Monday, September 29, 2014

week 55 in the Philippines - "you thought Seattle was green :)"

Here's a really cute selfie of me hahahahaha. jk. But this is out in our mountainous area where there are rice fields everywhere. so beautiful! 

Week 55 in the Philippines - "baptism!"

How's everyone? It sounds like you're all crazy busy with all that's going on:) I hope you're all doing great wherever you are!

Here are pictures from our baptism this weekend! It was so awesome because brother Sioco just got baptized with his cute son a few weeks ago and then this weekend, his wife, Sister Nelia Sioco, got baptized! And Brother Sioco got to baptize her! He was very nervous and it took a few tries to get her all the way immersed in the water, but it was so wonderful:) She bore such a beautiful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Their family is so awesome! I love every time that we visit them because they just have such a love for the gospel and excitement for learning more. Brother Sioco takes his B of M to work with him and reads whenever he has a spare moment and then shares with all his co-workers about the gospel. Now we just need to find and teach all of their sons! 

We had a really neat experience this week with one of our investigators. So there's this family, the Espinoza family. One by one all of them have been baptized except for the father. Someone always has to be at the house because one of his jobs is to watch over this garbage site and so he's never been to church before. But this week we talked about faith, repentance and the importance of baptism and then extended baptism to him. He's been taught by missionaries with his family for a long time and we were pretty sure he knows it's true. But at first he was so hesitant and was bringing up excuses about how he was baptized before in the Catholic church and even in the Baptist church by immersion, but kind of jokingly. 

We reminded him of the priesthood, which his son holds and after some contemplation, he agreed! Oh my goodness, you should have seen the reaction of his wife! She had the biggest grin on her face! We then extended a date for November 8 and he was like "that's so far away!" hahahaha Obviously he wants to get baptized! He then brought up the church issue, but his family quickly butt in and said they had a plan that every week they will rotate one member of the family to stay at home during church and then attend the special sacrament we have in the afternoon instead. He agreed to go to church and he came yesterday with his family! It was the most beautiful sight:) At the end of the lesson, Brother Jerry's wife, Sister Nory gave him a big ol hug and kiss! She was so excited! 

It was truly a testimony builder to know that everyone has their time and as long as we trust in the Spirit, miracles happen. It's soooo wonderful to especially see families and watch them experience the joy of helping their loved ones come into the gospel. 

One other experience I want to share from this week. So Sister Laulu was sick one day and I was trying to coordinate with members to see if someone could come stay with Sister Laulu and someone work with me. Our branch president got it all worked out and in the evening, he dropped off Sister Marisa to stay with Sister Laulu and Sister Nory came with me. I was touched by their service and even though they are moms and our branch president has so much on his plate, they understand the importance of missionary work and sacrificed their time to come work with us and care for Sister Laulu. When we got back, Sister Marisa who stayed with Sister Laulu, had prepared this whole meal for me and Sister Laulu! They really do take care of us here, so no worries! 

Church at our branch yesterday was really neat. I just felt the Spirit sooo strongly with all of the members in our tiny little chapel. They were excited to have a new sister missionary, so I got to teach Relief Society, lead the music and share my testimony in Sacrament Meeting haha.

I'm very grateful to be serving the Lord. I'm so grateful for the gospel and for the opportunities we have been given as members of the only true church of Jesus Christ. 

I love you sooo much! Merry Christmas! Everyone here is already playing Christmas music, has out their decorations...etc so funny. 

Love you all tons and tons!
Love, Sister Malyon

Monday, September 22, 2014

week 54 in the Philippines - "welcome to pontevedra"

Pictures! My new area and new companion!

My new companion is Sister Laulu, from Samoa. Yesterday we went after Stake Conference out to our far area, Suha, with our Branch President. He drove the tricycle and some awesome branch missionaries came with us too! We hold a special sacrament out in this area because it's so far away. It was sooo much fun going out there for my first time yesterday! 

It's way out in the midst of all these sugarcane fields and rice fields, just dirt and rock roads-the ride was super bumpy. The people were sooo cute! I love them already so much! I'm so excited to go back and teach everyone so the area will build up and become a group and then a branch and eventually a ward!!! hahaha 

oh yeah and we're so close to the ocean! hence the first picture on the water. That was last p-day on the beach:)

week 54 in the Philippines - "connections"

Hey family!

I got to meet Sister Salas' niece, Lyka Delos Reyes yesterday at Stake Conference! She's so cute and so talented at the piano!

Things are great here in Pontevedra! I got to go on exchanges this week to Isabella with this super awesome missionary, Sister Delos Santos. We had such a good exchange together and learned so much from each other in just one day. 

Yesterday when we went out to Suha, we visited this recent convert, named Rhadora and her friend who is investigating, Marynol. We talked about the importance of prayer and it was such an awesome lesson because they all shared personal experiences with the power of prayer. The spirit was so strong. Sister Rhadora also shared about the power of having faith. She said the doctor told her she would never be able to have children and that if she tried, either she or her baby would die. She said she didn't believe the doctor, exercised her faith in Christ and had two babies just fine! 

I thought of mom having 6 c-sections. When we have faith, miracles happen!!!!

Sorry this is short this week! But I love missionary work and the gospel so much! I know that Christ is our living Savior and He loves each one of us so much. 

Love you all, 

Sister Malyon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 53 in the Philippines - "new area - liwat!"

Well, I got the transfer call last night and now I am in a new area! I had an interview with President Lopez earlier and he assigned me to be a Sister Training Leader. So now I have this new assignment in my new area, which he said could possibly well be my last area. crazy. I didn't get much time in Alijis:( I will definitely miss the amazing people I met there. I think one of the biggest lessons I learned in Alijis was not to ever judge anyone, but to recognize and see everyone as equal children of our loving Heavenly Father. EVERYONE deserves to hear the gospel.

This past week we were able to have spiritual lessons with Brother Reggie, who is deaf and with Brother Edmundu, who is blind. The Spirit has no bounds:) It's been crazy to realize how much we rely on every single one of our senses. I would get out the pamphlet to show brother Edmundu pictures and then remember that would do him no good haha. For Brother Reggie, I would try to think of how we can really invite the Spirit and want to have us sing a hymn for him and remember oh, never mind. I love how amazing it is though, that just like when I first got here and couldn't speak the language, we could still communicate spirit to spirit through love for each other and for the gospel. 

A little experience with following the Spirit- So we were exploring this one area and the people we were planning on visiting were too busy, so we were walking back, when Sister de Leon felt we should stop by this one house and talk to them. No one was outside, and we don't normally just go door to door, but we stopped at this house and this cute sister, in her 20s, came out. We told her who we were, prayed for her and gave her a restoration pamphlet. Sister de Leon asked her as we were about to leave, how she felt about our visit and her face lighted up and she had this big smile and said how she felt so excited to learn about the truth! WoW! It's kind of rare for people to say things like that in their first encounter with us. So amazing! She doesn't live in our area, was just visiting, but we referred her info to the missionaries in her area. I was grateful for the important reminder that there are people everywhere ready for the gospel who even recognize it in five minutes of talking to us! We just have to trust the Spirit:) 

So my new area is here in Pontevedra, which is in the Binalbagan Zone. I remember Sister Salas telling me that her family lives in Binalbagan! We have Stake Conference next week so I'm hoping I might get to meet them!!!!! My new assignment as a Sister Training Leader, means I will be going on exchanges almost every week with a set of sisters in our zone. We are over all the sisters in Binalbagan Zone and in Kabankalan Zone because there is only one set of sisters in Kabankalan. It will be crazy, but exciting! My new companion is Sister Laulu! We were companions for 2 days back when I was in Bacolod 5th ward and so now we get to for real be companions:) She's from Samoa.

I hope you are all doing wonderfully! I love you all soooo much! Thanks for being so amazing!

Love, love, love, Sister Malyon

week 53 in the Phillipines - pictures

Finally some pictures of my short time in Alijis!

The first one is of our FHE with the cutest recent converts. They are four cousins and they all live together. They invited some of their friends to the FHE and a bunch of ward missionaries attended as well. It was super fun! For our object lesson, each person had a piece of paper with their name and then one person would draw their face and then we would pass the paper and the next person would draw the hands and so on until the person was completely drawn. It was so funny to see all the completed, crazy pictures of everyone:) The scripture we related it to was 1 Samuel 16 about how the Lord looks on the heart and it doesn't matter what we look like haha. They loved it.

This is me and Sister de Leon with Brother Ricky. He's the one who is so awesome and receptive, but has work every Sunday morning, so that's his challenge that we're praying he will somehow overcome so he can come to church and get baptized! He is so amazing though.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 52 in the Philippines - "rescue"

How's everyone? Wow, school has started! Yesterday Elder and Sister Mower, couple missionaries, came to visit our ward. Elder Mower had his...oh my goodness I can't think of what it's called...ipad?? Something like that. seriously there is a veil of forgetfulness when you come on a mission...anyway, he was checking the score of the byu football game and kept me updated (not that I really cared hahahahaha). I was surprised to realize that it's fall already and school just started and football season and all that! I forget that there are even seasons because it feels like summer all year around here! Well, I hope you're all loving the excitement of a new season and new school year! Go share the gospel with all your friends at school!;)

I think it was maybe last email, dad mentioned to me about how you had the elders and a less-active family over for dinner and then mom told me about how Pres Monson's mantra is about rescuing all the lost souls. We've been especially emphasizing that in our mission lately too!! I love that you had less actives over for dinner because the help of active, strong members is so valuable. We as missionaries can go visit them as much as we can, but normally it's not until they know they have friends who care about them in the ward, that they feel comfortable to come back to church. 

But, we did have one cool experience this week with a less-active. We were teaching this mom, Joann and her daughter, Roann, who are both less-active members. Roann's cousin is an investigator but of course she won't go to church without her cousin. So we've been teaching the three of them. We can't figure out the mom's concern because she has a super strong testimony, but the other day we taught all of them the Plan of Salvation, well reviewed it with them. We used the awesome wooden puzzle mom sent me:) and at the end of the super good lesson, after we had closed and prayed and everything, Sister Roann said quietly to us, "Sisters, I'm going to church this Sunday." OH my goodness, it was the cutest thing ever. We had invited her several times before, had a member pick her up before, but she never came. This lesson, we didn't even invite them to church, but the Spirit testified to her that that it what she needed to do! She decided on her own, without her mom, to come to church. This Sunday, Sister Roann and her cousin Jona (they're both like 16), were one of the first to show up at church! They came by themselves, so cute and dressed up! It's all about timing and the Spirit working within their hearts:)

We have one investigator who made me think of dad! Her name is Celine and she was a member referral from her friend who is on a mission! I thought of dad and how he took the lessons while John Jarstad was on his mission. We've only been able to teach Celine a couple times because she is super busy with school and gets home late, but last night we had a great lesson with her about the Book of Mormon, We noticed how lovingly she held the book in her hands when we gave it to her. I don't know if that's the right word to describe it, but you could tell that she was really grateful for the book and she prayed at the end that she would have time to read the book and understand it. Sister de Leon bore a powerful testimony to her of how the Book of Mormon has helped her in her studies and even with passing tests. We're so blessed to have this book! The Book of Mormon is so powerful!

We have the cutest investigator who is deaf. Oh my goodness, I wish I had taken sign language before the mission! I wish so much I could communicate with him! Sister de Leon has gotten pretty good at it, but I'm still really struggling...but he came to church yesterday for the first time! His name is Reggie. He told us as he was leaving church that he wants to come back next week! I was thinking about how the Spirit doesn't need a language of words, but it's a language between spirits. I have learned so much about that on the mission, especially at the beginning when I couldn't understand or speak Illonggo:) 

Last night we visited this member family, where the wife recently got baptized, but the husband has been a member for a long time. They have two daughters that are so adorable. I think I told you about them and how they sang for us and played the guitar. Last night they did "A Child's Prayer" It was the cutest thing ever because all four of them, the whole family, performed it for us:) We talked about families and how to build a strong family centered on Christ. They said that their youngest who's like 3, goes around to everyone every night and says "Men ta!" Men is her word for prayer because we end with Amen and ta means everyone. so cute! I've been learning a lot on my mission about the importance of each member of the family and how important it is to keep up the little things, like family prayer and scripture study. I've seen all sorts of families and different situations on my mission-good and bad. I have gained such an appreciation for our family and for mom and dad who have not only raised us in the teachings of the gospel, but live the gospel everyday, setting that example for us to follow. Thanks mom and dad! You're the best! 

Well, I hope you're all happy and strong in the faith and healthy! Hold fast to the iron rod and we will all make it to live with our Heavenly Parents one day! I love you all sooo much! You are in my prayers:)

Love, Sister Malyon

P.S. I know you'll never believe this, but I'm overcoming my fear of birds. It's crazy. I don't even flinch when we're near chickens anymore or ducks or ugly turkeys...ok that's going a little too far. If they start to flap, I flinch, but that's it! I thought you'd be proud;)

Monday, September 1, 2014

week 51 in the Philippines - "prepare!"

Hello family!!!! 

Good luck everyone with school starting and all the craziness that comes along with that! (Seminary, sports, homework;), no sleep...all that good stuff. 

Well things are going great here in Alijis! We had 7 investigators at church yesterday, which was so exciting! We are excited to have some progress and growth in this area! We've been working hard to find the less-actives in our area, get to know members, and find new investigators, especially those whom God has prepared for the gospel at this time-who are ready. 

I love Sister de Leon so much! She is so positive and flexible. Even when we have days where we walk around in the pouring down rain/wind, she stays so positive! I love her so much:) So before we found out that I guess we're not really supposed to, we used to go running in the mornings at this track. It was the best thing ever to get out and run and see other cute Filippinos exercising, doing zumba, playing soccer, walking around the track. 

The best thing about it, is there's this brother who has coconuts and sells coconut water from the actual coconut with a straw. That would be so popular in the states! The coconut water straight from the fresh coconut is so much more delicious and amazing than the coconut water you buy that's so expensive back home. Speaking of food/water...we tried durian this week! Ever since I've been in the field, I've wanted to try durian because the Mackays told me all about it before coming on my mission. (I remember Sister Mackay telling me how badly it stinks:) Sister de Leon and I both wanted to try it, but we were trying to figure out how to buy it and taste it without bringing it home since it smells so bad. 

Well, lucky for us, a recent convert we visited this week, served us some! She was so excited that it was both of our first time trying it haha. Oh my goodness, let me tell you, it was quite the experience eating this fruit. First of all, it does smell awful, and then the taste is the weirdest thing you've ever tasted. It's like a garlicky/sweet taste and then the texture is kind of hard on the outside, mushy on the inside, kind of like a custard texture, but also stringy and sticky. My first taste, I was expecting it to be awful, so it wasn't so bad. But as I kept eating more, I started to feel kind of queezy. After we left their house, we both were so grossed out. We could not get the disgusting flavor/aftertaste out of our mouths! At least we tried it;) and we didn't have to buy it haha. 

We have this new investigator whose name is Daniel Cristales. We found him on our way to visit a less-active family. He was just sitting outside his house, doing nothing, so we talked to him. He seemed interested as far as we could tell, but he's the most unemotional person ever, so now we've been back a few times and are teaching him. He's about 50, lives alone, not married (when we first met him he told us he had a wife and then the next lesson we asked about her and he started laughing and said he had lied to us). hahaha He's kind of religious, but we taught him how to pray for the first time this week. It was like teaching a child. We had him repeat after us and then wrote down how to pray in really big letters for him, because he has a hard time seeing and hearing. He has a lot of health problems, but is so awesome and receptive and has such a desire to come closer to God. Every time we teach him, we feel so much love for him and the Spirit is so strong. He wasn't feeling well, so he didn't make it to church this week, but we're praying for him and hoping a member will come give him a priesthood blessing. Maybe you could keep him in your prayers:) Thanks a ton! 

We're so excited for Nanay Anita! She comes to church every week! The problem is getting all the lessons in before her baptism because we have to teach like one principle at a time. She loves to talk and we have to teach things over and over until she understands:) She's the cutest though. She always gets all dressed up for church, wearing her best! I'll try to get a picture to you next time. The computer here won't let me upload pictures:( 

Well, the work is moving forward! I was reading in Jacob 5:70-76ish earlier and was reminded of how incredibly important these last days are before the Second Coming of Christ. This is the last dispensation and the only dispensation that will succeed! All the others ended in apostasy, but ours won't. How awesome is that. We get to live at the most important, amazing time in history! 

I love you all so much! Keep building the kingdom of God in whatever way you can:) Heaven;y Father is involved in your lives and in His work. He loves each of you more than you know. We have so much potential to do good, to influence others to do good and to change the world for the better! Love you! Sister Malyon