is in the afternoon. We waited for them to get ready and were late for church, but sacrament meeting is the last meeting, so it turned out to be okay. It was awesome because they all got dressed up in their best clothes and were all excited. It was so great. I wish I could send a picture but the connection is slow. next time!

We also have this awesome investigator named Ann. The first time we taught her, she told us that she wants to serve God. She's so close to God. We were teaching about prophets and when we asked her if she can see God physically, to make the point that we need prophets to help guide us, she had such a hard time answering that question because she feels His presence. So cool. She's 19 and when we went to pick her up to have her lesson at a members home, she went in and changed into a skirt to be like us:) I love her so much! She's so cute and so prepared for the gospel!

We went on an adventure this week to find the home of this sweet lady we just met one day and asked if we could visit her. I'll try to explain how you get to her house. So you walk off the main road and through a path in a sugarcane field, then you enter this forest and walk through that a little bit and then you come out and pass a couple homes and goats and cows and carabao and lots of chickens. Her sweet husband joined us for the lesson and they were so excited to have us visit them. They are the cutest couple, maybe in their 60's and I'm excited to keep teaching them:)

The gospel is the only thing that brings true peace in our lives, in our families and on earth. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, for our Savior who made it possible for us to return to the presence of our Father. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share with everyone I meet-- His love for them. We are so blessed to have the gospel truth! I love you all so much! Thanks for all your prayers and support and love and for being the awesome disciples of Christ that you are.

Love, love, love, Sister Malyon

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 13 in the Philippines - "carabaos"

Hello family and friends! How's everyone doing? What are the Christmas plans:)? When does school get out? Isn't it crazy to think Christmas is almost here? And it's still super hot and sweaty! Has it snowed yet? hahahahaha walking to school in the dirty snow. fun times:)

I'm sending some pictures this time so you can see how beautiful my area is! I am the luckiest girl in the world! Yesterday we were working with out ward missionaries and mission leader trying to find some referrals and LA members. We went on an adventure through trees and mud and over streams and through fields and by carabaos and cows. It was awesome. 

We found people that just kind of live away from everything and shared with them short lessons and asked if we can come back:) Since we opened an area, we're doing lots of finding right now. Talking to lots of people we just see wherever and then teaching them! We even teach the animals:) And everyone knows I'm afraid of chickens. awesome. I think this is the time I'm going to overcome this silly fear.

A couple weeks ago, we went to this one area called Tanke and it's kind of farther from the city, so we can't be there in the evening. But it's now our favorite area. We were just walking along the fields to get to a LA family and some people just yelled "Sister!" We decided to go talk to them. We ended up teaching like three or four mothers and their children all together. They said they had seen elders walk by before but had never talked to them. We've been back a few times now and I love them. I'm sending a picture from our FHE with them. It was so much fun. They remind me of being with the Tribe women in Gulu, so fun, so sweet, so nice, so loving. They're all really excited to come to church next week! Yay! In the picture we have black on our faces from a game we played:)

We also met another sweet lady in Tanke that was sooo grateful we stopped and talked to her. She said that she saw us the first time we passed through her neighborhood and wanted to talk to us. I'm so glad we stopped and talked to her. Heavenly Father is in control and is making a way for each of His children to hear the gospel:) Anyways, we talked to her and right away she started telling us about the different churches she has visited and how she feels something is missing. GOLDEN! I love love love finding people that are so obviously ready. It's amazing how the field truly is white already to harvest. Her name is Pamela and I'm so excited to keep teaching her!

The gospel is so beautiful. I know that it's what will bring everyone the most incredible, indescribable joy. I feel so incredibly blessed to be in this gorgeous part of the world, among such loving and strong people. Even though it's hard being around chickens all the time and seeing spiders as big as your hand just chillin above your pillow and using soap with teeth marks in it (I think it's a rat), it's all worth it! I also love my companion, Sister Parada! We are learning so much from each other and having lots of fun together.   

Yesterday we had Stake Conference and they talked a lot about unity. Members, leaders and missionaries need to all work together in unity to build God's kingdom on earth! It's sooo true! I'm grateful for all that you are doing to build His kingdom. You are doing more than you realize. I love you all sooooooo much!

Love, Sister Malyon
P.S. The last picture is of our Thanksgiving meal from last week

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 12 in the Philippines - "merry christmas!'

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a blast stuffing your faces with delicious food and being together as family!

We celebrated here as well:) My companion was actually sick pretty much all week, but we still had a big Thanksgiving feast. I live with one another companionship, Sister Ang and Sister Shakespeare. Sister Shakespeare is also from the states and my companion Sister Parada grew up in the states so we made sure Sister Ang had a great first Thanksgiving. We couldn't find turkey, but had chicken instead. We also cooked mashed potatoes, green beans and had rolls and corn bread. We ate lots of food and it was super fun. They don't have pie here, so we made mango float instead, which is delicious. I missed grandma's homemade, amazing rolls. That's so fun that you had such a huge group together for Thanksgiving! I'm so glad Josh was able to come home as well. 

So if you saw those pictures on Pres. Lopez FB, my companion and I accidentally sat in the wrong picture. We sat in the picture with all the companionships with missionaries that came over from Tacloban, but my companion's not from Tacloban. Also my new area is called Sagay, And it's awesome! It's kind of hard because part of our area is Cebuano speaking, but most of the people are still Illonggo speaking, so church is still in Illonggo. My companion speaks Tagalog and she's way good at Illlonggo, so now she's working on learning Cebuano, while I'm still focusing on Illonggo. Anyways, it's fun. 

Yesterday, we visited this sweet lady who we met one day when we were trying to find a LA family. She's 88 years old and hard of hearing. We also found out she only speaks Cebuano. So our lesson with her was one of the funniest things of my life. My companion would yell into her ear every time she spoke to her and she had her planner open with her list of Cebuano words so she could somewhat communicate with this sweet lady. Oh and her name is Presentation:) haha She's so cute. I'm not really sure how much she understood of our lesson. She loves talking to us though and I don't really understand anything she says. We tried to just help her feel the Spirit. It was so funny though. She told us that her daughter took the pamphlet we left her with last time to read, so we need to meet her daughter! It's awesome how the Lord works.

We have so much work to do in our new area! I'm so glad my companion is feeling better so we can get out and teach! It was hard for the elders before because their area was so big before we came and split it. They have lots of really far areas and it's super hard for the people they've been teaching to come to church. So there haven't been many baptisms in our ward. We're excited to get the work moving here! We're excited to have the support of the ward. Our ward is awesome. 

A couple days ago we did member exchanges, so that I could go out and work with a member while someone stayed home with Sister Parada. It was super weird working without my companion, but I was super lucky to have our ward missionary with me who recently returned from her mission. Anyway, we visited this LA family, especially the daughter Joy has been LA. The next day their whole family, except the dad, came to church and Joy brought two friends with her! So now we have two new investigators! It's the best when you get member referrals:) 

We moved into a new house this morning, us four sisters. We were temporarily staying in an elders apartment, but got to move today. I understand what Kels was talking about when she talked about moving into an apt and having to clean a ton. The elders apt was soooo gross. I'm so excited to have this new sisters apt:) 

I'm so grateful for the Lord's hand in my life. He's been teaching me so much and helping me become the person, the missionary he needs me to be. I've been getting frustrated with how hard it is for me to learn the language, but the Lord is teaching me patience and I need to exercise the faith to receive the blessings He has in store for me. 

I know that Heavenly Father hears every single one of our prayers and wants the best for us. He answers us in His time because He knows what we need to learn. He will help us become the best person we can be. I loved hearing the testimonies in Sacrament meeting yesterday of my beautiful brothers and sisters. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing in my life. I'm so grateful for God's love for me and for every single one of His children. I love you all soooooo much!!!! 
Love, Sister Malyon