Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 24 in the Philippines - "you're the best!"

Baptism with Relief Society members that came to support! Sister April is Dave's wife and she works with us quite a bit (pink pants), Sister Fanny is the RS pres (red shirt), Sister Gasper takes in anyone who doesn't have their family here with them (green hat) and Sister Sprite is a policewoman, Stake YW pres, has the cutest little kids (striped shirt).   
             my puti(white) carabao and sister parada's itum(black) carabao hahahahahahaha
                                               the white one is way ugly! hahaha

Dear friends and fam!

Thank you so so so so much for the surprise Valentines package! I got it this week and it was the sweetest thing ever! I had no idea! Thank you so very much. I made sure to share the delicious chocolates and amazing snickerdoodles with Sister Parada, Sister Shakespeare and SIster Buban:) They all loved the treats as well! I also loved reading mom and dad's talks! SO good! We've been stressing the importance of paying tithing so much lately in our mission. Every meeting with our mission pres, he talks about it. Because lack of paying tithing is the biggest barrier keeping people from being able to go to the temple. Just two days ago, Sister Parada and I were teaching some investigators about the law of tithing and Sister Parada briefly shared the story about mom and dad!:) I had told her about your story with the immediate blessings that came from paying your tithing and so then she shared it in our lesson! It's so awesome that there is such a specific promise that God gives us for living the law of tithing. He promises that there will be food on your table everyday. That's such an applicable promise here.  Thank you so much for your testimonies of paying your tithing!

Also I'm super excited to use the object lessons you sent me!!

We had another baptism this week!!!! This area is so amazing. There are so many people ready and receptive to the gospel. This is truly the time to harvest, harvest, harvest. So the two that got baptized are Angelina and Maricel. Maricel is the mother of the little girl who got baptized on Christmas and Angelina is Maricel's mom. Their family is so awesome and they have such strong faith. Angelina's husband has already passed away and Maricel's husband left her or something like that, so they are superheroes and work so hard everyday to sell vegetables, raise Mariacel's two kids and even help support the families of Angelina's other children. They have such strong faith. Their house was completely destroyed during the typhoon and so the ward is helping rebuild it. It's been so awesome to teach them because actually Maricel was baptized before when she was like 14, but they lost her record. Back then, her mother listened as well but something kept her from being baptized. As soon as we started teaching her mom, it was so obvious that she was ready and this was her time to accept the gospel fully. So Maricel got rebaptized with her mother!

Last monday we had a FHE with this family who is seriously family to me, the Bulahan family. I love them so much. We call the dad, tatay (dad) and he calls us his children haha. They referred their niece to us so we've been teaching her and she's getting baptized this week! So we had a FHE with all of them and used mom's object lesson about repentance with the mud and stuff. Then we played some games and it was so funny. FIrst of all, they are all way comfortable around me now so they love making fun of me. It's pretty hilarious. It makes me feel like I'm at home:) hahahahaha We played this game where you have to make animal noises and they all thought it was the funniest thing ever because the animal noises I make are all different than theirs! 

Also yesterday, after church, they asked me to help get a ward choir number ready for our ward conference. It was so funny. Brother Dave, who you met when I skyped home, is in charge and asked for my help. He wants them to sing parts for the song "Families Can Be Together Forever". So I worked for quite a while trying to help the altos learn their part. It was so hard. I would run through it with them and then I when I would have the sopranos come and for all of them to sing, everyone would just belt it at the top of their lungs and it sounded awful. Sister Parada was just laughing the whole time. It didn't help that the stinkin F key doesn't work! So I had to keep playing the F for them an octave higher and it would always throw everyone off. Good times...:)

Yesterday was so awesome because one of our recent converts, Gregin, who moved to Iloilo, came to our ward for a visit! It was such a great surprise. He showed us a picture of the three elders teaching him now in Iloilo and he told us about how he has been sharing the gospel with his roommates. One of them asked him for a Book of Mormon and two of them listened to the missionaries with him. He's so awesome. The gospel is so great and missionary work is seriously the best.

I love you all so much! 

Keep safe! Be strong! God loves you so much and is always there for you, I promise:) 

Lots of love, Sister Malyon

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 23 in the Philippines - "damang"

How's everyone? Kamusta kamo? Happy Valentines Day!!!! What did you
all do to celebrate V-day? I hope you spread the love:) They celebrate
V-day here pretty much like we do. All the red paper was sold out and
bakeries were selling cupcakes with hearts on them. One of our cutie
bum investigators, Cyrell, the little sister of RC Welche, gave us
each a Valentine's card that she made. It was the cutest thing ever.
She wrote mine in English and Sis Parada's in Tagalog. I will
definitely save it forever. We also had a member give us these little
fake roses. So cute! We cut out some hearts and stuck them on our
glass door to add to our Christmas snowlflakes that are still up.
Maybe I'll still be here for Easter and we can add some eggs! 

 We had another awesome baptism this week! Ruel, who is dating a
member, got baptized. He's 19 and super awesome. We had exchanges this
week so Sister Shakespeare who is a STL, came to work with me in our
area. We went to teach Ruel earlier this week and she asked him why he
was getting baptized. He then bore his testimony that it's because he
knows this church is true and that it was restored through the prophet
Joseph Smith. It all goes back to the restoration:) I love how pure
and simple and beautiful his testimony is-- Like, of course I will get
baptized because I know this is the true church! The baptism was
pretty small because he was the only one getting baptized this week
but we had some members come support and it went really well. 

Every third Sunday in this ward, the missionaries are supposed to
speak. So this month was the sisters' turn. Yesterday Sister Parada
gave an awesome talk about the Book of Mormon and how important it is
that we read from the Book of Mormon everyday. I decided to sing
instead of speak this time:) Sister Shakespeare was super awesome and
played the piano for me and we performed the "I Believe In Christ"
arrangement that Mom sent me. It turned out really well even though we
only got to practice once. Because we were bearing testimony of Christ
through the song, Heavenly Father helped touched people's hearts
through the song. Our RC, Pamela, told me it brought tears to her eyes.
She's so sweet and so receptive to the spirit. It's so great. Thanks
Mom for the music! 

One more spiritual experiece and then I'l share a funny story. So when
I was on exchanges with Sis Shakespeare, which I really loved, we went
to teach the moms that I talked about quite a while ago. They came to
church one time, the three moms with all their kids. Anyway, we
haven't been able to visit them in a while and this time when we went,
the only one there was Sister Rowena. She was doing laundry on the
river so we just called from across the river and said we'd come back
in a couple days. We started to leave and then I had this feeling we
should go back, cross the river and share with her while she was doing
laundry. So we did! (I've been working really hard to pay more
attention to the spirit and follow it's promptings lately.) 

We got a banana leaf to sit on and told her she could keep doing her laundry if
we could just share with her. Oh my goodness, it was such a testimony
to me that I need to always follow the spirit. She opened up and told
us all about a couple weeks ago when she had to go to the hospital
and she thought she was going to die. She told us about how she was
just praying so hard and God spared her life. We talked to her about
the doctrine of Christ, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift
of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end and it was just what she
needed. The spirit was so strong and we felt prompted to commit her to
baptism. We found out that she has her daughter read to her the Book
of Mormon every evening. She can't read so she encourages her kids to
because she wants them to be smarter than she is. She is so
amazing and I'm so excited to help her progress to baptism! 

The gospel is so beautiful! I love the hope and peace it brings into
our lives, everyone who humbles themselves, to accept the glorious
message into their minds and into their hearts. 

Real quick, just last night, Sister Parada and I were getting a ride
home on a tricycle. So we were sitting int the little side car, in the
front with the plastic window of the side car right in front of us.
There was this HUGE spider seriously as big as my fist, on the plastic
window right in front of our faces, maybe a foot away. But then it
started climbing up, getting closer to our faces because the front is
slanted. And then it dropped! We were freaking out but trying so hard
to be quiet so that we wouldn't disturb the driver. It was night and
super dark, so we couldn't see where it went. I just started shaking
around hoping that it wasn't on me anywhere. It was so freaky. Finally
we shone our flashlight and we saw it crawling out through a crack
under our feet. Oh my goodness, it was so terrifying. 

Fun times in the Philippines!!!! I love being here, but I also miss
your cutie pie faces! I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week!

Love, Sister Malyon

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 22 in the Philippines - "paglaum"

Wow, this week was great. But how are all of you? Thanks so much for all the emails and love and support. You are all just so great. That's exciting it snowed in Bellevue! WOOHOO!!! Just be careful and don't slide into any ditches...hahaha I'll do the same and try not to slide in the mud:) 

So we had another baptism this week! I love this work so much. I feel so blessed to be here! We've been teaching a group of people in this one neighborhood and this one mother and her son have been progressing so quickly. The son, Mark, who's 8, was baptized on Saturday. His mom, Rowena, is totally ready to get baptized, but we're waiting for her husband to come back from Manila so they can get married first. It's really hard for people to get married here because they have to pay the Catholic church lots of money to get married, so lots of people just don't. Thank goodness for the beautiful services of the LDS church that offer FREE weddings. We have a stake president here that is authorized to conduct marriages. It would be awesome if the father of this family will listen and accept the gospel as well so the whole family can be members! 

Anyway, about Markie, he's this crazy but super cute little boy and his BFF is a boy named Bonjoy who is part of a super active family in our ward. I'm sending a pic of the two cutie bums. We asked Bonjoy to speak at the baptism and he did! He was so nervous but he did it. It was the cutest thing ever. He got up in front of everyone with his mini Book of Mormon and talked about Nephi and faith and then bore his testimony. Then when Markie got in the water to get baptized, Bonjoy was right there as close as he could get to watch his friend:) Markie was so funny. As soon as he got in the water and the elder was holding his arm, he kept trying to go down in the water! He kept thinking it was time! He was so excited to get baptized! hahaha The elder had to keep him up until the right time. 

On Sunday, during sacrament meeting, I was in the back trying to help with some of the kids. Markie was running around so  I finally got him to draw me some pictures in my notebook. Then I gave him one of the pictures you sent me of Jesus getting baptized. I told him he got baptized just like Jesus and he was just staring at the picture and said "Just like Jesus?" It was so cute. Thanks mom for sending me those pictures to give to people! They love them!

Remember Pamela who got baptized a few weeks ago? Well, this week she worked with us for a it! She came with us to visit this LA sister that we've been visiting ever since we got here and she has never come to church. Pamela came with us and bore such a powerful testimony to Arline, the LA, about how grateful she is for the gospel and the impact it has made in her life and in her family's life. She helped sort through the LA sister's different concerns and things that were holding her back from coming to church. It was amazing. And guess what? Sister Arline came to church!

Also, we started teaching two more of Sister Pamela's grandchildren. Remember Welche? Who got baptized with Pamela? Now we're teaching her two younger siblings. They are 10 and 8. The first time we taught them lesson 1 and invited them to church and they came with Pamela and Welche. The second time we taught them, we gave them Book of Mormons and they were so excited! They had both already started reading their sister's Libro ni Mormon and were so excited to get their own! We hadn't even asked them to read yet and they already had! They're so cute. Their mom is supportive, but believes she can just learn on her own from reading the Bible and doesn't need religion. I'm sure she and their father will come around at some point:)

This week we went to this far area and met the family of one of our ward missionaries who helps us  a lot. On our way, we were riding in this super packed tricycle and then we stopped and the driver told some people they had to get off. A little ways up ahead, there were some police men doing a police check. Apparently having people ride on top of the side car and hanging off the side was "overload", so that's why the driver left them. So we passed the police check, went a little farther, dropped off some more people around the corner, then went back and picked up the other people, passed the police check once more and then picked up the other people around the corner and continued on our way. I just found it really funny:) Working the system!

Another funny cultural thing that happened this week...:) So this week was Sister Parada's birthday! I made her a sweet poster and the other sisters bought her this awesome superman pinata and stuffed it with soo much candy. For lunch, Sister Shakespeare had told me they had this idea to get candles and roast marshmallows and hot dogs for fun. So lunch time came and Sister Shakespeare was getting the candles and stuff and then Sister Buban (filippino) was over at the sink cutting up the hot dogs. Sis Shake told her we didn't need to cut them up and Sis Buban was all confused. Long story short haha, Sister Buban and Sister Shake had diff ideas of what marshmallows and hot dogs meant. Sis Buan wanted to make SIs Parada this thing that's tradition for kids here, where you stick a marshmallow and a piece of cooked hot dog on a bunch of little sticks. Sis Shake thought marshmallows and hot dogs meant roasting them over fire like we do in the states. So we ended up doing both!
Life is so funny here. I just love it so much. I hope you are all finding "joy in the journey" too!!!! If not, just try to imagine poor Sister Malyon working so hard to overcome her fear of chickens. It's a constant battle:)

I love you so much! Keep holding on to the iron rod! The word of God, the Book of Mormon is so powerful in keeping us on the strait and narrow path that will lead us to everlasting life in the presence of our loving Heavenly Parents! Think of how awesome it is that you get to have your very own Book of Mormon, just like Pamela's grandkids, Cyrill Jane and March, that I wrote about earlier.

Lots of love,
Sister Malyon   

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 21 in the Philippines - "there will be miracles if you believe"

This week was so amazing. We had so many members work with us this week, which was just so great. The works moves soooo much faster when members and missionaries work together side by side. I have such a testimony of that. It was so neat this week we went to teach Sister Pamela and Welche and some of their cousins were there so we taught them the first lesson. We invited them to church, they're like 9 and 10 years old I think, and they came to church! Sister Pamela was so cute and so happy to tell us she brought her grandkids to church with her. She's already such an awesome member missionary and she just got baptized! Also another one of our investigators brought a couple of her grandkids to church as well! One of them is maybe 18 or so and we only met him once and he came to church! So awesome. It helps big time that he already has a friend that's a member. I love Sundays when people come to church!!!!!! 

We had Mission Pres training and interviews with Pres. Lopez, first the two of us together and then separate. In our companionship interview he videoed us teaching him the law of tithing in Ilonggo. It was a little intimidating. It was so funny though cuz part way through, the tablet he was using to video, fell over. President started laughing so hard. He thought it was the funniest thing ever. haha There's this new elder in our zone who just arrived a few weeks ago and talking to him just brought back so many memories of when I first arrived and couldn't understand or speak a word! It's crazy to think I've been in the field for almost 5 months now. It still feels like I just got here! 

The other day we were riding back from one of our far areas, like 20 minute tricycle ride, and it was dusk so the sun was setting.I was squeezed in this little tricycle with more people than should be allowed and had one of those moments where I just felt so amazed and so blessed that I am here. I was just admiring the beautiful sun set behind the sugarcane fields and palm trees with the mountains in the background. It looked so magical and to think that this is where I get to live and serve and be right now. I know that Heavenly Father loves me:) We were actually on our way back from visiting a family who lives totally secluded and they're Less-active because the dad can't walk anymore. I think I told you about the mom before and how she climbs the coconut trees like it's no big deal.Well this time they sent us home with like 10 coconuts! So the coconuts were rolling around on the top of the tricycle as we were riding home. I love the coconut water so much, just drinking it straight from the coconut. 

I also have a new lola, grandma here. We've been teaching her daughter who sells these donut things. We met her when we bought her donuts one time. We've been teaching her and now we're freinds with her mom, who is 88 years old and sews pot holders to sell. She gave us four pot holders this week as a gift! So sweet. The other day we were teaching Bebe, the daughter, and while we were saying the closing prayer, the lola came out and just went up behind me and put her arms around my neck.She just stayed there til the prayer ended. She's the cutest old lady in the world. It's so awesome how as soon as you meet someone here, you become family to them. Everyone is so welcoming and loving.
Well, sorry for making you all jealous that I'm here in the most beautiful place ever! But trust me there are lots of challenges as well:) I love you all so much! I truly appreciate your prayers and support and love soooo much! You're the best! You all inspire me.I love that you're so involved with missionary work!
Love you all tons and tons!!!!
Love,Sister Malyon