Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 68 in the Philippines - "christmas day"


Here's a pic from the baptism. Sister Shaira is between us and then the Elders also had a baptism!




The other pic is from our visit on christmas day I told you about on skype, with Nanay Andrea. We gave her the picture of Christ hanging up in the picture that mom sent me (thanks mom!) and she was sooo happy! Sister Glyde, a ward missionary, cooked pasta that she brought to share with Nanay Andrea and then one of the neighborhood kids joined as well!

Love you tons!
Sister malyon

Week 68 in the Philippines - "christmas eve"

Dearest family!

It was so good to see all of your cute faces on Christmas! Thanks so much for adjusting to the time I called, sorry it was sooo late! I loved talking to all of you and am so grateful for all of you:) You just make me so happy! haha oh stretchy pants!...I mean leggings:) 

How was your Christmas? That's so fun you got to change it up this year by spending Christmas in the grand city of New York with Kelsie poo. And Jare and Jaim in the holy city of Bethlehem. wow. We must have all had really memorable Christmases!:) 

We spent our Christmas with all of our Nanays:) But first of all, we had a wonderful baptism for Sister Shaira. She's 17 and her little sister was baptized a few months ago and a bunch of her friends recently got baptized as well. It was so cool on Christmas Eve, the night before, we got to share a special Christmas lesson with her family. It was so awesome teaching lessons on Christmas Eve and Christmas day because we just got to visit with families and a bunch of our nanays (our moms/grandmas who didn't have family with them this year) and focus completely on helping them feel of the true spirit of Christmas. 

Christmas Eve we were on our way to visit some recent converts (they are the ones in the picture where we're all standing up, Ek is the chubby little boy and then his cousin sister Euliza and Euliza's mom, Sister Renaliza), when we ran into the LA sister. Her name is Sister Gloria and we didn't know she would be alone Christmas, but Heavenly Father knew, and put her in our path! We visited with her and at that time, she really needed someone to be with and talk to (of course! Christmas Eve!). So we decided to go back and visit her again on Christmas day:) We were so grateful heavenly Father helped put her in our path so that we could be with those who needed visitors during Christmas time. Perfect, we were away from our families and so was she, so we were family to each other!

Sorry I feel like my thoughts are so scattered today! Anyway, the one picture is us with Ek, Euliza and Renaliza on Christmas Eve. They were our last appointment. We love them so much! They are so funny! Especially EK. Seriously, every time at the beginning of the lesson, if we ask him who he wants to pray, he sits there for like 20 minutes and does some kind of eeny meeny minie moe thing to decide. Then during the lesson, we had to keep saying his nme and grabbing back his attention because he kept wanting to just dance! So cute:) 

The other picture is when we were with Shaira's family on Christmas Eve. Shaira's not in the picture because she needed to take a shower? anyway haha. We had a wonderful Christmas!

I love you all soo much! I hope you all felt the true spirit of Christmas as well! We are so blessed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope and peace it brings to our lives. I hope you all have a fabulous HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Love you lots! Sister Malyon


    

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 67 in the Philippines - "MERRY CHRISTMAS! MALIPAYONG PASKWA!"

Merry Christmas my beautiful family!!!!

How are you? Are you seriously all in New York??? Holy smokes. That's what I understood from mom's last email, that the fam was headed off to spend Christmas with Kels in New York. WOW! How's that going? Are we still going to be able to skype? Well, I sure hope you're on because I haven't heard anything from you...I'll get on to skype about 1:30 pm our time here in Bacolod, Philippines:) I hope that's okay! I think that means it will be really late your time? I can't really remember the time difference. I hope that's okay with you though! And if not, we'll see each other soon enough haha!

Well, this week has been wonderful! I absolutely love my cute companion, Sister Respicio! She is so amazing. I have already learned tons and tons from her and we just get along so well and it's been great. She's my first Filippina companion who doesn't eat rice with every meal! In fact, she told me she's kind of sick of rice and I was so shocked! Coming from a Filippina! One day this week, we tried cooking a Filippino dish and cooking rice... I put her in charge if the rice naturally haha and she burned it! So we had brown rice;) so funny. Not that I'm any better (Kels knows), that's why I had Sister Respicio be in charge of the rice.

Anyway, we had a super cool miracle this week. I think it was actually on Wednesday, my first time going to this part of our area called Pasil. We were walking on our way to a lesson, when a sister randomly called out "Sisters!" We stopped to talk to her and she told us right away that her daughter who was standing next to her, is a member that was baptized quite a few years ago, but then got kind of lost between missionaries and hasn't been to church in a long time now. 

We ended up sharing a lesson with the mom, Sister Shyrell, and her three kids-Sister Nova (18), Sister Shell mar (member, 16), and Bro Marcial (13ish). We found out her husband died about a year ago and she's been struggling to support her three children. When we shared about eternal; families, she started crying and opened up to us about how much that touched her to know that she and her children can be with her husband again. We got to visit them one other time this week and then on Sunday, they came to church! Sister Shyrell and her oldest daughter, Nova, both came! Sister Shell mar had work so she couldn't, but it was her mom and Nova's first time and they had such a good experience. Turns out that Sister Shyrell's husband is cousins to our ward bishop, so they already have a connection! 

It was so amazing to see how God had prepared Sister Shyrell and her family for the gospel, the missionaries, and the Spirit worked through her to call out to us, because neither my companion nor I knew them, even her daughter. 

I'm so grateful everyday for God's involvement in our lives and His effort everyday to ensure the return of all His children to His presence, including each and every one of us! 

On one of the book marks mom sent me, it has the picture of Christ as the Good Shepherd, searching for His sheep and I love what it says about the picture. The artist, Liz Lemon Swindle wrote, "As I painted this piece I found myself looking into His eyes and wondering, "Who is He looking for?" Then one day it hit me. He is looking for all of us. The Savior knows and loves each of us, and no matter how far we may wander He will never stop seeking after us until He has found us and carried us home."  

Another experience I loved from this week, was when we went to visit this nanay. Her name is Andrea and she is almost 70 and lives all alone in this tiny little, bamboo house. She walks around selling clams for a living and the only family member that ever visits her is one of her granddaughters. Her husband died and her kids all live far away. 

There's a member who lives close to her who has been inviting her to church with her the past few weeks, so we visited her and on our second visit we extended baptism. She was so excited, her response was, "Next week? Can I get baptized next week?" That has never been the response I've received when extending baptism! She is the cutest person ever. We explained to her that there's a lot more we need to help her understand and prepare to be baptized:) She came to church again yesterday and we're planning on spending part of Christmas day with her! 

I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas ever!!! Focused on our Savior Jesus Christ and all that He did and continues to do for us everyday because He lives! And He loves each and every one of us so much. I love you all so much too! I hope and pray you feel of His love for you everyday:) If you reach out and serve and share the gospel, you will for sure feel His love. I can promise you that. I love you! 

Merry Christmas!

Love, Sister Malyon


    

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 66 in the Philippines - "crazy week!"

How are all of you doing? I hope you're all staying nice and cozy and warm:) I hope dad had a marvelous birthday! 

So this week was pretty crazy. Sister Snow and I were companions for just this one week, which was actually so awesome. We met so many new awesome, receptive investigators and loved serving together! We were so sad it only lasted for a week:( we got the call yesterday that both of us were transferring, the sisters in Pontevedra got pulled out, so now there will just be elders there. 

It was sooo sad to leave my family in Pontevedra! I love them so much, but I know that Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and if I just trust in Him, there's no need to stress:) My new area is back in my first zone! Bacolod North Zone, sa Talisay. My new companion is cute Sister Rispicio, who has only been out for one transfer. I'm excited to get to know people in my new area and work with Sister Rispicio! 

This past week, I really learned the importance of opening my mouth and just talking to everyone! I read a talk addressed to missionaries that said that every time we open our mouths to talk to someone about the gospel, it shows an act of faith. And that is something I have been working on developing-- my faith in Christ because that's how miracles happen! Just through talking to people in our path, we met so many people that were willing to just sit down right there and talk to us! Maybe it's because of this wonderful Christmas season!  
But most definitely the highlight of this week was the baptism of Tatay Ernesto!!!!! Oh man, I love him so much! His baptism went so well. It was amazing actually how organized everything was this time. It was cool because when we asked him who he wanted to baptize him, he suggest three different people. So we asked one of them and he was sooo touched! Then one of them he requested, gave a talk. There were so many members that came out to support him. Everyone was so excited for Tatay because a lot of them had met him or at least heard about him for a long time now. 

Back when elders were in the area, they used to teach him because his son is a member. So now he finally fully accepted the gospel and was baptized. He was sooo happy!!! Now he is so pumped to share the gospel with his family and reactivate the less-actives around him. So this week we met and taught his wife:) I'm so happy or him. I love the fire in recent converts to share the gospel! 

Well, yesterday we got to watch the Christmas Devotional, and I just wanted to share an insight I had. It was actually while they were singing "Still, Still, Still", which was sooo incredibly beautiful. As they were singing, it made me think about how important it is that amidst all the craziness of life and everything we have going on around us, we should stop and take time to notice the beauty and holiness all around us, in everything that we do. We should pause to recognize and remember who we are and to "be still and know that I am God".  We are so blessed everyday with all the beauty all around us, all the amazing people all around. 

I love you all so much! Thanks so much for your love and support and for being so amazing.

Merry Christmas!
Love, Sister Malyon


Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 65 in the Philippines - "wow!!!"

Hi family!!!

Oh my goodness!!! Annie got baptized!!!!!????????? What??? I had no idea she was progressing! Oh my goodness, Jonny pots where have you been? I need an update!!! What happened with her conversion and everything? I am so curious! When I read that she got baptized, it brought tears to my eyes! I don't even know her, but I've been praying for her and I just feel so happy for her! Please congratulate her for me:)

That's so cool pots that you got to baptize her! You're already a missionary, even before you leave on your mission. That's so awesome. wow. Pots! Tell me everything please! I hope that experience makes you even more excited to serve a mission! I bet she'll be so supportive because you see how much everyone needs the gospel! 

Wow, conversion is truly such a beautiful miracle. Tatay Ernesto is getting baptized this Saturday and I have been able to witness the majority of his conversion process, the changes in his countenance and is his life. It's been so amazing to watch. It's so amazing to witness people accept the gospel in their lives and see the results, the changes that come from them coming closer to Christ, feeling of his love and approval for their choices. Tatay is so much more happier these days than when I first met him back with Sister Laulu. 

Actually, thanks to the fam, we got to bring him Christmas yesterday. So I hope you don't mind, we ended up giving him the little Christmas tree you sent me and the nativity set. I took a picture to show you that I will send next week. We can't send pic at this shop. His face glowed with joy when we gave him the Christmas decorations. He lives all by himself, in his 60s, in this tiny, broken down little house. It's so dark and cramped, but the Christmas decorations made him and his little home light up so much! 


Thank you thank you thank you for sending those sweet decorations and I really hope it's okay we gave them away. I promise that they are in good hands:) You helped make someone's Christmas that much more special!

Also this week we had Zone Training and Sister Lazan I were praying so hard that we would figure out something we could do for the training to help our zone in boosting their morale and excitement for the work. Our zone has been struggling lately and the last training we had was so sad. Everyone was so down and there was so little participation, so this time we wanted to do something different to wake them up! Mom's cute package saved the day! 

Once again, I hope this is okay with you mom! We were inspired by the advent, so we implemented it in our zone training. We ended our training early so we could so a little activity to get our zone in the Christmas spirit. We gave each companionship one of the cool stars mom sent (there was a perfect amount), so we went around and each companionship read the scripture verse written their star, gave their insight about the title/name of Christ and then we had written up a bunch of Christmas songs on slips of paper and they had to draw one out of the bag and sing it. 

It was a complete success. Thanks to mom's package and thoughtfulness, the level of morale in our zone increased so much! Everyone was way happy and so pumped up! It was a total 180 turn around:) Thank you so much mom! We took a picture for you with the missionaries holding up their stars.

Well, I have a new companion again! Her name is Sister Snow, from Provo, Utah. We were so shocked when Sister Lazan got the transfer call last night. President Lopez is full of so many surprises haha. I'm grateful to still be in Pontevedra and excited to work with Sister Snow!

Love you all tons and tons! Merry Christmas! Happy Sami Klaus Tag!

Love, Sister Malyon


Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 64 in the Philippines - "Merry Christmas!"

I totally forgot to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving last week! How was it? Sounds like everyone is still all spread out! Crazy. I wonder when the next time will be that we all get to all be together again as one crazy happy family:) And no, I didn't celebrate Thanksgiving this year, but I wished Sister Lazan "Happy Thanksgiving" Thursday morning, so at least I still remembered the holiday in my heart haha. 

Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!! You lucky duck daddy poo! One year older and wiser too! Happy birthday to you!:) What are your plans to celebrate the incredible, life-changing event of your birth??? I'm sure grateful for your birth! I hope you have a fabulous day and everyone makes you feel and know how loved you are. 

Well, this week I went on exchanges with Sister Rosario in Binalbagan. It was so neat because before going out to work, we set a specific special goal for the day, which was to find a new family to teach. And guess what? We did! I have such a testimony of goals, faith and miracles! 

We tried going to a few appointments, but they weren't home, so then we were walking and decided to OYM (open your mouth) a home that we were approaching. A couple with their son were sitting outside their house, so we approached them and started talking to them. Sister Rosario asked them if they knew where the Lopez family lives (making up a name just as an excuse to talk to them...) and they started explaining to us how to get there. So then we asked them if we could offer a prayer for them before we moved on. They happily agreed, let us in and then we got to offer a quick message to them. 

They are this cute couple with one little boy and they were so interested! It was awesome too because the father has relatives who are members, so they have connections and support! They asked us what makes our religion different than others, so we left them with a Restoration pamphlet and they agreed for us to come back:) It was such a testimony builder to me that there are so many of God's children prepared all around us and we just need to open our mouths in order to find them. 

Also this week Sister Lazan and I had a neat experience. So the past few weeks we've been struggling to figure out how to best organize our time in this area. Our area is sooo big and we spend a lot of time traveling and have a hard time focusing on people to help them progress because we're so spread out. We decided to have a companionship fast to seek for guidance as to how to move forward. And guess what? We received our answer last night. 

We had just finished planning and had been discussing this past week and how we both feel like we need to be doing things different. We then decided, from reflecting on the different progress from different parts of our area, that we need to focus on Sua and the area close to the chapel. We need to stop trying to cover this whole huge area and instead focus on the progressing areas for now. 

And then, we got a call from President Lopez who was addressing some of our questions that we had for him and he gave us the same answer about our area! He told us that to be more effective we should focus on certain areas. It was a blessing to receive such direct guidance that confirmed our thoughts and made us feel so much more at ease about moving forward in this area. 

I'm so grateful for God's involvement in our lives, personal revelation, the people He sends to help us and all the resources He has given us to receive His guidance---fasting, prayer, studying the scriptures, leaders, companions, friends, family, patriarchal blessing...etc 

Speaking of patriarchal blessing, has Jonny gotten his yet?

Well, one little story from yesterday...So we had Branch Conference yesterday, which was awesome because everyone and their dog showed up haha, and I was the piano player. The power went out during the last speaker and I noticed it but didn't make the connection that the piano wouldn't work. The piano is electric. So it was time for the closing hymn and when I hit the keys, no sound came out. I was frantically trying to push buttons and replug in the chord to get it to work when the brother kindly goes "Sister Malyon, may brown out subong" or the power is out hahahaha Oh yeah...forgot... 
Well, there goes for off-in-space Sister Malyon:)

I love you all so much! Keep being strong! Hold on to the iron rod and don't let go!:) I hope you're all staying warm hahaha. Happy December! Woohoo! Christmas spirit!

Love you tons and tons, 

Sister Malyon   

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 63 in the Philippines - "SALAMAT!"

This is in Sua, our far area where we have a special sacrament- Me and Sister Laulu














This is SIster Laulu and I on the beach. We found a less-active, Brother Ernie who is in the picture, that we met for the first time here. He lives on the beach and works as a seaman/fisherman.


            
Here we are walking on this path that goes through a rice field, there are rice fields on both sides of the path, to get to our appointments!
.

  This is also taken in Sua with Mount Canlaon in the background. I'm standing in a sugarcane field! I carry this cool fan around because it's always hot!:) 




Hello family!

THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE HALLOWEEN PACKAGE!!! I'm pretty sure I'm the most spoiled missionary ever! You are sooo cute! Thank you so much for thinking of me and for sending me delicious goodies that helped me introduce some American Halloween candy to my filippina companion:) Also thank you soo much for the pictures you sent of Christ that I can give away to people! I know they will all be soo happy and grateful! Thanks a ton! Also your card was awesome. It made me smile real big, especially Kylie's creative poem;)

Sister Lilibeth got baptized!!!! Oh my goodness I love this cute family soo much! So in the picture you see Sister Lilibeth obviously dressed in white and then her husband, Brother Rex, is crouching down holding their baby son and then their daughter, Aleah is in pink. Brother Rex used to be a less-active member, but just returned! Meaning he is fully active again:) And now his wife just got baptized and they are the happiest, cutest family ever. 


Yesterday at church, Brother Joemil showed up wearing a button-up shirt and tie for his first time:) Elder McWhorter helped him tie the tie and he was all proud for finally looking the part:) He gave the opening prayer and while he was sitting on the stand, Sister Lazan and I could just see him being a future leader of this branch (that will definitely become a ward shortly:) He came to church with his three adorable daughters and the cutest thing happened when church was over-- I glanced out the window and happened to see the four of them walking home in the rain. Brother Joemil had untucked his shirt and spread it out to cover the heads of all three of his daughters who were all walking right next to him. It was just a tender moment to see such love between a father and his daughters:) 

He told us earlier this week when we taught missionary work, that he wants to focus on sharing the gospel with the rest of his family before sharing it with others. I know that his wife and son will come around in time!

I'm so grateful for the gospel and the hastening of the work at this time. I know we have so much we need to do to help prepare the world for the Second Coming, prepare God's children for the coming of Christ. I remember hearing in the MTC that the world is definitely wicked enough for the Second Coming, but not righteous enough. I'm so grateful for all your support and love! Thanks for being so amazing and for blessing my life!

Love you all tons and tons!
Love, Sister Malyon 



Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 62 in the Philippines - "one more pic"





This is from our fun FHE at the Espinosa home on Monday!

Love ya tons!

Week 62 in the Philippines - "hey there fam"


How are all of you cutie pies doing? Thanks so much for the emails this week! I love hearing from you so much:) Wow, well this week was crazy! I'm sending you a picture of when we went to Bacolod this week and ate at KFC hahahahaha with the two cute sisters that are the only other sisters in our zone, Sister Kumar and Sister Rosario. On Wednesday, we were in Bacolod at the mission home for the leadership meeting with Elder and Sister Ardern. It was sooo neat. I felt soo lucky to get to attend! We learned so much from him as he praised us for the work going on in Bacolod Mission but at the same time inspired us to work so much harder! I learned so much about ways I can improve. It's so crazy. I feel like I need to stay on the mission for another 5 years so I can implement everything I need to work on and become the best missionary I can be! There's so much I need to improve on! But I guess that's how life is; there's always room for improvement and we should constantly be striving to be better, right?:) 

So after the meeting on Wednesday, we stayed the night at a sisters apartment in Bacolod because we had mission tour all day Thursday, so that's when we got to go out to dinner.
It was so much fun Wednesday night to be with other sisters! And then Thursday was amazing as well. I just felt so spiritually uplifted and enlightened this week from being with so many missionaries, hearing of their experiences, and also with a General Authority- feeling of His powerful testimony and witness of the Savior, hearing from him the Lord's will for us in the Bacolod Mission and along with that, receiving so much personal revelation. I love being here so much! We are so blessed to know of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  

One thing I took away from this week, is how important it is to attend church. That is something I have studied over and over again and learned so much about since being on my mission because it is one of our biggest struggles here, getting people to church. Well, I'm sure it's a struggle all over the world. I have gained so much appreciation for mom and dad and their effort to get our whole family to church every Sunday. I'm so grateful that I was raised in a home where Sabbath day observance is so important! Sunday is not Sunday without going to church! I am working on noticing the blessings that have personally come into my life from living such commandments, so I truly testify from my heart, from experience, the blessings that will come to those we teach if they keep the commandments as well. One blessing in our family that has come from keeping the Sabbath Day holy, is how close we are to each other. We couldn't go play with friends, so we played games with each other on Sundays and did other meaningful things together as a family. so awesome. 

We also had a baptism this week!!!!!! It was so beautiful! Brother Steve is awesome. His wife, Sister Rhodora is also awesome:) She's a recent convert and has been praying so hard for her husband to accept the gospel and to change. Brother Steve mentioned in his testimony how he remembers when one day Sister Laulu and I came to teach their family, and normally we just focused on Rhodora because Steve would kind of come in and out, sort of pay attention, not really interested...but one time we looked at him and told him straight up that the gospel was not just for his wife, but him too. And from then on, we focused on him and he focused on applying the gospel to his life. We witnessed so many changes in him and his family. They are so much happier! Brother Steve's confidence has increased, which is so cool to see, even in a grown man. 

We also had the coolest experience this week. So we have this investigator, Brother Ernesto. His son is a less-active member, but doesn't live with him. Brother Ernesto has been taught by missionaries for a long time, well they stopped for a while, but we started teaching him again a couple months ago. He had never been to church, but read the whole Book of Mormon before and loves it. We have been working so hard to resolve his concerns as to why he wouldn't accept a baptismal date and go to church. Early this week, we prayed so hard and let the Spirit lead our lesson with him as we addressed how to receive answers to our prayers. And then Saturday night, we felt prompted that we needed to go back to him to get him to come to church. It was so amazing! He committed to come to church, finally! And the next morning, we arrived at church early and he was already there! He was sitting by a member who was already fellowshipping him (YES!) and he looked so tidy in a button up shirt and a huge smile on his face! We were soooo happy! He ended up having such a good experience at church and we just know that this is his time. So many miracles are happening here! It's just amazing:)

Well, that was a long email. haha I just love you all so much and hope and pray you are happy and seeing the beauty of the rain rather than waiting for the rainbow:) I read a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf about that so don't go thinking Sister Malyon can come up with wise sayings like that haha. Don't worry, I'm still looking forward to wearing my crazy, mickey mouse robe again:) I love the work of the Lord and how involved He is in our lives. I love my Father in Heaven and my Older Brother Jesus Christ so much and hope they can see that through my life. I love you all!

Love, Sister Malyon  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 61 in the Philippines - "pictures finally!!!"

Hey family!!!!

I'm excited to send you pictures because so much happened this week and pictures speak louder than words:) First of all, I love my new companion, Sister Lazan, sooo much! Just like Dad said in his email, she does match my desire to work super hard and we get along so well:) We are so excited to do all we can to help this area grow and become stronger! We are working on helping the branch become a ward, so we have lots and lots to do!

The first picture I attached is from this week in one of our areas that is right along the beach. We freaked out when we saw this amazing sunset and had to stop a to take a few pictures:) Seriously, I still can't believe I get to be in the most beautiful place ever! Can you believe this sunset? 
The second picture is from when we had a dinner appointment this week with the Sioco family. Brother Jeno, branch missionary, and President Castaneda, are also in the picture. I'm sure I've talked about the Sioco family before because three of them are all recent converts. They are so great. We talked about the priesthood this week and Sister Sioco shared how much peace she feels in her life knowing that her very own husband holds the power of God to bless their family. 


I think I totally took that for granted growing up! I feel so extremely blessed that I was raised in a family with the priesthood and that cutie bum dad was always worthy to exercise the priesthood to baptize me, to give me father's blessings...etc. 


Brother Don Don and Sister Jennifer got married!!!!!!!! Friday was their wedding and it turned out sooo well! In this picture, Sister Rhodora is in the purple dress. She is Jennifer's best friend and also a recent convert. She was the one who originally referred, quite a few months ago, the missionaries to teach Jennifer. She's been like their biggest fans in this whole process of getting them married and baptized:) The cute little girls were the flower girls haha. The wedding was actually super simple though in the chapel and it was so neat because there were so many non-members who attended, friends and family of the beautiful bride and groom:) 



Brother Jeno is in the picture all ready for the baptism because Bro Don don and Sis Jennifer both got baptized right after their wedding! haha it was sooo awesome. Of course, we had a separate program for the baptism and everything just turned out so well. Sister Laulu got permission to come attend, which made them really happy:) 

And then on Sunday, at our special sacrament in Sua, Don Don and Jennifer were confirmed the gift of the Holy Ghost and Don Don was ordained the Aaronic Priesthood, office of a priest. It was such a special meeting and the Spirit was so strong and I just felt so much joy and love in the cute little Semillano home with our 35 members/investigators who attended in Sua. We actually needed someone to pass the sacrament, so brother Don Don exercised his priesthood the same day he was ordained and passed the sacrament! It was so amazing and he was glowing! Oh goodness, I just love this work so much! 
Saturday was Brother Joemil and Sister Mary Grace's baptism! It was so wonderful! Their whole family came, which was so awesome. Sister Marian, the mom, has been supportive but not interested for herself, so we were surprised when she showed up! The same goes for the older son, Joemar. But we know that they will come around as well and one day in the near future, the whole Gamarcha family will be members:) I wish you could've all seen Brother Joemil's face when he came up out of the water. I don't think I've seen anyone happier than he was! He was just beaming and gave Brother Jondel, who baptized him, a huge hug! It was so cute. He also bore such a powerful testimony and shared a verse from the Book of Mormon that he loves, 3 Nephi 15:9, and had found in his personal scripture study. so cool. 

Well, that was our incredibly exciting week! Now this week we have a leadership meeting with the Area President, Elder Ardern, on Wednesday, then Mission Tour with him on Thursday and then Brother Steve is getting baptized on Saturday! This work is hastening and so amazing!

I love you all and keep you in my prayers! I hope you feel the excitement of these times when the Lord truly is hastening His work.

I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only and true way for us to experience true, deep and lasting joy here in this life and in the next. I know that Heavenly father loves each of us for who we are, with all of our flaws and weaknesses and gives us the opportunity to change and improve each day through His son, our older brother, Jesus Christ. 

I love you all! 

Love Sister Malyon





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week 60 in the Philippines - "HAPPY HALLOWEEN AND ALL SAINTS DAY!!!!!"

Hello lovely family and cute friends!!!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! They don't really celebrate Halloween, well it's different. November 1 is All Saints Day, so everyone goes to the cemetery to remember the dead and some little kids put on face paint and act like zombies and stuff like that haha. Everyone eats this food called valenciana, which is sticky rice, on All Saints Day. They have this yellow curry kind that's really good with like peas and bits of meat and then they have this sweet kind with coconut and sugar. So we got to eat lots of that on Saturday and still have lots in our fridge! :) So sweet! 

We also went to the cemetery and wrote down information from graves of the relatives of members to help them fill out their pedigree charts. The cemeteries here are so cool because they are all above ground since we're on an island haha. It's like going through a maze of all these graves! And everyone lights candles and puts them by the tombstones on All Saints Day. 

Anyway...I'm excited to share this cool experience with you that happened this week! MIRACLE! So we rode to one of our areas one day and while traveling, talked to the tricycle driver briefly, gave him a pamphlet and our phone number. The next day we got a text from him asking how he can join our church! We were shocked! So then we saw him the next day and he told us how he had a dream where there were two girls and an angel with them. They gave him a blue book in his dream! He said when he woke up, he thought of us! That we were the two girls from his dream! He took us to meet and teach his sister and her family and they were all so receptive and so amazing! 

We've only taught them one time and it had to be a quick visit because it was late in the evening, but we're so excited to keep teaching all of them! This tricycle driver, Brother JR, is sooo golden! He's obviously been prepared and I just can't wait 'til we share with him about and give him a Book of Mormon! ;) 

It's so amazing how Heavenly Father prepares people for the gospel! I know he's preparing people all around you as well, back home. We just have to follow the Spirit, so we'll know what's right and He will use us to connect them to the gospel! I also love how He communicates with us in the way we best understand, like for Brother JR through his dreams.:) 

Also this week we've been planning the wedding for Brother DonDon and Sister Jennifer! We are ssoooooo excited for them!!! They are getting married on Friday and then the baptism will be right after! We were planning with them and President Castaneda (our branch president) and it was just so crazy because none of us know what we're doing! It's Pres. Castaneda's first time to marry anyone, our first time planning a wedding, Jennifer and Don Don's first time...the blind leading the blind haha. Pres C would ask us "so what's the marriage blessing???" and we would say "We don't know!" So we'll see how it all turns out hahahahahaha. 

This weekend is so crazy and so awesome! So the two of them will get married and baptized on Friday and then on Saturday is the baptism of Brother Joemil and his daughter Mary Grace! I'm soooo excited for all of them! It's so amazing to get to be with such amazing people and witness these amazing miracles in their lives! I love missionary work so much:)

Well, yesterday we had Mission Leadership Council, so you should find some pics of us on Pres. FB (just so you know mom:). Our mission is getting ready for our mission tour next week! Elder Ardern, the Area President for the Philippines, is coming to visit our mission!

I hope you are all feeling the Spirit of Christmas already because the Spirit of Christ is a spirit of joy and love! I love you all sooo much and am praying for you! Keep holding on to the iron rod and you will partake of the greatest joy, that of eternal life! 

I love you tons and tons! 
Love Sister Malyon

P.S. Oh! I forgot to tell you I have a new companion. Sister Laulu got transferred yesterday and now I get to serve with cute Sister Lazan! She's a filipina sister from my batch, so we arrived in the mission the same time!  


    

mission leadership council - November 4, 2014

 


 

 

 






Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 59 in the Philippines - "part 2"



This is a picture of Sister Laulu and I with Mommy Boncag. Everyone is the branch calls her "Mommy". I love her sooo much! She is one of my heroes. She's over 70 years old and is one of the most faithful people I have ever met. She is so amazing. This week she worked with us two different days! When she was working with us, we had to climb over this ladder to get over a wall and we had to go on a crazy bumpy road and walk a lot. She never complained, but was so happy to do God's work. She loves sharing her testimony with everyone! In one lesson, it was so cool because she talked about how she knows how important it is to endure to the end. She is a living example of giving your life to God and putting His work and will first in your life, no matter what trials come.

Mommy gave Sister Laulu and I the shirts we're wearing in this picture. hahahah They're definitely old granny shirts, but we knew it would make her happy to see us wear them so we wore them to church yesterday:) Normally she's smiling, so try to picture her with a smile:)







This picture was taken after the Special sacrament in Sua. Jennifer and Don Don (Don is in green and Jennifer is in brown, sitting) are getting married really soon and then they will both get baptized! They have been investigators for quite a while now and are sooo ready and so amazing. They have one daughter, Clarice, who always wants candy! Brother Don Don is the kindest person ever and always gives us rides to and from Sua, no matter what time we need to.

I love being here so much! I'm so grateful for the beautiful restored gospel on the earth! I hope and pray you are all happy and doing just great! 

I love you tons and tons and tons and tons!!!!!
Love, Sister Malyon
  

Week 59 in the Philippines - "part 1"

Hey Family!

This week was so amazing! Full of so many miracles! The most wonderful miracle of the week was the baptism of Jerry Espinosa:) It was soo amazing. So the Espinosa family is this awesome family that we're super close to now. We love them so much! The oldest daughter, Jane, was the first to get baptized back when she was a little girl. Then her older brother, Jeno, got baptized and they were the only members for a while. Their mom came back home from working in Manila earlier this year and got baptized in September, Sister Nory, and then Brother Jerry, the dad, just finally got baptized yesterday! He had actually been taught for a really long time, but something held him back from accepting baptism. The whole family was soo overjoyed that he finally fully accepted the gospel with them:) Sister Jane gave a talk at his baptism and when she was bearing her testimony, she got so
emotional talking about her dad and how excited she is now for their family to prepare to go to the temple to be sealed together! Brother Jeno got to baptize and confirm his father (his first time doing a confirmation!) and Sister Nory was the happiest person you have ever seen witnessing her husband enter the waters of baptism. Brother Jerry gave such a tender, sincere testimony that brought the Spirit so strong into the service. He bore his testimony of how much he knows this church is true and how he should've accepted it a long time ago. He talked of how grateful he is that the missionaries never gave up, never stopped teaching him and his family. He got all emotional while he was bearing his testimony, which was a side of him we've never seen and I'm pretty sure rarely comes out (he's one of those people where it's really hard to tell what they're feeling, doesn't show his emotions normally). Just overall the baptism was sooo wonderful!


Yesterday was such an amazing day! We had our special sacrament in Sua and so many people came and Sister Rhodora gave this awesome talk about love and our less-active member, Brother Dorio, we've been visiting for so long now, finally came for the first time! And one of our investigators, who referred us to her sister this past week, came with her sister to church and they brought their niece. We ended up having so many investigators and it was just so beautiful:) The Lord truly is hastening His work!!!! So the second picture is our cute Sua group

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 58 in the Philippines - "pagbago"


Hey family!

Sorry I didn't write yesterday because we had our Zone Conference yesterday, so our p-day was moved to Tuesday this week. Thanks for the emails! I love hearing from you cuties! 

Well we had a busy week! We ended up doing two exchanges this week, Tuesday with the sisters in Isabella and Thursday with the sisters in Kabankalan. I stayed in the area with Sister Mckee on Tuesday and then I went to Kabankalan for my first time and worked with Sister Watkins there. Both were really amazing experiences working and learning from such devoted, awesome sisters. I feel so privileged and blessed to get to know such incredible people on my mission and work so closely with them. 

While working with Sister McKee on Tuesday we had some cool/funny experiences. We worked out in Sua where we have the special sacrament (which I got to attend for the first time this week!). We went to visit this really old less-active whom I nor Sister Mckee, obviously haha, had never met. We asked people how to get to her house and when we got there we started yelling "Tag balay!" which is what you do instead of knocking on a door:) We said it like 10 times and we could see that she was in there.It was like she was ignoring us and then it dawned on me....I remembered that Sister Laulu told me she's basically deaf! I told Sister McKee and we were just laughing at ourselves. We finally somehow got her attention and taught a quick lesson using pictures:) 

Possibly the best lesson of the day ended up being at the most unlikely place. So Brother Jeno and Sister Jane were with us in the evening appointments and we were about to head home, when we stopped at this burger place called Angel's burgers. They all got burgers and I chose to wait til we got home:) While waiting for the burgers to cook, I asked the cute sister who I had met once before, if we could sing/share with her. SO you can picture this in your mind- this burger place is like a box/stand. So it's just outside and then there's always only one worker who cooks the burgers and outside the box you can sit on these metal stools around it while you wait/eat. I hope that helped haha. So the four of us were the only customers and we sang Jeno's favorite song "Because I Have Been Given Much". She had told me the last time I met her about how she has the night shift because the burger place is 24-7 and even though it's hard, she has to support her baby daughter (single mom). So we tied in the song to sacrifice and how Heavenly Father sees the sacrifice she is giving to her daughter and things like that. I can't remember everything, but I do remember that she got tears in her eyes while we were sharing and testifying to her. We of course ended with a prayer and then she had to serve some other customers. It was so amazing though.We all felt the spirit so strong and I felt this incredible love for cute Sister Evelyn whom I had only met twice. President Lopez talked to us yesterday about bringing the Sacred Grove into the homes of everyone we  visit. It's so crazy how we could even create a mini sacred grove at this outdoor fast food restaurant all because of the power of the spirit:)

Thursday I went down south a couple hours and worked with Sister Watkins in Kabankalan. Kabankalan is actually a separate zone, but they only have one set of sisters, so we are their Sister Training leaders as well. You can see it on that big map, I just thought of, that mom has hanging up! HAHAHAHA :) Oh man I miss you cutie pies! I loved working with Sister Watkins as well and I learned so much from her! 

On Saturday, we got a text from President Lopez telling me that he just baptized Brother Cuchumbu!!!!! I'm pretty sure I told you about him when I was serving in Alijis. Edmundu Cuchumbu was the investigator Sister de Leon and I found and taught who was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from having a stroke and blind. He had to be interviewed by Pres because of his past and Pres ended up getting to baptize him! It made me cry to hear that he got baptized! And Pres said he mentioned me in his testimony. It warmed my heart that he remembered me even though I only knew him for a couple weeks. President Lopez said he posted a picture of his baptism on FB so you should check it out! I talked to Pres about it yesterday and he said they had to have two people lower Brother Cuchumbu in the water because he can't even stand on his feet. I wish I could have witnessed his baptism! but I'm just so happy for him:)

Well, this work is really moving forward! Our training yesterday was focused on family history work and really implementing that in our teachings---filling out pedigree charts with everyone we teach! We're excited to be more involved in missionary work for the dead as well!!!! 

I hope you are all doing fabulously! Thanks for your love and prayers! I love you tons and tons!

Love,Sister Malyon





    

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 57 in the Philippines - "madugang"

So I accidentally broke a mission rule and put a child on my lap, so don't post this pic anywhere, but I just had to show you these beautiful people! So on the left side are JR and Marynol. Marynol is our investigator, but they need to get married in order for her to get baptized, so that's what we're working on! She comes to church pretty much very week though and they are such a cute couple! On the right side is Russian(yeah that's her name:) with her "husband", Darryl. They need to get married too. But we just recently started teaching Darryl and he is so amazing! Russian and JR are both members. Darryl told us this week that he knows God has a purpose for him because he's on his third life. He's been in two crazy accidents where he should have died. He has totally been prepared! 


This is our silly Binalbagan zone! Back to the bukid zones where there are way more elders than sisters haha.

Week 57 in the Philippines - "pagpanumbalik sang ebanghelyo"


HAPPY BIRTHDAY KYLIE BABE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you're all having a grand ol time celebrating the cutie bum kylie poo! 

How's everyone? How was Conference for all of you??? Oh my goodness we just watched it this weekend and it was so amazing. I'm so sad it's already over:( I love General Conference sooo much! It was so great this time they showed it in all the ward meeting houses, so people didn't have travel far distances to get to the Stake Centers.Our cute little branch watched it together on this little tv! :) 

One of my favorite things about Conference, I've decided haha, is the music! I love hearing the Tabernacle Choir so much! Saturday night we were meeting one of our ward missionaries at the church and happened to catch the closing hymn of the priesthood session. Oh my goodness! It gave me the chills!!!! All those elders singing so powerfully together "Oh Babylon oh Babylon we bid thee farewell". Reminded me how awesome it is to be a missionary and a part of such a historical time when there are over 88,000 fulltime missionaries all over the world! So crazy!!!

One other song that really hit me was when MoTab sang "Praise to the Man". It brought tears to my eyes! The intensity with which they sang it and the conviction, testifying of our beloved prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith. I actually really felt like a lot of conference was emphasizing going back the basics-how incredible it is that we have living prophets, the Restoration and renewing/strengthening our testimonies of it, prayer, scripture study, strengthening the family. They are all things that we have been taught over and over again, but somehow, they are so easily neglected. 

I love how one speaker shared about the little boy who asked his mom "What's more important? Prayer or fruit?" Seriously, it all comes down to our priorities and not letting ANYTHING distract us from those fundamental basics of the gospel that we need so desperately every day to keep us safe from all the craziness of the world...aka Satan.   

I just have to update you on Brother Joemil. He is sooo amazing! We taught him this week more about the Restoration and when we committed him to baptism on Nov. 8, he asked us how he can prepare, what he needs to do. Wow. That is such an awesome question. He has the most sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ and to change and be so much better! He came with cutie Mary Jane to Conference yesterday-- not just morning session like most everyone else, but they came back for afternoon session as well! Even though it was all in English (by the way, how awesome to let them speak in their native tongues!), he really enjoyed Conference and told us what he got out of it. He told us that the one thing he understand and got out of it, was about how our life is like being in a boat and we have to stay in. He said the life jacket is the Holy Spirit who protects us and that we have to hold on tight with both hands, meaning trust in the Lord and everything will be okay. Sister Laulu and I were so shocked listening to him tell us what he got out of Conference. He just amazes me.  

One experience this week testified to me of the scripture 
1 Nephi 3:7. So one of our recent converts, Brother Sioco, works as a security guard. He has work everyday from the morning to the late afternoon. His work is out in the far area where we have a special Sacrament, so before he got baptized, he asked his boss for just 1-2 hours off to attend church. After a couple months of that, his boss told him he could get Sundays completely off so that he can worship God. So now he comes to church with his son and wife every week at the regular meeting house! It just strengthened my testimony that when we have the desire to keep the commandments of God and we do our best to do so, God takes care of the rest and He truly does provide a way for us to keep them. It's all according to our faith! 

I'm so grateful for the amazing people in my life! For all of the incredible people I get to meet everyday of my life here in the mission field and of course, for all of you! I feel so extremely blessed to be surrounded and supported by followers of Christ! I love you all soooooooooooooooooooooooo(dad;) much! Thanks for holding on tight to the boat so we can all arrive safely into the arms of our Heavenly Father and be with him as a family FOREVER! Keep it up! 

Love you all tons and tons! 
Love, Sister Malyon

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 56 in the Philippines - "tubo sa kampo"

My dear wonderful family!!!

SALMAT GID!!!!SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously feel like the luckiest missionary in the whole wide world! Thank you so much for the awesome and delicious package you sent me!  You are so amazing. I love you all so much. I have to admit when I was reading your beautiful testimonies of the Book of Mormon, I got pretty choked up. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a strong family centered on the gospel. Your testimonies strengthen me so much! I am trying to think of the perfect people to give Book of Mormons to with your testimonies:) We have extra ones I will put the other two testimonies in. And the delicious treats! You're the best! Sister Laulu and I were lovin life eating those amazing brownies and chocolate covered nuts! Sister Laulu kept saying "Man, your mom is the best. These are sooo good!" Thanks a ton! 


Well we had exchanges again this week and I got to go to Binalbagan! I attached a picture of the two cute sisters who are assigned in Binalbagan. I got to work for a day with Sister Kumar, who is from Figi, but her family's Indian. She is so hilarious! We had a really awesome day working in their area, teaching lots of lessons, and learning from each other. Their ward missionary who worked with us, Charlie, just recently returned from being super less-active. For a long time in his youth, he totally fell away from the church and got involved in like a gang doing not so good things. I asked him why he came back and he said he finally got to a point where he realized something was missing in his life, so all on his own, he decided to get back involved in the church. Now he works with the missionaries, bears such a strong testimony of the gospel and is preparing to serve a mission himself! So amazing. I can't believe I get to meet such incredible people everyday and witness the miracle of the Atonement in people's lives. 

Jaimie wrote me this week! Thanks Jaims! She also talked in her letter about a missionary she met who has a similar story. It just amazes me how loving our Father in Heaven is. I truly believe that He has provided a way for every single one of His children to come back to Him and He does all He can within our agency, to get us on that path, no matter how far or how often we fall away from it. 

Oh my goodness. I have to tell you about probably the highlight of my week. So Saturday morning we went out early to work because we were supposed to have a Relief Society broadcast later, which ended up getting canceled. But there was purpose behind it because when we went out in the morning, we visited one of our recent converts, a 10 year old girl, Maryjane. Her father was there, our first time meeting him, and he willingly joined our lesson, Of course, we focused on him and started teaching lesson one with him. We invited them to come with Maryjane to church the next day and the father said he would. Maryjane's face lit up brighter than the sun and she had the biggest smile on her face! The two of them have this really endearing relationship-you can just tell they are super close. It made me miss my daddy!:) 

The next morning, as we were welcoming everyone to church, in walked Maryjane with her father! No words can do justice trying to describe the joy on Maryjane's face the whole 3 hours at church. Which of course also filled me with so much joy too. It was so amazing after meeting her father and teaching him one time, he came to church! And we found out he is related to the first counselor in the branch presidency and some awesome brothers fellowshipped him at church. 

As they were leaving at the end of church, Brother Joemil (Maryjane's dad), thanked us and said he wants to come back next week! MIRACLE! Later that evening, we visited them and when we asked Brother Joemil about his experience at church, he said that he felt sorry for all the things he's been doing wrong. He learned a lot about what he needs to change to become better. He is so prepared. I still can't believe it! It even brings tears to my eyes as I'm emailing you.

I just want you all to know that I love you so much. I love this gospel with all my heart and know that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to feel true peace and true joy in this life and in the next. We are so blessed! I love missionary work so much! I will try this week to get you a picture of cutie bum Maryjane and her papa:)

Thanks so much for your testimonies, your support and love. You strengthen me so much. We visited a family this week who has a son serving and the youngest in the family has been less-active. We told him about how much it means to us as missionaries to hear about the good things our siblings are doing and their involvement in the church. We told him that what he does can have an impact on his brother who's serving a mission and invited him to church. He came yesterday! Woohoo! 

It just got me thinking about how grateful I am for such an amazing, strong family. I love you all tons and tons! I hope General conference lifted your souls! I'm excited to watch it this week:)

Love love love, 
Sister Malyon