Sunday, August 9, 2015

Aug. 3, 2015 --- It takes FAITH.

Hello Family!!!  I love the pictures everyone is growing so much!!  Especially Melissa haha ;)  There has been a lot of fun things that have happened this week, as always :) 

This week I realized I'm not a very nice companion dahil...while we were riding our bikes in the middle of a nowhere, I saw a goat on the side of the road and thought it'd be funny to scare it.  So I went off roading towards the goat and it just stared and stared at me until got scared it might charge me.  As I turned to get out of the way of the goat, it finally got scared and charged at Sister Ungos on her bike!!  Ah haha long story short we all survived, no one wrecked, and I'm working on being a better companion so no more goats charge at Sister Ungos.... ;)

We had a really incredible time at Zone Conference where we focused on the importance of the Sacrament and attending church.  One of my favorite things that I learned is that we really need to prepare for the Sacrament.  Preparation "starts a long time before we walk into the church," because the Sacrament isn't just basta, basta (or whatever).  It's an opportunity that we have to really focus on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and what it means for us.  The preparation is truly all week, everyday.  As we prepare for the Sacrament during the week and in our homes we prepare ourselves to receive the blessings of partaking of the Sacrament.  And Sacrament changes from a snack on Fast Sunday, to something that can be truly inspiring.  I realized that I really needed to work on my preparation during the week, so I did and I testify that it really does work and church was amazing!

During Sacrament meeting the Spirit was so strong.  Not just strong but really, really strong.  I also loved the testimonies.  Many of the testimonies in the end hit the same message.  That although it can be hard we just need to continue building our faith.  Because the blessings are endless for ourselves and for our families, now and in eternity.  This morning, during personal study, this quote really hit me so here it is for you! :)

“It takes faith—unseeing faith—for young people to proceed immediately with their family responsibilities in the face of financial uncertainties. It takes faith for the young woman to bear her family instead of accepting employment, especially when schooling for the young husband is to be finished. It takes faith to observe the Sabbath when ‘time and a half’ can be had working, when sales can be made, when merchandise can be sold. It takes a great faith to pay tithes when funds are scarce and demands are great. It takes faith to fast and have family prayers and to observe the Word of Wisdom. It takes faith to do ward teaching, stake missionary work, and other service, when sacrifice is required. It takes faith to fill foreign missions. But know this—that all these are of the planting, while faithful devout families, spiritual security, peace, and eternal life are the harvests.
                             - Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1952, 50–51

I hope that you're finding ways to build your faith with actions.  I know also that really preparing, yourself and in your homes, all week for Sacrament meeting is absolutely an act of faith, an act of faith which absolutely brings blessings.  Blessings that will be eternal.

I love you all!! And can't wait to hear about your acts of faith.  Have a great week!


Sister Marshall :)

Lots of fun in Olongapo!!

July 27, 2015 --- "It's Friday, Friday.....partying, partying, yeah!"

Hello po family ko!!

Just so you know...Sister Ungos and I found the yummiest little bakery here in San Mar.  Our favorite treat is a roll filled with coconut and pudding...mmmm!!  Also we think the rat is gone for good..."hopefully."  But other than bakery's and lost rats, there've been more great things happening in San Mar.  

This week we've been teaching a lot of really amazing people.  The Galias Family is super great and there are lots of kids.  It's been really fun to teach them because the parents and kids are involved in the lesson and have lots of questions and love to pray!  They're a super sweet family.  There's another family who we've been teaching but the father will just never listen.  On Friday he finally listened!  The lesson was really spiritual and we're super excited to go back mamayang gabi!  

Friday was also really great because we got to see these guapo brothers get baptized.  They're super awesome and they remind me a lot of Cam.  They're super funny, smart, spiritually strong!  One of my favorite parts was listening to them bear their testimonies.  Especially at the end when Lliam (the youngest) bore testimony of how he now knows Jesus Christ.  The spirit was so strong!  Chaim and Gave received the priesthood on Sunday and they're really excited to pass the sacrament next week.  They all want to go on missions too.  Gave, the oldest, is already planning/preparing to go after high school in 3 years!!  They're a really stellar family.

There is a missionary who just returned home here in San Marcelino and it makes me realize even more how fast time is going.  Hopefully I can just stay here forever. ;) It's really fun here in San Marcelino and missionary work is great.  It's really amazing to see the way the gospel changes lives and seeing the way that other's have been gaining testimonies and how mine has grown so much.  I truly love the gospel and the way that learning never stops.  We are able to learn more each day and change our lives for the better each day.  The gospel is really amazing.  I hope you're all reading the Book of Mormon each day and learning the things that Heavenly Father has there for you to learn.  :)

Love you all, lots and lots!
Sister Marshall

Lots'a white....Gave, Chaim, Lliam, mama Cathy, ako, and Sister Ungos!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the members gave us this coat to keep us safe at night, super cute huh?!  ;)

July 20, 2015 --- AH RATS!!!

Hello family!  So this week was a little crazy!  

Monday - Sister Sarfraz and I found rat poop on our beds!!  EEK!!
Tuesday - Sister Sarfraz found out she's leaving me, so we went and said lots of goodbyes it was sad, but I'm excited because she'll be with Sister Walker(one of my housemates when we were in Guagua) so they'll have lots of fun!
Wednesday - Said goodbye to Sister Sarfraz and my new companion is Sister Ungos.  She is adorable.  Sister Ungos reminds me a lot of my first companion Sister Bautista.  She's super maganda, maliit, and magaling (pretty, little, and talented!).  She's been really fun but got really scared on our first day when a HUGE, BLACK SEWER RAT ran first at her feet, then to mine, then to into the cupboard!  AHHH!!  We threw a box of rat poison in the cupboard and tied the doors shut but we think it got out.  Sobrang gross!!
The rest of the week has just been really fun.  Sister Ungos' first full day in the mission and it was great!!  We were able to find and teach some less-actives and find some new, really great investigators!!  We're super excited!!  It also rained HARD!  One day we rode bikes and when we were kind of in between two cities we ended up at a vulcanizing shop just with a bunch of people from a religion who will just not listen to Mormons.  We got everyone out of the vulcanizing shop almost as fast as the rain got them in.  Haha but this week has been really fun adn we've been experiencing a lot of miracles together.  Sister Ungos is really sweet and nakakatawa (funny)!  She's such a great missionary and loves to work hard. 

There's lots more fun that's been happening but I'll tell you later.  All in all though, the Philippines is just so great!!  Also so is the Book of Mormon.  Siyempre!  One of my favorite scripture from this week is Mosiah 16:9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.   I just love it because anywhere we are, light always over comes the darkness.  The moon and stars were created so that we have light, even at night.  Following Christ's light is so important for us because He truly is our lighthouse leading us home.  As we search for and follow his light, we will have His guidance in our lives and we will be where we need to be on our journey home.
Love you all dearly and hope you have a great week!!

Sister Marshall

Goodbye sa lumang kulot mga kabahay ko (my old curly haired housemates)

Hello to my favorite newest missionary - Sister Ungos!!!

July 12, 2015 --- Mabalis lang...‏

Good morning beloved family!  

So this email is going to be short because today Sister Sarfraz and I are going to get her hair rebonded (like a perm but staight - I'm really excited to watch it!).  I was thinking about it too but one time I dreamed I rebonded my hair, and it was so ugly I ran away from the hairdresser into a thunderstorm to wash it all out.  Haha so guess that's paghahayag that I shouldn't do it ;) 
This transfer went by so fast!  I can't believe how fast they're getting now and I just wish it would slow down.  I feel like every week I say this because it really is too fast ahh!!!

This week and last week I've been realizing a lot the importance of teaching while we find and I love the rule of needed someone of our own gender in the lessons.  Because of it we've found some really great investigators.  One of them is a Tatay who we usually teach with his wife.  When we went there, his wife said she couldn't listen because she was cooking.  We told him in order to teach him we had to have some women present and asked if his could invite his daughter, who usually doesn't care to listen.  So somewhat reluctantly, she came as well as two of his other daughters who were just there visiting.  The lesson went really well, and one of the daughters had a lot of questions and is going to read the Aklat ni Mormon.  We're really excited to continue teaching them!
San Marcelino is so great!  I love the people here a lot!  Sister Sarfraz thinks she's transfering because transfers are right around the corner, so next week I'll let you know if I'm lucky enough to stay with Sista Sa'fraz one more transfer!

Love you lots!!!
Sister Marshall :)

July 6, 2015 --- RAINY SEASON IS REALLY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Hello family!  Alright, here goes for a record fast email! This week's been great and just a little bit of everything else!  In our apartment, no one's lived there for a few years so there are plenty of critters.  The first couple days we killed a HUGE spider in the bathroom each day.  One morning I woke up and while I was walking downstairs I felt something tickling my shin, when I looked there was nothing on my leg.  Then a few minutes later, I felt it again super confused so I tried to itch it and felt something hard....I was so freaked out I just dropped my pants and screamed, "THERE'S A COCKROACH IN MY PANTS!!!!"  Sobrang gross and now I'm a little nervouse everynight before bed, ugh cockraoches!! But thankfully, Sister Lutao came to my rescue and killed it so it's gone now! 

Reasons I adore Sister Sarfraz:
1) While teaching about the Word of Wisdom, Sister Sarfraz said, "Tatay!  Do you want to become pogi (handsome)? Then you need to do this!"
2) When Sister Sarfraz realized the transfer's almost over, she said, "This transfer is so super fast, maybe I love you?"
3) Last night Sister Sarfraz let me try on her Pakistani  outfits, they are maganda.  I think she's secretly a princess over there or something.  The clothes are really so gorgeous.  With sequence and jewels , I felt like I was trying on some of Grandma Cook's fancy gowns and jackets.
4) She's just adorable in general!

It's hard to sleep at night now because it rains and rains and I can't help but watch it.  My bed is by the window and it's like watching my favorite movie/trying to fall asleep, I can close my eyes because I might miss my favorite parts.  The Philippines is a whole new world in rainy season.  Last night, we learned how to boil water for baths because we got SOAKED from the rains!! 

Our FHE on Monday was crazy because on the way there the tryke ran out of gas and we had to push the tryke until we could get gas.  While we were pushing the tryke two people stopped to help us, one was a less-active that wants the missionaries to visit and the other was a woman who's late husband was a Mormon.  She told us that she's finally ready to be a Mormon too.  They're both in some other missionaries area so we won't get to teach them but it was really fun to meet them.  I'm amazed at the way Heavenly Father leads us to people through small and simple things, even if at first they may seem inconvenient, there's always a greater purpose.  

We had exchanges again and I got to go to the beach again :)  We even taught a lesson, sitting on the sand watching the fun!  

This week, we were finally able to teach Ricardo.  He lives near a couple of the recent converts here and he just will not let us teach him, I think he's just been a little shy or something, and always say, "sige next time."  We were about to start a lesson yesterday and he was just kind of hanging around by his house.  So we started talking to him, and tried a different tactic.  Instead of asking if he'd join, we just said, "We have a message that will bless your life and you're not doing anything right now, you can sit right here."  Well it worked!  He listened and so did his friend!  Ricardo said that he has the pamphlet we give out and he's read it and it was good.  We gave him an Aklat ni Mormon and he was so grateful for it and said he'll read it.  Afterwards, I just thought, "Ah why didn't we do that sooner?" The people who are ready are just right in front of our eyes, all in took was us going that extra step.  

I know that at home and everywhere else, those "missionary moments" are waiting for you.  Each of us is truly is a missionary and Heavenly Father uses each of us to help others learn of His plan.  We know the way that the gospel has blessed our lives and everyone else deserves the gospel in their lives too.  We need to be ready and ask for courage and the Spirit to help us recognize those opportunities and reach out to those who Heavenly Father has put in our pathway. It is part of Heavenly Father's plan and syempre he is more that ready to help us! 

So I guess the email wasn't record fast, just really scattered.  But I love you all and hope you have a great week!!


Sister Marshall :)

PS The 4th of July was great here!  The Wright's (a senior couple) made us shrimp, crab, beans, and BBQ ribs...might have been the best 4th of July meal ever!!

June 29, 2015 --- Moving Day!‏

Guess what we did today??  We moved apartments!!  I'm so excited for our new apartment.  We're closer to the church and some of the members and it is like a palace, it even has two bathrooms yay!!  This transfers been going by so fast, only two weeks left, hopefully I get to stay here a lot longer!!

So one of my favorite things about this transfer is just Sister Sarfraz she is so funny and so cute!!  She just makes me laugh all day, everyday.  Her English is SO cute too!!  One day I told her, "Sister Sarfraz, I just think you're a hoot." to which she replied, "No Sister, I'm not hooting"  haha ah she's just so cute!  And she's really good at listening to the Spirit too.  She's honestly just amazing.  I absolutely love her prayers too.  They are the most humble, sincere prayers.

This week, I've been trying a lot more to say better prayers, more specific prayers and it has been amazing.  We've had a some investigators and less-active members who we've been trying really hard to help come to church.  They'll keep any commitment we extend to them, but for some reason, church is hard for them.  This week we've been really trying to help them come and we let them know them know that we really, truly pray for them to be able to come to church.  Well that put together with really specific prayers has really, really worked.  They were able to come to church, the investigators and the less-actives.  After talking with one of the less-actives, she really thanked us for our prayers, and told us of how much she'd struggled to be able to come to church.  

I really love the opportunity that we have to pray, all the time every where. It is great!!  I know without a doubt that our prayers are heard and answered and more than anything that Heavenly Father is so incredibly aware of each of His children.  

Love you all!!
Sister Marshall :)

The picture I was going to send was of us in the new apartment but saying the computer wouldn't load it so here's the caption of the picture instead:
Our new apartment was the house of some of the members here.  They are the cutest old couple and just moved in with their kids.  They left behind cute vintage furniture and this PIANO!!!  Some termites ate some of the piano, but it's still so fun to play even though you can only hear 1/2 the notes.  Ah I love it here!!

June 22, 2015 --- Let's Go To The Beach, Beach...‏

Wow Happy Father's Day!!!!  I hope you're all having lots of fun at home with summertime!  This week was just SO FUN!!!  It rained almost everyday and ah I love, love, love it!!

So many fun things happened this week!
- We drank/ate lots of fresh coconut mmmm!!!
- We got lots and lots of mangos.  As in Sister Sarfraz's bike basket was full and I had a huge plastic sack full of mangos on the back of my bike.  We're so blessed here :)
- We went to a birthday party and while we were there, it started pouring rain!!!  It lasted for a really, really long time and we had to go because we had an appointment to get to.  Turning to Sister Sarfraz I asked, "Can you do it? Ready for a bike ride in the rain?"  She just looked at me and said , "oooh Sister Marshall the things you do!"  I wish I could record the way she says things it's so cute, especially when she tries to act like she's mad, but then smiling.  She's so cute and we had a really fun, soaking wet bike ride!

When it comes to funny things people say to us foreigners it's literally endless but here's just a few:
- a lady was walking by and asked, "Elders why are you so beautiful?"  We just couldn't say anything without laughing.
- "You're eyes look like the ocean.  If we were in Amerika by the river, I'd sing you a romance song."

It's just been a week full of a lot of laughs.  Sister Sarfraz is a hoot and it is so fun laughing with her all day every day!  But this week has been incredible for so many more reasons too.  Lately these past few weeks, we've been able to get in to the houses of less-actives who missionaries haven't been able to get into yet. And they came to church!!   Maybe it's just our foreigner charm ;) There are so many people who are just so prepared here in San Marcelino.

One of my favorite things to do is give out the Aklat ni Mormon.  There have been a few people lately who we just cannot find a time to teach them.  They are always out in the bukid (farm) at the times that we are able to go out and teach.  But although we're not there, they've found time after they're long day to read the Aklat ni Mormon.  Really that's the most important thing.  The Book of Mormon is the key to our religion.  Reading the Book of Mormon is just awesome!  Because the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, I've always wondered how much the Book of Mormon really says about Jesus Christ.  When I restarted, back in December, I started putting a red box every time it says Jesus Christ, or Son of God, or any other name that Christ is known by. It is amazing, one of my friends also marks every time it mentions the Atonement.  I love it!  I'm finally in 3 Nephi and tomorrow I'll be reading about when Christ visits the people of Ancient Amerika.  I absolutely love the Book of Mormon so much.  I have come closer to Christ through reading the Book of Mormon than ever before.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and it is absolutely a blessing for anyone will put forth the effort to read it.  I love you all. I love the Philippines and the people here. I love being a missionary. I love the Book of Mormon and my Savior Jesus Christ.

Sister Marshall

1) I went on exchanges to San Felipe with Sister Laguerta.  She was my housemate during my first transfer in Guagua.  The first exchange I had was with her so it was really great being able to see the ways that my laguage and teaching skills have improved.  Also guess what...THEY HAVE A BEACH!!  So I got to see the ocean (and I touched the water for a was warm, ah swimming in the Philippines' ocean is for sure on my bucket list now but it will take a year or two before that happens, but oh I'm so excited!)

June 15, 2015 --- One Little, Two Little Indians...‏

Hello family!  
Just in case you were wondering, it is so much fun here in the Philippines with my little Indian!!  Sister Sarfraz is awesome.  So the church in Pakistan is a working progress.  Her house was actually one of the first houses used for the church members to meet in.  They now have meetinghouses and 12 branches in Pakistan!!  They’re part of the India New Delhi Mission and they’re closest temple are the China Hongkong and Philippines Manila temples.  She is the absolutely sweetest person ever and she says the most humble meaningful prayers ever.  I adore her!!  And so do all of the people here!
San Marcelino is absolutely gorgeous.  Now that our bikes are fixed, we’ve been riding bikes a lot more.  It’s super funny because there are so many tryke and jeepney drivers who totally turn around, definitely don’t look at the road, and wave at us while we ride, honestly I’m surprised that I haven’t seen any wrecks here yet.  It’s so funny.  I love riding bikes because it gives me a lot of time to look around.  In Guagua it was more of a city area, that was super hot, and we had lots of exhaust constantly in our faces.  But here is it so green! There are mountains and field everywhere!!!  Sobrang maganda I cannot get over it.  And the people are so great!  Syempre!

The work is so great here!  One of the families that were working with is a less-active mother, who is returning and helping her sons to prepare for baptism.  The boys are all like Cam.  Super funny, pogi, gentlemen, and are so smart!  I always feel right at home, and like I’m teaching a bunch of younger brothers, when we’re with the Dela Cruz family.  This week we’ve also had a lot of people say “no” when we invite them to be baptized which is actually really great!  Usually we get a “Filipino yes” which is just a yes because it’s probably the right answer.  But when they say “no” we have the opportunity to ask why, and what it would mean to be baptized, and we get more meaningful answers than just a “Filipino yes.”  There’s just a lot of greatness to come forth in San Marcelino. 

We had an area broadcast yesterday which was awesome.  It focused a lot on the ways that the gospel changes families.  The gospel is an incredible change and blessing in every individuals lives, but the way that it can bring together the individuals and change a family is even more incredible.  I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel each day.  It’s the best thing in the world!!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Marshall :)

Two Little Indians - we found this at one of our investigators houses and of course we had to take a picture :)

July 8, 2015 --- Goodbye Guagua, Hello San Marcelino!!

Hahaha - that is all I have to say about this week.  I got transferred and while I was packing, it felt like I was packing to leave home again, so weird and I definitely cried a little saying goodbyes but now I'm here in San Marcelino, Zambales and it is maganda!! 

The other day (I wish I'd taken a picture but this all happened during a lesson so I couldn't, sayang) we saw a guy riding by sitting on a Carabao (Water Buffalo) pulling a cart of bamboo sticks, then (dad this is something I can imagine you doing;) haha) a few minutes later we see the Carabao walking along the street pulling the cart with the guy now laying in the empty cart sleeping.  

Then oh my word, in sacrament meeting I don't know what happened but one of the members has an instant obsession with Sister Petersen and I.  During his testimony her shared that Sister Petersen and I are both from Utah, "not Idaho because there's a lot of patatas there.  Here we have camotes (sweet potatoes) and they'll like the camotes..." then I don't know where he was going with this but he started talking about how the camotes will make us fart, and kept going on about stuff like that.  Then at the end he before he left the pulpit, he waved and said "hi Sister Marshall!!"  It's just so fun here!!  It feels a lot like my first week again but it is so fun!!
I'm kabahay (roommates) with Sister Petersen, my MTC companion and it has been so fun!!! But even more fun is my new companion Sister Sarfraz she is awesome.  She's from Pakistan which is in the New Dehli, India mission.  She is for sure the nicest person I've ever met!  It's so cute watching her talk with everyone.  She's one transfer ahead of me in the mission so our Tagalog is about the same.  I've felt the gift of tongues a lot just this past week because there's no Filipina companion to help me now.  Although I feel like Tagalog has been getting a lot better, everyone keeps telling me it's really bad.  Haha oops!  It's super different because in Guagua they always said that I sound Filipina and here they always tease me about it haha but I'm glad for some honesty finally!
The people here are really different too.  So much more willing to listen and progress.  There are a lot of recent converts here (something there's not a lot of in Guagua) and it is awesome working with them!!  I love hearing about the way the gospel has been changing their lives.  It's maganda!  I love being a missionary so much and I love seeing the effects of the gospel in people's lives.  Sobrang great talaga.
I'm really excited to see what this new transfer and area will bring!!
Syempre, I love you lots!!! :)
Sister Marshall

1) Last night in Guagua!
2) My beautiful companion, Sister Sarfraz
3) I've missed my Cache Valley mountains so when I saw these I definitely had to take a picture!  Almost like home ;)

May 31, 2015 --- Just read the Book of Mormon, it's SO good! :)

Hello family!!!!  This week was great as always!  This week and transfer especially we've been finding so many amazing people who are so great!!  

One of our investigators is Arvie.  He's super awesome.  We just met him at church one Sunday and he told us he wanted to learn more about the church.  As we've been teaching him he told us the reason that he's interested: as he's thought about his desire to stop smoking and drinking, two people always come to mind.  The two people are his classmates from almost 10 years ago and are members of this branch. He always wondered and admired how they've been able to go through life without smoking or alcohol.  He knew they were both Mormons so he decided to try out the church.  It's amazing the way being a good example can stay with someone and affect their lives.  He's super receptive and really smart!

There was a guy we met on a jeep a couple weeks ago and he told us that we could come teach him.  Yesterday we were finally able to teach him and his family and they are awesome!  They have a lot of different religions in they're background but right now they're Baptist's.  When we told us that, I thought of the movie Baptist's at Our Barbeque.  Have your seen that?  It's so funny and brother Ray looks just like one of the guys in the movie!  They are really awesome though because they read the Bible a lot and were asking the greatest questions during the lesson.  

Sorry short-lang and email ko, but I love you all!  I love being a missionary here and each day I learn so much.  Everyone always tells me that scripture study on the mission is the best.  And it is. :)  There's so much to learn each day about the gospel and from the Book of Mormon. The reason that scripture study is so good here is because we've set specific time aside each day to study and each time we study, we start and end with a prayer.  Super simple, and something I want to do for the rest of my life!  I know as we set time aside each day, and pray for the guidance of the Spirit, we will learn exactly what we need to know.  I love, love, love the Book of Mormon more and more each day!!  And I love you all too!  Have a great week! :)

Sister Marshall

We have lots of members preparing for missions or just super willing to come with us in general.  Guagua is so great!!

Lots of pogi mga Tatay at church.  The one on my left (sitting down) is a recent convert and his best friend, they are the cutest!

Goodbye Sister Villaviles!! 

May 24, 2015 --- I Finally Got to Wear the Yellow Jersey!!!‏

​Hello family!!  Alam mo ba school is almost over!!!  Crazy!  I hope you're all super excited for summer break, the summer break here in the Philippines ends on June 1...also rainy season should be here in just a couple weeks....SOBRANG EXCITED AKO!!! :)

Pretty much every moment of missionary work is my favorite in some way or another but this was one of my favorites of my favorites this week:

So this week we were going to teach one of the tryke drivers that we met last week.  Anyways, when we'd talked to him he told us that we could come over at Wednesday at 10am.  And seemed super, super excited for us to teach him and his family.  So syempre we were really excited too!  As we tried to find his house we realized we weren't exactly sure where he lived.  He told us Ligaya, but turns out that place doesn't even the tryke driver we were with told us it was probably this other place so we went there looking for a tryke driver named Jonathon. No one knew him but people told us there's a tryke driver Jessie and he lives by the basketball court.  So we went there and met his wife, who was nice but super, super uninterested!  We knew the tryke driver we'd met wasn't her husband so basically we're 90% sure this "Johnathon" guy gave us lots of fake info and we totally fell for it.  But okay-lang because everything has a purpose!  So while we were kind of lost in one of our farthest areas we decided to ask if anyone knew any of the people in the list of members in our area.  The first name we asked actually lived right across the basketball court!  When we went over to her house it was incredible.  Apparently she and her daughters had been baptized a couple years ago in a different area and had been super active there.  A year later though her and her family moved and they had never been able to find the church in Guagua, and they lived so far away that every other time we'd asked about them, no one knew where they lived.  It was so amazing being with them.  The humble spirit was incredible as they told us how much their lives have changed and the ways that they've been blessed from having the gospel.

It's incredible the blessings that come from the gospel.  And knowing it.  And living it.  The gospel is amazing!  Everytime I think about the gospel I just think ah this is my favorite part! but really it's just all my favorite. :)  I love the way that you can never stop learning.  The more I learn the more I understand how much Heavenly Father loves us and how everything about the gospel and his plan for us is to bring us safely home.  Constantly throughout the day as Sister Cervantes and I talk about the things that have happened throughout the day and the people we've been able to teach we're so grateful to know the gospel and be missionaries because "sobrang great si Heavenly Father." :)  I love you all and hope you never stop learning about the gospel.  No matter how busy your days may be, there's always time to learn more about the gospel and read the Book of Mormon.  

Mahal ko kayo!!
Sister Marshall :)

We did a community service project helping one of the elementary schools clean the gardens and yard helping them get ready for school to start and we were all wearing these yellow vests!  Sorry I didn't actually take pictures while we were out and about but it was so fun!  And so great to see how many of the branch members were willing to come and serve together!

Lunch after the service project and it was so fun!  I think it's called a "budo fight."  Basically you do exactly what you see in the picture, use lots of leaves, put rice and meat down the middle of the table and everyone eats with their hands.  It's sobrang masarap!!!


This is the cutest old man in Guagua.  And I finally got a picture with him!!!  He'll never stop to let us talk to him but whenever we're walking around in San Antonio, I'll feel a tap on my shoulder and when I turn around see him giggling to himself and shuffling away with his big walking stick.  Sobrang cute siya!  He always makes my day!

May 17, 2015 --- This One's For Africa

Family of mine!

It was so fun Skyping with you last week!!  I love Mother's Day!!  And it prepared me for speaking to speak a little more English than usual.  Something fun that's started this week is we've taught a couple of the lessons in English because the man is from South Africa and his girlfriend speaks perfect English too.  The first lesson was actually kind of hard because from day one in the MTC we try everything in Tagalog so I've never really taught a lesson in English so I was just nosebleeding the whole time (here a nosebleed is not a bloody nose, haha cause that would be gross during a lesson, it's just when it's hard to speak English correctly).  But it's really fun now and Sister Cervantes is super magaling (talented) sa English so it's been really fun teaching in English!

One of the great things about challenging times in life, is if you just keep going, great things/miracles start to happen.  After getting punted and punted and punted even by every lesson we had scheduled, every back up, and every back up for our back ups we decided to try one more person on the other side of town.  As we were walking, we saw a girl standing all alone in front of a gate to a house.  Cathy told us that she was a caretaker of that house and she had left her phone inside, but there were 15 dogs behind the gate barking at us and she was too scared to go inside.  She didn't know her husbands phone number so she couldn't call him from anyone's phone, so she'd just been outside waiting hoping her husband would show up to help her.  While we waited/talked with her she told us her name which is a super uncommon last name and was the same last name as less-actives members who we've been trying to find for a couple of months.  We asked her if she knew him and the less-active member is actually her father!  Cathy was really excited to talk to us about the church and wants to come with us to meet her father when we go to their house.  I love what Sister Cervantes said after that, "sometimes Heavenly Father gives us exactly what He knows we need for His plans to happen." Heavenly Father let Cathy forget about her phone, and held back for a couple minutes from blessing her with courage because He knew what needed to be done for His plan to come forth.  It's amazing because right after we'd talked with her and made plans to meet her father, she opened the gate with the dogs behind it, went in the house, and got her phone.  She wasn't even scared when she went in, as if she'd just been waiting for us so we'd be able to meet her and her father. :)  It was one of those times that bears witness how incredibly aware Heavenly Father is of each of His children.  Even if we think we need courage (or whatever it is we need), sometimes Heavenly Father just let's us wait a minute until we learn something that will bless our lives even more. :)

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Mahal kita, 

Sister Marshall

We've started having a super fun English classes every Saturday night. "No more nosebleeds!"

The two Nanay's closest to me are basically pioneers of Guagua branch.  Nanay Luciana (orange) and Nany Belen (pink) are both 81-years-old, sobrang sweet, and they remind me so much of Grandma Cook.  Oh they're just so cute!!

Sister Cervantes and I always have lots of fun at church! Syempre!

May 3, 2105 --- 6 Months Down...WHAT?

Dear family,

DID YOU KNOW I'VE BEEN GONE FOR 6 MONTHS!!!  Seriously, I don't know where the time has gone.  It's crazy!  Now I'm just on a downhill slope, and I'll be home in less than a year.  It's crazy and I just with time would take it's time and slow down a little.  So now that I've hit my 6 month mark this is what it's like...

Tagalog - I still definitely don't understand everything, but people here are saying that my Tagalog has gotten better and I make sense more and they can't usually understand what I'm saying...haha maybe one day I'll be fluent - I can hardly wait for that day!

Weather - it's summer time and really hot.  Cold showers are maybe even better that ice cream (which means a lot because you know how much I love ice cream)!  I have this annoying heat rash or something and I don't really want skin cancer so I've been thinking about being one with the Filipinos and using an umbrella all day to block the sun...haha but that one is just a maybe.  PS rainy season should be starting in a couple weeks!!!  YAY!!!

Guagua - I'm still in Guagua and it's still great.  The people here are so nice and they still say the funniest things!  Honestly, I don't think I'll ever get used to the times were walking down the street and guys say "Hey Joe, I like you!"  Haha there's so many more funny things I need to start making a list for you.  Everyone that was in my zone when I got here has over the past few months has been transferred - so basically I'm a pioneer here.

Food - the food is still delicious except sometimes rice makes me sick, which is maybe a good thing because I think it's the main reason I'm getting fatter.  Haha seriously it's pretty likely I've gained 20 pounds or something.  But I can't figure out the exact number because all the scales are in kilos, too bad!  Haha so many members say "Ah Sister Marshall, your waist used to be this big, now it's this big. And your cheeks are chubbier (and they love pinching my cheeks ay naku!)." So funny and I guess it's true!  But from what I've seen, everyone gains weight in Guagua because the members feed us so much!!  Busog na busog palagi! (I'm always so full)!

Random Filipino Things - I wash all my clothes by hand now, we used to have members wash some of our clothes but now we just do it...haha what a joy, but it's actually kind of fun.  I'm getting okay at cooking Filipino food, it's actually super easy and fun!  I LOVE trykes and jeepneys.  Honestly, I don't know how you do it at home without a tryke or jeep.  Yesterday there was a boxing match against Paquiao (Filipino) and Merryweather (|American) it was probably as big as the superbowl!  The American won - too bad. I love filipino humor!  It's so just cute and simple (basically pickuplines one after another) and haha they're so funny!!

Pinaka-important...THE GOSPEL - Each day more and more I love the gospel.  Honestly it's just so great.  I love being able to teach the gospel because it helps me understand/love it more and understand how important it really is.  Every aspect of the gospel just shows how much Heavenly Father loves us.  Ah He just loves us so much!!   My testimony grows in different ways each day.  I love that getting a testimony isn't just a one time deal, but something that can be worked on and grow constantly.  The gospel is just maganda (good/beautiful).  I love it and I love you!!

Sister Marshall :)


In the Philippines, rather than pinatas they hang up pots filled with candy and break the pot.  But this is actually my favorite...this kid has a stick in his hand and everyone is shouting at him "one more step, right two steps, no too far!"  Then whenever he thinks he's under the balloon he pushes the stick up (he only gets one chance too) and tries to pop the water balloon above his head.  Haha so cute!!
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One of our investigators makes delicious buko (coconut) pie and mammon (tastes like angel food cake).  Because her oven is so cool and her food is so delicious syempre I had to take a picture :)
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My p-day groupie...haha these kids just hang out by the window and wave at us/watch us while we email!
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April 26, 2015 ---- Transfer Time!!!

Transfers have come and gone and I'm still in Guagua...everyone says I've been here for sooooo long but I'm glad because I love it here!  Sister Lim is done with her mission and at home now.  It's so sad saying goodbyes, but all is well because my new companion is absolutely AMAZING!!!  Her name is Sister Cervantes, she is from Bicol, Philippines.  Before the mission she studied elementary education and she's so cute with kids and everyone!  She's just so, so great, positive, creative, basically everything a good missionary should be - that's her!  So I am super excited for this transfer!!!

As a missionary, we always have funny stories because we spend so much time with so many different people.  Yesterday, while we were contacting people we were talking to an older woman and her daughter.  Then a man walks out of the house and says goodbye to the women.  (We'll call him Cortez because that's the name of the spys on Spy Kids right? Haha) I recognized the guy because we've taught him once, but before we could say anything to him he did this funny little "hurry and turn you back from the missionaries/run and hide behind the door" like a super uncoordinated spy.  Later, while we were talking to these other people, I glanced back at the house Cortez the "spy" was at and he was peeking out the gate at us, trying to hide behind his ball cap. But when he saw us he hid again.  As we kept going down the street, we just happened to see him every time he was trying to leave the old lady's house.  Finally I guess Cortez got sick of getting caught and just wanted to go home.  As we walked to another house we saw a guy walking next to us.  But really it was just Cortez and he'd taken his shirt off, wrapped it around his head (like an Arabian spy), put his ball cap really, really low, and stuck a cigarette in his mouth through his t-shirt.  It was too funny to not say anything so we said "Hello Brother, kumusta po kayo?" to which his only reply was just running into the nearest gate and then finally made his way home dodging in and out of the neighbors plants and laundry.  Haha we could not stop laughing!

The other day, as we were "tao po"-ing a house but instead the neighbor answered their door and let us in.  The father invited us in to meet his family and we were able to share with them.  They're so great!  It's so, so much fun being able to share with families because it makes me see more and more how the gospel applies and blessing us at every single stage in our life!  Ah the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint is just so true!!  I love, love, love seeing the effects it makes in everyone's lives ALWAYS!  Seriously just seeing it's effect on me even as a missionary is so great.  I don't really know what stories or who to tell you about this week, but the main message of anything I would tell you is that the gospel is just so great.  There is really nothing better than it.  And I am so, so grateful to have the gospel in my life and the opportunity to be a missionary.  It's really just all so great, and awesome, and just ah I love it here!

I love you all so, so much!  Have a great week and share the greatness of the gospel with someone!  Mahal na mahal kita! :)
Sister Marshall

It doesn't rain very often yet but I AM SO EXCITED FOR RAINY SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Saying goodbye to Sister Lim!  Sister Mclean, me!, Sister Villaviles, Sister Lim, Sister Cervantes
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To pick mangoes out of the tree they have these next things on 10-15 foot poles.  They're awesome and the mangoes are so good!!
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

April 20, 2015 --- Brownouts and Ulan‏

Hello my lovely family!  How are you doing?  Rumor has it is snowed in Salt Lake...oh I hope that snow made it to Logan!!!! :)  I got your package and loved it!!!  It came just in time.  Last night was so great and sad.  We had a brownout (which is what they call a blackout here) while Sister Lim was packing so we helped her pack by candlelight.  The worst part about brownouts are when we can't use the fans.  It was so hot!!!!  But luckily it started raining so Sister Walker and I went out in the rain and it was the best!  You know when it's snowing and the snowflakes are so big and wet it's like a huge raindrop?  That's just what the ulan (rain) felt like last night.  A hot, hot night and really cold, BIG raindrops.  Ah I can't wait for rainy season!!!  But it's not until June-July so I'm trying to patiently wait out the heat.  When I first got here I didn't understand why everyone says it's SO HOT here, but know I'm beginning to understand.  With all the heat, sweat, and dirt in the air by the time we get home at night we are gross.  And then five minutes after showering (ps I love cold showers!!!) you realize "ah mabahong ako ulit!" (I stink again!!) it's a rough life haha.  Also the Reese's you sent me I put in the fridge so it would get cold.  When I opened it some of the chocolate fell on  the ground and right when it hit the floor it melted already and was just a pool of chocolate on the yeah it's kind of hot here.  But I still love it here!

Lately we've continued working to find each member of our branch and meet them if possible.  The work we've been doing is crazy.  We find each person, take the time to get to know them, and then us missionaries write about how the visit went and draw a map to their house.  It keeps us busy, busy, busy but I love it.  Seeing the amount of love and work that is put in each individual member of the church just bears testimony to me so much of love Heavenly Father has for each of his children.  He makes sure that each and every one of His children are accounted for.  Ah He loves us so much!!  :)

It's incredible to the way we're led to those seeking for truth.  I've read so many incredible stories, and they've been happening here too, about how we are just led to those who need us.  Eeeh it's so amazing!  There have been so many days when Sister Lim and I look at our schedule and know exactly where we're going and then without realizing it we just show up somewhere else at the exact time that we're able to meet someone who is seeking the message of  the gospel.  Like last week, we we're walking home and we were pretty close to the apartment (there's not usually a lot of jeeps at night and if there are they're usually pretty full) but then we looked at each other and just say "Let's jeep," and wave down the jeep that was randomly next to us. The driver pulls over and even though the jeep only had a couple people in it he waved us up to the front seats.  When we got in he told us that the missionaries used to teach him but he was always at work so they stopped coming and lately his been feeling like he needs to listen to the missionaries again and has been looking for us.  Honestly, the timing of so many things that happen is so surreal and I just know that we are so led to where we need to be.  

Experiences like this also remind me of a talk that Elder Bednar gave to the missionaries in the MTC.  It was about the Holy Ghost.  With a lot of the places we go, I don't typically a direct prompting saying "you have to go here instead."  It's more like we just try and be the best missionaries we can be each day and we end up being where we need to be with the people we need to be with.  And it's not usually until afterwards when we look back we realize that without knowing it we actually didn't go where we planned and just showed up where we need to be. (Sorry that sentence was a confusing one).  Anyways, in Elder Bednar's talk he talked a lot about experiences like that.  That the Holy Ghost doesn't need to always directly say do this or do that, but as we try to be the best boys and girls that we can be, we will be led by the Spirit and be in the places we need to be doing the things we need to do.  I love, love, love when I have the Spirit as my companion.  It's just great!  And I absolutely love the Spirit I feel while reading the Book of Mormon.  Each chapter I read is so good and becomes my new favorite chapter.  The more I read and pray about the Book of Mormon it really truly is becoming my favorite book! :)  Oh I love it!  And I love you all too!!!  Have a great week and hopefully you get to play in the snow lots!!! :)

Mahal na mahal kita,
Sister Marshall :D

One of our biggest accomplishments as an apartment is that we taught Sister Lim how to ride a bike!!!  Sister Villaviles is the best teacher though because she'd just push the bike, start laughing, and say "go day go!!!" (day..pronounced girl in Cebuano)
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Sister Walker and I love the rain and our moo-moos so much!  They makes us smile so big we can't even keep our eyes open for pictures!
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A lot of times I really miss being surrounded by mountains, but one of the blessings of no mountains in sight is that the sky is HUGE and filled with the prettiest clouds ever!!  I trip all the time because I just can't keep my eyes off this gorgeous sky.
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