Monday, August 25, 2014

week 50 in the Philippines - "children of God"

Hi beautiful family! 

How's everyone doing? Wow, it's crazy to think about how spread out around the world our family is! It's wierd, I've been here so long, it feels like home now. 

The other morning, Sister De Leon and I went jogging at this park that has a track and this brother saw me and said "Welcome to the Philippines!". I was totally caught off guard, thinking "What do you mean? I live here!" haha but of course I said "Salamat" once I realized I'm still white and American haha. 

We're so blessed that no matter where we all are, we can still keep in touch! And still attend church:) because the gospel is everywhere! well, almost. 

One thing I've learned from Sister De Leon, is recognizing miracles every single day of our lives. Even the super small miracles, evidence of God's involvement in our lives, in the world. It's an awesome way to look at life! Last Monday, we received a referral from another set of sister missionaries who met a brother they talked to on a jeepney ride. We went and visited him and at the first visit, it was so clear to us that he needs the missionaries, the gospel so much right now in his life. He has been prepared and is so ready and receptive. It's so evident that Heavenly Father loves Brother Ricky-- that's his name-- so much that he had him ride a certain jeepney at a time when sisters were on it too and they opened their mouth to talk to him. so cool. 

His wife died about a year ago, he's searching for help and truth and guidance in his life, and he wants to come closer to God. He accepted a baptism date during our first visit with him, but the only problem is he works every day, including Sundays, delivering newspapers. So we have to build his faith and keep praying for a way for him to go to church. Even within this past week that we've been visiting him, we can see a slight change in him. He seems a little bit happier every visit:) 

I love the gospel so much! It brings light into our lives and hope! Oh my goodness, I have to tell you about the coolest thing ever. So last week, at transfers, one of the sisters, Sister Neis, approached me. She is now serving in Sagay, my old area. She told me about Sister Elsa, who was one of our investigators, the best friend of Pamela, if you remember. I got transferred right before her baptism. Sister Neis told me that now they are teaching Sister Elsa's husband! Which is the biggest miracle/answer to prayers ever! He's been going to church every week and totally changing and getting ready for baptism! Oh my goodness, I burst into tears when she told me that because when I was teaching Sister Elsa with Sister Parada, she would always talk about all the problems, pain, fear she was experiencing because of her husband and his choices. Even after I transferred I would pray so hard for her because I was so worried about her. And now her husband is getting baptized! I just can hardly even believe it. 

The gospel changes people so much! In ways you could never imagine. I love missionary work and am so grateful to be here! I'm grateful for your involvement in missionary work as well! I have seen here on the mission how much we can do, the influence we can have if we just open our mouths, have faith in Christ and love our friends and everyone around us:) 

I read that talk by Pres. Uchtdorf this week called "You can do it now". I love what he says at the end, "my dear friends, there will be times when you think you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and his love. With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power and hope of the restored gospel, you will be able to walk tall and continue on." So true!!!! Christ gives us the strength we need to walk tall! Be confident and continue pressing forward in faith, living the gospel everyday! 

I love you all sooo much! I hope you are all safe and strong and happy, wherever you are! You are in my prayers:) Love you lots and lots! Sister Malyon 

Monday, August 18, 2014

week 49 in the Philippines - "anobayen!"

Hi fam! 

Haha after writing that, I read it and thought of Jare's emails forever ago when he would write us from his mission. I still can't believe it's me now-the one on a mission. weird!

Anyways, how are all of you cutie pot pies??? Oh my goodness, one of my most favorite treats here, is called Buko pie. Buko is coconut, but not like the coconut back home, the real stuff. These cute vendor guys sell them on the buses and they're always fresh and hot and soooo delicious!

Anyway, well I got transferred. Transfers are seriously the hardest thing in the world for me. I have the hardest time leaving people that I love so much. It stinks. But now I am in Alijis, back in the city. This week has been like culture shock for me. It's so weird. Our area is so rich. We have all these wealthy subdivisions in our area, where people have these huge fancy houses and cars. It's so weird. I don't even feel like I'm in the Philippines any more. But it's okay because I have met some really really amazing people my first week here and we've already experienced some wonderful miracles! My new companion is Sister De Leon from Nueva Ecija. She's taller than I am! And so cute and so considerate. She is seriously the most thoughtful person I've ever met. I love her so much! She's the only strong active member in her family, which is so impressive to me. She's hoping so much that her service in the field will also bless her family spiritually. She's the first missionary in her family!

The best miracle of the week was that we shared with our taxi driver, when I was moving, who we are and asked if we could visit his family. He gave us his address and this week we went to visit them. He wasn't home, but we met his sister and some other of his relatives. Turns out, they are close friends with some recent converts who live close by, which is so awesome. They are so receptive to us and willing to learn about our church. And after only visiting them twice, 4 of them (new investigators) came with their member friends to church yesterday!!!! Sister Wilma is a mom with two kids-her husband is working abroad and then she is the guardian of I think her two nieces, who are 18-year old twins, Mara and Myra. They all came to church yesterday!!! So amazing and proof as well of how important members are. I'm pretty sure they would not have come to church if it hadn't been for their friends, the Lavatoria family. It's so amazing how the Lord works:) 

We live in a house with another set of sisters, Sister Madrid and Sister Hale. Sister Hale just arrived from the states and it has brought back so many flashbacks talking to her. It's been such an awesome reminder to have her excitement in the house-how special it is that we get to be here, serving missions!

I wanted to share real quick one of my favorite general conference talks from April to be apart of your cool discussion. I'm excited to get the notes! I loved Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk called "Let Your Faith Show". I love how he talked about how people have faith, but a lot of people have faith in things or people other than Jesus Christ. He said "There is only One in whom your faith is always safe, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ." When I was with Sister Javier, she would always "Sa diin ang imo pagtuo?" Which means "Where is your faith?" or in whom is your faith? Often we have less-actives and investigators whose faith seems to be more in money than in Christ or in someone like their spouse. We have to constantly evaluate where our priorities are and in whom we trust. People here love the saying that with God, all things are possible, but the question is if they really believe that. We have to SHOW our faith, for it to actually be real faith and then we're blessed and miracles happen. 

I also love how Elder Nelson talked about how we must show our faith in whatever situation we may be in. We don't just live the gospel when it's convenient, when you're with your family and member friends, but even when you're with non-members or anywhere. He said "If one tries to segment his or her life into separate compartments one will never rise to the full stature of one's personal integrity never to become all that his or her true self can be." We need to be true to God, to ourselves, at all times. Just the other day I asked a Ward missionary how he came into the church. He told me it started from when he was in high school and he had a friend who he always noticed was different. When it was break time and all the other boys would be smoking, he'd be the only one not, and things like that. This ward missionary's interest started from the example of his friend, a member who lived his faith always.

I wish that when I was at home growing up, I had been better about sharing the gospel with my friends. At the end of the talk, he shares a quote by Pres. Hinckley that says "Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with faith have courage as well." I know that as we set goals to overcome our fears and put forth our faith in Christ, He will help us become more like Him, making our weaknesses and fears, become strengths. 

I love you all soooooooo much! Thank you so much for your amazing exampls to me and to all those around you! Those in Ecuador, Budapest, Bellevue, New York-wherever you are! 

Love you tons!
Sister Malyon

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 48 in the Philippines - "peace"

Oh I just love you all soo much! Thank you so much for the emails and for always being the most supportive, loving and amazing family in the whole world! I am the luckiest person ever. 

We talked about this at our training this week-using the pictures in our pamphlets more in our lessons because they are just as inspired as the words in the pamphlets. Plus, people love pictures! I'm hoping sending pics will make us for a short email. 

These are our wonderful investigators that came to church! Brother Arnel is in the red, Dannylyn in the pink, Angelo in the white and grey in the back and then Delmar in the black, I think. The other brothers in white are their fellowshippers! 

These are our awesome ward missionaries, Oliver, Ronnel and Rhofa! And cute Sister Javier:) Whenever we go out to work in our far area, we all eat lunch together at Oliver house. 

Well, about the picture of the investigators. So, Brother Oliver referred us a while ago to his brother, Angelo and when we went to teach him, all his friends joined as well! The first few times we taught them, they were all super shy and would kind of giggle and stuff, not really taking it very seriously. But this week something changed! We taught them on Thursday about the Book of Mormon. We reviewed the restoration with them and the whole lesson they were all so into it! They took it all so much more seriously. The spirit was soooo strong in the lesson and Sister Rhofa bore a super powerful testimony of the book of mormon to them. They all have this sincere desire to come closer to Christ and to change. It's so amazing. They are this group of friends, ranging from age 16 (the only girl, Dannylyn), to like 25 or so. 

And then on Saturday, we did exchanges, so sister Javier just taught them with Rhofa and Oliver. She taught them about the Word of Wisdom, because we knew they had problems with it and need to get them to quit right away in order to get baptized. She told me that they were so receptive. They all already had the desire to quit and change, but they needed that support and the doctrine of Christ to encourage them. At the end of the lesson, Brother John Rey, one of the "cool kid/tough guy" kind of person haha, offered to give the closing prayer! They said his prayer was so sincere and so good. 

Then on Sunday, 4 of them came to church! The four in the picture. They are so amazing. I love them so much. I love so much seeing the gospel, the spirit, work on the lives of people in order to inspire and help them change their lives around and become closer to Christ. It's seriously so amazing and so miraculous. For pday we're going to make "No Smoking" "No drinking" signs to hang up in their homes:) haha

I love the gospel so much. This work is so hard, but so incredible. The work is hastening and it's up to us if we are going to jump on board or just stand by. Jump on board!:) It's so much fun! and so rewarding! I love you all so much. so much! 

This is Romeo! He is amazing! I think I told you about the experience with him when he started doubting his faith and then he read the Book of Mormon and had a really awesome experience and he's totally strong again. Well, I finally got a picture with him. He was baptized I think in March, before I got here. This week he shared with us this really amazing, spiritual dream he had where he received revelation. I don't think I've ever received revelation through a dream, but I've heard of some really awesome experiences with that since being on the mission. I love how Heavenly Father talks to each one of us in whatever way is best for us. He's the only member in his family. Oh and Sister Rhofa is in the picture too! She was working with us.

This is a picture of cutie pie Christine Joy and her older sister Mary Hope. Christine is 9 and still hasn't been baptized because she has a water phobia. She has tried to get baptized three times! We're not giving up and are going to try again August 23. It's been quite a while since the last time she tried, and she's been practicing getting used to water in the river, so she told us she's ready for real:) We have faith!!!! Christine is wearing the orange dress.

love, love, love,

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 47 in the Philippines - "temple!"

How's everyone? Enjoying summer? I hope and pray you are all well! Here are a couple photos for your enjoyment:)

This is Oliver and Bingbing, awesome ward missionaries. They are so funny. The umbrella belongs to Bing, but for some reason Oliver was the one protecting himself from the sun:) 

 This is Brother Nelson and his super cute daughter, Nympha. I think I've talked about him before. Brother Nelson is this super awesome, golden investigator we found who read half the BoM after the first time we gave it to him. But now we're kind of stuck because his wife doesn't want for him to go to church and join our church because she wants their whole family to stay Catholic. This week, we focused on trying to just get to know her, his wife, but it looks like it will be a very gradual process of warming up to her. Brother Nelson doesn't want to cause any problems in their marriage and loves his wife so much. So we're working on it. 

This is a picture from our FHE last night! It was so much fun! Sister Rosalie, in the blue to the right, has been investigating for a couple months now. She has the cutest three little boys and we just started teaching her neighbor whose two kids are in this picture as well. Some YW from the ward joined us for the FHE. We used one of the object lessons about the atonement that mom sent me for the lesson! It worked super well! Thanks mom!:)

This week was really awesome because we worked super super hard and taught lots of lessons! It was so good and we met lots of new potential investigators. It was pretty disappointing when only one investigator came to church, but it's okay! Keep the faith!:) We also had a disappointment with our baptismal candidate who was all ready and so excited and supposed to have her interview yesterday, but the night before she and her husband got in a fight because I guess he doesn't want her to get baptized...awesome. So we're working on that...I know I usually don't share disappointments, but here's just a little taste that Satan really is working soooo hard to keep the Lord's work from progressing. But God is smarter and wiser and miracles still keep happening!

This week, we visited this less-active member and she told us that the last time we visited her had been an answer to her prayers. We visited her about a week ago and that was the first time in months and it wasn't even planned. So this week she opened up to us and told us how she had been praying to know if she should still be involved in the LDS church. She asked for a sign and then we showed up! She said she knows that she should come back to church. It strengthened my testimony that as long as we are striving to do what's right, the Lord uses us in ways we don't even understand or realize, to bless the lives of His children. Also, He is super involved in our everyday lives. I know that is true.  

We had the awesomest Mission Pres training last Monday! Oh my goodness, it was sooo awesome. President talked to us about all the progress that's going on in our mission. We've been opening up a bunch of new groups, being formed into branches in order to reach people who live in the bukid (mountains) and in far areas from the cities on the island. It's so amazing to hear about what's going on in this mission! It's so exciting! I love being here sooo much. President even told us that as the work keeps progressing, the goal is in 3 years to request a temple on Negros Island!!!!! When he said that, I got the biggest chills all over my body! It's so amazing to think of having a temple here, so close to all of the amazing members here. That would be the coolest thing ever. It't also amazing that we get to be part of getting this island ready for that to happen! It gives me so much motivation! 

This is such an exciting time as we are all preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. I have the feeling it's coming close! We gotta do all we can to get the world ready for our dear Savior to be welcomed back by tons of righteous members, His disciples. We need to do our part to build up the Church where ever we are! "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel." (i think that's correct...) Joseph Smith 

I love you all! I love your desire to share the gospel and to live the gospel! Live your faith! I love that talk by Elder Nelson from last conference so much. You are all amazing! I love you all with all my heart:)

Love, Sister Malyon

P.S. Little funny thing from this week-so there are ants EVERYWHERE and I've gotten so used to just squishing every ant I see with my fingers. It's become reflex. This week I thought I was squishing an ant and then I looked at my fingers and there were bug guts all over my fingers. It was so gross. Turns out it was some bug quite a bit bigger than an ant...gross. Love you!