Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 33 in the Philippines - "God's hand in our lives"

How are all of you? What's new? I hope you are all doing fabulously and fulfilling your dreams! :) This week was full of little miracles, witnessing God's hand in my life. I have such a strong testimony that when we are trying our best to do what is right, Heavenly Father uses us to fulfill His purposes, to put us where He needs us to be to bless His children. I decided I want to be more organized with my emails because I tend to just ramble. So here goes my attempt:

There were three things I learned/re-learned this week that I'm going to share with you-relating to certain experienences.
1. The power of the Priesthood is real and works miracles
2. God knows us so perfectly and cares about what we care about
3. The power of music in bringing the Spirit

So on Tuesday, we had this FHE set up with a family and when we arrived at their house, we found that the mom, Sister Era, was super sick. She had been to the hospital earlier that day but didn't have the money she needed to get the tests done for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with her. She had this extreme sharp pain and couldn't really do anything. She was in so much pain. We found some priesthood holders near by and asked if they would come giver her a blessing. The brethren we asked were so awesome and immediately stopped whatever they were doing to come with us. Sister Era's husband, Ricky, is a recent convert and also less-active. He ended up opening up to us and the whole thing was a really spiritual experience with his wife receiving a blessing. We realized that night that the reason we set up that FHE was not to have a FHE, but was so that we would be at this sister's house when she needed us and so we could find people to come give her a blessing. It's so amazing how Heavenly Father works. And then, the next morning we went to check on their family and found that sister Era didn't have pain anymore. She testified to us of the power of the priesthood and how grateful she was for the blessing she received. Her faith is so strong and Heavenly Father was able to perform a miracle for their family. 

One day this week, we had a really tough time. It was the hottest day of our lives, no one would give us the time of day to even share for a few minutes with them, we walked for hours and hours and were feeling a little discouraged. But Heavenly Father recognized our efforts and because He loves us so much, blessed us with a tender mercy at the end of the day. We went to visit a couple investigators we have that live at a boarding house-- college students. Mark was there and so happy to see us. We ended up having this really awesome lesson with him and learned a lot about him. It was so cool. We talked about tithing and Sister Moser shared this really awesome experience from her last area about a family who was soooo poor and saw so many blessings in their life from paying their tithing. Then Mark shared all about his family and what it was like growing up in really meager circumstances. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson. And then, after we ended the lesson, Mark got out his guitar and he and his friend, who joined half way through our lesson, played and sang this song for us on the guitar. It was so beautiful and even though it was in Tagalog, they explained to us in Ilonggo what it was about. The song was all about God and His love for us and how we just need to trust Him. I don't really know how to describe how I felt. Heavenly Father knew that we had had a difficult day. He also knows that both Sister Moser and I love music. Mark had never played for us before in any lesson, but he did that night and the whole experience with the amazing spirit in his lesson and then the spirit of joy that was brought by the song, just made us both feel so blessed, so taken care of and so happy. 

To go along with that, we had a few other experiences later that week with music and singing hymns. Sister Moser and I both love to sing and both feel the spirit really powerfully through music and so we decided to try sharing that in some of our lessons. They ended up being the most uplifting, spiritual experiences where the Spirit was able to teach and testify to those we were teaching through the hymns we sang for them. I know that Heavenly Father has blessed us each with the gifts we have for a reason and we are expected to use them to glorify Him! What a blessing! 

I love the gospel so much! I know that Heaven;y Father loves and cares about each one of you so much! more than you know. He wants you to be happy and will help you find happiness if you strive to do what's right. 

Before I end, one little funny thing that happened this week-so there are these water pumps everywhere "bomba", where people shower, wash dishes, fetch water, brush their teeth...everything. And they are just out in the open so you pass by them all the time. One day this week we were walking to an appointment and passed by this bomba with a tall Filipino man covered completely, from head to toe, in soap. He had little red underpants on and that was it. He had soap all over his face too. He was right in our path, so Sister Moser said hi to him and he tried to mumble something back. I got two steps passed him and just busted up laughing. It's more fun in the Philippines!

Love you all! Keep strong!
Love, Sister Malyon    


Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 32 in the Philippines - "init"

Happy Easter! How was everyone's Easter??? Did you have a big egg hunt at AK's? And then eat a delicious dinner? I lucked out by getting this cute little package from Josh this week with those amazingly delicious chocolate eggs that are prob my favorite Easter candy, so that made my Easter:) It was kind of crazy this week because the Catholic Church celebrates all of Holy week. On Friday they had this huge procession. The beginning of the day was a total ghost town and then in the afternoon/evening, everyone and their dog came out and joined this procession around town, walking down all the streets, passing these huge statue/idols of mother Mary and Jesus Christ. We just saw part of it. It made it kind of difficult to teach when everyone was out at this procession thing. I think it's cool though that they even celebrate like Good Friday because back home all we really celebrate is Easter, when the whole week leading up to the resurrection of Christ is so important.

We also had the best surprise ever this week-a huge rain storm! It was actually amazing because it has been so crazy hot lately, the rain storm felt sooooo good. It was super random because it's summer right now, it was probably Heavenly Father sending a little blessing:) But it did make it hard to work because of the mud and flooding and people not wanting us to teach them haha. So with Holy Week and the rain storm, this week was kind of crazy, but we still had such awesome experiences. We had the little miracle one day when we were having a hard time finding anyone to teach. Out of the blue, this little boy started talking to us and told us that he goes to church and all this stuff. Come to find out, he's been going to church with one of his friends for a while now and has never been taught! So MIRACLE! Now we have a new investigator and he already goes to church every week! (Which is probably the hardest part of helping people prepare for baptism-getting them to church).

One funny story from the day when it dumped rain all day- We were trying to find one of our investigators, walking in the mud, when I slipped. I caught myself backwards before my whole body could get covered in mud. I got up and saw this guy just watching me. awesome. He totally saw me slip in the mud. So then he came over and helped me wash off my hands at the water pump. He had this little washcloth on top of his head to protect himself from the rain. Man, I wish I could paint this picture better for you. Naturally, we started asking him some questions and he was super nice. But then we asked if he had a few minutes we could share a message with him and he told us he was busy. We asked if he had work he said no. His excuse was that he needed to cook rice and take care of the chickens. For some reason, this whole exchange was really funny to me. I mean, it's sad he didn't want to listen to us, but the whole exchange was so funny. Welcome to the Philippines, where the need to cook rice is an acceptable excuse that you're busy:) and to take care of the crazy chickens running around everywhere.

Our bishop is so awesome and he put on this fireside this past Saturday for the ward missionaries in our ward. It was sooo good. Sister Moser and I sang the children's song "I know Heavenly father loves me" and she made up this third verse that we sang about being a missionary. They served us dinner after and it was a pile of whole, big, purple-scaled fish and a huge pot of rice. I naturally, at this point of my mission, washed off my hands, grabbed a big whole fish and rice and ate it with my hands. I'm excited to help you all learn the joy and beauty of eating with your hands when I get home! I'm also getting so good at eating a fish without eating a bunch of bones. It takes skill and practice;)

We had this amazing sister work with us this week. her name is Rufa and she's preparing to serve a mission. She's the only member in her family and has had a crazy hard life. Her mom died when she was 3 and her dad has not been supportive at all. He told her if she joined the Church he would cut off all support. She is so strong and has such a powerful testimony. We had one lesson especially this week when we were teaching about the Book of Mormon and when she bore her testimony, the Spirit was so strong. It reminded both me and sister Moser what this work is all about. She gets it, Sister Rufa, and sometimes we get so used to doing the same thing every day we kind of forget. It was such a great reminder to us of this incredible work.

I love you all so much! I know that Christ is our Savior and understands everything we ever experience. I love this quote/testimony of Elder D. Todd Christofferson who said, "The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure." That's how everything unfair in life is made right through the Atonement. i love that so much.

I love you all tons and tons! You are in my prayers! I hope and pray you are all safe and healthy and happy and doing great!

Love, Sister Malyon

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 31 in the Philippines - "change the world, make it a better place"

How are all of you?? Sounds like Jonny's having a blast being all independent and traveling around Germany and Switzerland. So awesome! Happy birthday to Grandpa Malyon!!!! I hope you are all doing super well! Also Happy Easter!!!!

The funniest thing just happened. So we're here in this little internet shop and there are a bunch of missionaries here and just about 5 seconds ago I heard a loud noise and turned to see our district leader's plastic chair broke and he was on the ground! Oh goodness. It is so much fun in the Philippines!

Anyway:) I just had to tell you about that haha. Lots of changes this week! I got the transfer call on Tuesday to tell me that I was getting transferred. I was not expecting that at all, but I guess that's just how it goes on the mission! You learn to be really flexible and always thrown into new situations! My poor companion Sis Davenport, she only got to know the area for a little less than two weeks and now she has to lead the area because I left! 

I got transferred to this city called Bago. It's only about 45 minutes or so from Bacolod, so not as far away as when I was in Sagay. It was super super super hard for me to leave Sagay because I really felt like that was my new home here and those amazing people had truly become my family. But it's okay because there are things that Heavenly Father needs me to do here in Bago and amazing people I'm getting to know here as well. My new companion is Sister Moser. She is the cutest and we get along so well. We have so much in common and it's been lots of fun with her. She's from Cash Valley UT and is 19. She came on her mission right after the summer after graduating from high school! Makes me feel so old haha. She arrived in the field in December I think. 

Watching General Conference this past weekend was amazing! I love conference so much. I felt like the feeling of the talks this time was with more urgency and boldness than ever before. I really sense that we need to all step it up and we have such a responsibility to lead the world in preparing for the second coming. We're so blessed to have prophets who give us warnings and counsel on how to prepare for all that lies ahead and how to best live our lives so we can return to our Father in Heaven. I loved President Monson's talk about kindness and showing love to all of those around us. It was sooo neat because we had these two super cute college student girls come to the morning session on Sunday, two of our investigators. As soon as Pres. Monson got on the screen, they turned to us all excited and asked if that was the prophet. They reminded me how special and how amazing it is that we have a living prophet guiding us and present on the earth today. What a blessing!

I've only been here in my new area a few days and I have already met so many amazing people. We have so many members that always want to work with us! It's crazy! A few of them are recent converts and they are preparing to serve missions. so cool. They have such strong and powerful testimonies and it's just awesome. The area here is really beautiful. It's kind of similar to Sagay in that we have part of our area close to the city and then part of the area more in the countryside (I guess you could call it that). But the parts outside of the city and not nearly as mountainous and jungle as my area in Sagay. It's okay though because it's still incredibly beautiful. I stopped my companion last night as we were walking and we just took a moment to watch the sunset behind a bunch of palm trees. I can't believe I got sent to the most beautiful place in the world:) 

I'm so excited about the work here in Bago! I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to serve these incredible people. I love the gospel so much and have such a strong testimony that it is the only thing that will bring peace on earth, the only thing that brings true and lasting joy, the only thing that instills hope into the lives of God's children. I'm so grateful for my Savior and the beautiful and profound knowledge we have that He lives! I'm excited to see what they do here to celebrate Easter! I love you all soooooooo much! 

Love, Sister Malyon

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 30 in the Philippines - "tangdop sang tagipusuon"

It sounds like general conference has been awesome. We're so excited to watch it this next weekend. We also got the chance to watch the Relief Society broadcast, but they couldn't get the audio to work:( Did mom, Kels and kypoo get to watch that? I heard they combined it for the first time to be with the YW as well! That's so awesome!)

Thanks so much for the emails this week! That's so awesome jonny pots is in Stuttgart and getting to have such an awesome experience there. I hope he'll write and tell me about it! Also the focus week! Oh my goodness! That sounds like the coolest focus week that's ever been put on! I wish so much I could have been there. I would love more details about the presentations that jare, jaim and AK gave and Brian's mom and everything! That sounds so awesome. wow, those students are sooooo lucky!!!!

Well, things are going great! haha It's definitely been crazy trying to, well having to, take the lead and not just lead the area, but everything! It's been quite the learning experience. I guess it's good that I'm starting to realize how much Ilonggo I know! But sometimes it's a challenge to catch everything they say and express everything we need to share. We're really learning to trust and rely on the spirit:) 

Sister Davenport is such a big sweetheart.She's so positive and enthusiastic all the time! She gets excited about the funniest things. We've been having some funny experiences together! We actually had follow-up training on Thursday, so we went back to Bacolod to the mission home for that.  

We told Sister Sprite the day before that we were going to Bacolod because we were teaching one of her helpers, Sister Rizza. She said she was going as well with some other police and we could get a ride with them. So of course we accepted the generous offer. The next morning, as we're waiting out by the street for the police car to come pick us up-- we were standing by this group of sikad drivers all asking us if we needed a ride somewhere. We told them we were waiting for our ride. So they were all staring at us and talking about us because we're two Americans, and then the police car pulled up and we got in. I'm not sure there's much more we could do to draw any more attention to ourselves:) oh goodness. It's gonna be weird to go home and have people not even notice you hahaha.

So we rode to Bacolod in this police car van with a bunch of police and they were just so sweet to drop us off right by the mission home. but then we were early for the training. So we decided to go run an errand before hand. Well that ended up taking way longer than we anticipated and by the time we made it back to the mission home, we had to run to get there on time. My poor companion haha stuck with me:) We got the mission home like exactly on time and were all out of breath and sweaty. Then we gave the musical number -- it was just great. 

We have two super cute sisters getting baptized on Saturday!!!! We're sooo excited for them! Sister Rowena is getting baptized, her son Mark, got baptized in February. She's just the coolest person ever. She's such an awesome mom, raising her two kids on her own right now because her husband works in Manila. She brings her two boys, all dressed up so cute, to church every week and she always comes for all three meetings. I love them so much. Then the other sister is Rizza. She works for a family in the ward, Sister Sprite, and has been coming to church for a long time now. She's so ready and excited to get baptized this week! She's 17 and we all always end up laughing in our lessons:) I mean, it's spiritual as well, of course. She gives the most beautiful, heartfelt prayers. She was actually super nervous the first few times we asked her to pray and we would teach her how to and everything. She kept putting it off. But one lesson she finally agreed to pray, and it just was the most beautiful thing ever. Helping people learn how to truly pray, to pray from their hearts, to open that communication with their Father in Heaven, is so amazing. and praying out loud... There's power in praying out loud. 

I was reading through Pres. Uchtdorf's talk "You Can Do It Now" and I really loved his message about taking the hard times as opportunities to grow and to always get up again-- no matter how many times you fall-- and keep moving forward. Also one thing he said made me think about something mom used to always emphasize. He said "It is a great source of spiritual power to live lives of integrity and righteousness and to keep our eyes on where we want to be in the eternities. Even if we can see this divine destination only with the eye of faith, it will help us to stay the course." Seeing the big picture! Keeping that eternal perspective is so important! If we remember who we are, as children on our Heavenly Father, and our ultimate goal to become like Him and return to live with Him, we will receive the strength we need to get up every time we fail or have a hard time and keep pressing forward. What an awesome reminder. 

I love you all sooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!! Thanks for your testimonies, your love, your support, your example. everything. You are the best. 

Have a splendid week! The gospel is so true and is the best thing ever! I know that we are God's children and have the potential to become like Him! 

Love, Sister Malyon