Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 20 in the Philippines - "SALAMAT!!"

Dear awesome fam,

I have the best family ever!!!!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!!! I finally got my christmas package on saturday, so I got to celebrate christmas all over again! OH my goodness, I have the best family ever. Thank you so so so so so so much! You should've seen how extremely excited I was when I got home and found your package on my desk. I screamed:) The couple missionaries had dropped it off earlier that day. I also got our family christmas card. Jonny pots did an awesome job! That's super sweet you put a pic from my mission on it:) 

Well, about this week. The coolest miracle happened this week. So we've had this investigator ever since we got here that we were so excited about. She was referred to us by a super strong member and when we taught her she seemed so goldne. but then she got a job working on sundays and could never come to church. She stopped progressing and we were having a really hard time getting ahold of her. THis week we talked about her in our district meeting to get some ideas. They told us to try talking to her boss and teaching him and stuff like that. The same day, after district meeting, I texted her (Ann is her name), and she responded by saying that her contract ended and she didn't have a job anymore. She then texted and said that since she didn't have work, she wanted to go to church this sunday, without us even saying anything. It was crazy!!!! God answered our prayers! So we got to teach her this week and she came to church for her first time! She was so cute and brought her Book of Mormon with her and everything. She's 19 years old and I'm so excited for her to keep progressing. I know that if she keeps her commitments and follows Christ, God will help her find a new job or something. He will take care of her no matter what. 

Also, we had another baptism this week!!!!!! His name is Gregin and he is soooo awesome. I don't think I've told you much about him yet. His girlfriend is a member and so she referred him to us. He's 22 and super smart. We've been able to teach him pretty quickley because he had been going to church for a while before we even met him and he caught on to everything super fast. His baptism was on Saturday and he bore his testimony and it was so awesome. He's sooo strong. He was so happy all day. He spent the day with us and the ward members doing different service activites. We first helped out with a feeding program thing the relief society put on in one of our areas. We got to find a lot or new investigators! And then a group of members came with us to have a FHE at the home of a LA member who lives in our farthest area, Bulanan. It was so great. Gregin came with his girlfriend to the FHE and there were like 10 or 12 members that all came with us. We had such a great FHE and after Sis. Parad ana I shared the lesson, everyone went around and bore their testimony. The spirit was so strong. It was such a neat expereince. I felt so happy and so much love for everyone in that room. THey strengthened me by their testimonies. Gregin bore his testimony for the second time that day and he was still just grinning and beaming so much! On Sunday he received the gift of the holy ghost and was ordained with the aaronic priesthood. I'm so happy for him. I know he will be such a great example to his family. 

Every time we have a baptism, I am overwhelmed with feelings of such gratitude. It's so incredible that God is allowing me to participate in such sacred and beautiful and incredible work. He has put His trust in me to qualify people, His precious children, for baptism. It's such a beautiful miracle every time I get to witness someone gain a testimony of the gospel and apply the gospel to thier lives and enter into the sacred and wonderful convenant with God to follow and respresent christ for the rest of their lives.It's just so amazing!

Thanks so much for all of your love and for supporting me and making me so happy! I love you all sooooo much! Family, friends, everyone! I feel so blessed to have such awesome support. I hope you are all healthy and feeling strong and happy! God loves you and will take care of you because you are His precious child. I love you so much too!!!!!!!

Love, Sister Malyon  

P.S. I'm sending a pic from the FHE. Gregin is on the far right in the red shirt with kind of spiky hair:)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 19 in the Philippines - "miracles happen"

How's everyone? Sounds like everyone's been getting sick:( I will keep you all in my prayers and hope you'll all get better quickly!  I love you all so much! It's actually been pretty cold here the past two weeks now, in terms of cold in the philippines:) It's been Seattle weather lately haha. It's actually kind of nice not to be sweaty all the time, really nice actually. 

Oh my goodness this weekend was soooo amazing! Pamela and her granddaughter, Welche were both baptized and confirmed! I love them so much. Witnessing their baptisms on Saturday was like the happiest day of my life. Sister Pamela got up to bear her testimony and started crying as she talked about how we met her. She told about how she asked if we would come back and have Bible study with her. Yeah she was the one to invite us to teach her! She then told about how she couldn't understand the feelings that she felt when we taught her, it was like indescribable for her. She bore her testimony of the gospel and it was so beautiful.She's sooo grateful to be a member of the true church of Jesus Christ and she's so strong. Hearing her brought tears to my eyes and the spirit was so strong. Welche, who's 13, also bore her testimony. It was the best. Then on Sunday, Sister Pamela's father came! We've met him before but never taught him or anything. Pamela bought a skirt so she could look her best for getting confirmed:) She and Welche were sooo happy when they received the gift of the holy ghost. They were just glowing. 

I just feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to be apart of such incredible work, God's work. He's allowing me to witness the incredible miracle of conversion, of seeing people change their lives to come unto Him. It's the best thing ever. 

We've had such an amazing week. God has been blessing us so much. We started teaching this awesome family this week that we are so excited about. We met the father because he is a c-cad driver and gave us a ride home one day. We both could feel something different about him. He has this really soft voice and was like the nicest person we've ever met. We visited and taught his whole family this week and as soon as I pulled out the pamphlet, the youngest son got really excited and said that his dad had that! We had given his dad a pamphlet before. So Jason ran and got the pamphlet to show us:) 

I just can't even believe how many people God has prepared here for the gospel. SO many people are ready to hear the truth and it's so awesome to be led to them or when they are led to us. I know that God is in control and He wants all of His children to hear of the glorious news of the gospel restored once more on the earth. He wants so much for all of us to be happy and to return to live in His presence. 

I love you all so much! I hope you're all doing well and staying warm! If you ever start to feel down or have negative thoughts, just pray:) I've learned that that is the trick. God wants to help us be happy and will answer your prayers every time you pray. 

Love, Sister Malyon

P.S. I held a chicken. Can you believe it? me either

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 18 in the Philippines - "tiki and ilaga"

Hi family!
It's so good to hear from some of you cutie pies! I love you all so much. It sounds like you all had a really nice Christmas break and got to really focus on the Savior and spending time with eachother. That's soo awesome. I'm so envious you spent time in the Olympic Peninsula! That sounds so beautiful and peaceful. It's probably a little similar to what some of my area is like:) I'm sending a pic of when we went to Bulanan, the area I talked about last time that where the sister was climbing coconut trees and stuff.

We still have the baptism date for Pamela for Jan 18! I'm so excited for her. We feel so close to her and her family. Yesterday she had her interview after church and she was just glowing when she got done with the interview. She's so ready! It's been raining a lot this past week and it's actually gotten kind of cold! I got out my cardigan for like the first time! It was pouring rain yesterday and whenever it rains, less people come to church because it's harder for them to travel in the rain, especially from the far places.

I was a little worried Pamela might not show up because she lives kind of far and her house is always super muddy, so I knew it would be really bad. We were sitting in the first class Relief Society, with like 4 other sisters, and she walked in! She told us it was really hard to get out because of the huge puddles/rivers and mud, but she made it! She's the best. I love her so much. She has so much faith, it's amazing. She has so much faith that her husband will change and will someday come to church with her. She has such a desire to so what's right, to trust God and do His will. She's such an awesome example to me. I really hope her children and grandchildren will follow her example.

A couple weeks ago, we went to teach one of our investigators and when we showed up at her house, her casket was sitting there in the middle of the room. It was crazy. She passed away on Christmas day, only 13 years old. She had heart failure and they couldn't get her to Bacolod in time to get help. Here, when someone dies, they set up the casket in their house with the body for people to come visit and then they gamble until they get enough money to pay for the burial and everything. So for a couple weeks, Nia's body was in her house and we would go visit her mom, who was always sitting there with the casket, and try to comfort her and share scriptures with her. One time, we gave the mom a Book of Mormon and taught about the spirit world, Alma 40, about spirit paradise. The next time we went, the Book of Mormon was open, sitting up on the casket. 

Anyway, this week, we got to hold a little service for her from our church. Her family is Catholic, but they said we could have a service for her. The bishop was really awesome about setting it up. So on Friday, the day before they had their service at the Catholic church and the burial, a group of maybe 15 of us members gathered at the family's house. The family joined us and Sister Parada gave a really great talk about eternal families and bishop talked about the Plan of Salvation. Nia's dad said a few words and they seemed touched and grateful for the support. 

On Saturday, Sister Parada and I went to the burial at the cemetery. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I know that Nia will accept the gospel in spirit paradise and I hope and pray her family will listen and accept our message as well. 

I'm so grateful for the gospel and the opportunity to share it with my beautiful brothers and sisters here in Bacolod mission! I'm so blessed. I'm grateful that God is so directly involved in this work and He is leading the way. He is so good to me, always giving me what I need to do His work. 

I'm so grateful for all of your support and love! Thanks so much!
Love, Sister Malyon

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 17 in the Philippines - "a new year"

Wow, it's 2014! CRAZY! A new year and new beginnings. It's so great. We had super high attendance at church yesterday. Aren't New Year's Resolutions so great?:) A member asked our investigator who has a baptismal date on Jan. 18 what her new year resolution is and she said to get baptized into this church! She's the best. Another LA told us that since it's a new year, he's gonna forget being offended and start over by being active in church again. YAY! And this LA family that we've been visiting ever since we arrived, finally all came to church together! It made me soooo happy and they were so cute all sitting together at church. 

I have gained such a testimony of miracles happening all the time this past week. God is so merciful and loving and he answers prayers and helps us accomplish and fulfill our righteous desires. He is leading His work and making sure that His purposes are being fulfilled. I love being a part of it!

The other day we were visiting the moms, the ones that remind me of the Tribe women. They haven't been coming to church or really keeping their commitments, so we were getting kind of frustrated. We were feeling like they just aren't progressing. And then we taught them a lesson and at the end, I asked this one mom to pray for us. We've asked her so many times to pray and she never has. She's kind of like the leader of all of them. And this time she agreed to pray! It was so beautiful! I was so happy her children got to hear her pray out loud and be example to them. Most people are religious here and pray, but often they feel uncomfortable praying out loud. When someone prays out loud for the first time, there's like this added power and it feels like they are coming closer to God in a way. I don't really know how to explain it.

Also, another little miracle has to do with our awesome investigator, Brian. He's dating a member, 19 years old, and the nicest person on the planet. He goes to church every week, but there were some concerns he had about getting baptized. He told us like 2 weeks ago that he proabably wouldn't get baptized for another year or so. awesome. BUT last weekend he went with friends to the YSA conference they had in Cadiz. He told us all about it and how it changed his life. He said he felt this burning in his heart when they had a testimony meeting and they talked about missionary work and did some role playing. He said he felt like that's what he needs to do. He wants so much to serve God and he knows that he needs to serve a mission. His testimony grew and his desire to be baptized grew as well. His grandma's heart has been softened and she's accepting of his decision, which he was worried about. The only person left is his mom. She comes home this week and he's gonna talk to her about his decision, so we're praying that she'll be accepting as well. I'm so happy for Brian and that God is helping him come closer to Him.

Back to Pamela, who is super excited for her up-coming baptism. She's so awesome. Every time we teach her, I feel like she's teaching us, but in her humble awesome way. The other day, we asked her about her reading and she said she read Jacob. I thought we were gonna have to try to explain the allegory to her, but she just proceeded to explin the whole thing to us! She also came to the Christmas party this week and brought all the kids with her that we've been teaching in her neighborhood. She's so sweet. Also, she went and visited a LA member who lives near her and invited her to come to church. She asked her why she doesn't come and told us she didn't understand why she made up these excuses. Pamela is already fellowshipping people and she's not even a member yet!

This week we went out to this part of our area called Bulanan. It's like a 20-25 minute tricycle ride away from the city. We went on a serious adventure to find this LA family--their daughter contacted us on FB and asked us to visit her parents. We had a sister come with us to show us where they lived. It had rained like the day before, so it was super super muddy. (Sis Parada slipped pretty bad) 

This family lives super secluded, away from everything, in the middle of the jungle. We had to cross a river going over a bridge, which was sooo beautiful. We were seriously walking through the jungle.Indiana Jones adventure:) When we finally got to their house, the sister right away started climbing trees to get down coconuts for us. She was so talented oh my goodness! She just climbed these super tall coconut trees without anything, just her hand and feet! She was so fast! she carried a knife with her and then cut down coconuts for us. I was amazed. so cool. The coconuts were delicious! We drank the coconut water and then scooped out the coconut.

The work is moving forward in our area, which is super exciting! I'm so grateful to be here! Thanks so much for all the love and support! I have the best family and freinds ever!
I love you all sooo much! I wish you all the very very best for the year 2014! I'm excited for what this year holds in store for all of you cutie pies! Keep the faith! I love you:)

Love, Sister Malyon