Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 67 in the Philippines - "MERRY CHRISTMAS! MALIPAYONG PASKWA!"

Merry Christmas my beautiful family!!!!

How are you? Are you seriously all in New York??? Holy smokes. That's what I understood from mom's last email, that the fam was headed off to spend Christmas with Kels in New York. WOW! How's that going? Are we still going to be able to skype? Well, I sure hope you're on because I haven't heard anything from you...I'll get on to skype about 1:30 pm our time here in Bacolod, Philippines:) I hope that's okay! I think that means it will be really late your time? I can't really remember the time difference. I hope that's okay with you though! And if not, we'll see each other soon enough haha!

Well, this week has been wonderful! I absolutely love my cute companion, Sister Respicio! She is so amazing. I have already learned tons and tons from her and we just get along so well and it's been great. She's my first Filippina companion who doesn't eat rice with every meal! In fact, she told me she's kind of sick of rice and I was so shocked! Coming from a Filippina! One day this week, we tried cooking a Filippino dish and cooking rice... I put her in charge if the rice naturally haha and she burned it! So we had brown rice;) so funny. Not that I'm any better (Kels knows), that's why I had Sister Respicio be in charge of the rice.

Anyway, we had a super cool miracle this week. I think it was actually on Wednesday, my first time going to this part of our area called Pasil. We were walking on our way to a lesson, when a sister randomly called out "Sisters!" We stopped to talk to her and she told us right away that her daughter who was standing next to her, is a member that was baptized quite a few years ago, but then got kind of lost between missionaries and hasn't been to church in a long time now. 

We ended up sharing a lesson with the mom, Sister Shyrell, and her three kids-Sister Nova (18), Sister Shell mar (member, 16), and Bro Marcial (13ish). We found out her husband died about a year ago and she's been struggling to support her three children. When we shared about eternal; families, she started crying and opened up to us about how much that touched her to know that she and her children can be with her husband again. We got to visit them one other time this week and then on Sunday, they came to church! Sister Shyrell and her oldest daughter, Nova, both came! Sister Shell mar had work so she couldn't, but it was her mom and Nova's first time and they had such a good experience. Turns out that Sister Shyrell's husband is cousins to our ward bishop, so they already have a connection! 

It was so amazing to see how God had prepared Sister Shyrell and her family for the gospel, the missionaries, and the Spirit worked through her to call out to us, because neither my companion nor I knew them, even her daughter. 

I'm so grateful everyday for God's involvement in our lives and His effort everyday to ensure the return of all His children to His presence, including each and every one of us! 

On one of the book marks mom sent me, it has the picture of Christ as the Good Shepherd, searching for His sheep and I love what it says about the picture. The artist, Liz Lemon Swindle wrote, "As I painted this piece I found myself looking into His eyes and wondering, "Who is He looking for?" Then one day it hit me. He is looking for all of us. The Savior knows and loves each of us, and no matter how far we may wander He will never stop seeking after us until He has found us and carried us home."  

Another experience I loved from this week, was when we went to visit this nanay. Her name is Andrea and she is almost 70 and lives all alone in this tiny little, bamboo house. She walks around selling clams for a living and the only family member that ever visits her is one of her granddaughters. Her husband died and her kids all live far away. 

There's a member who lives close to her who has been inviting her to church with her the past few weeks, so we visited her and on our second visit we extended baptism. She was so excited, her response was, "Next week? Can I get baptized next week?" That has never been the response I've received when extending baptism! She is the cutest person ever. We explained to her that there's a lot more we need to help her understand and prepare to be baptized:) She came to church again yesterday and we're planning on spending part of Christmas day with her! 

I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas ever!!! Focused on our Savior Jesus Christ and all that He did and continues to do for us everyday because He lives! And He loves each and every one of us so much. I love you all so much too! I hope and pray you feel of His love for you everyday:) If you reach out and serve and share the gospel, you will for sure feel His love. I can promise you that. I love you! 

Merry Christmas!

Love, Sister Malyon


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