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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April 12, 2015 --- Bakit Hindi!‏

Kumusta kayo family?  Now I finally understand which talks you liked at General Conference.  We finally watched it this weeked and ah, they were ALL SO GOOD!!!  I can't wait to get the May 2015 Liahona so I can read, and reread, and reread all of the talks!

My favorite lesson was yesterday to Edward.  He's only 14 and has been less active for a while but has recently he's finally started coming to church even when none of his family will come with him.  Sister Lim asked him what his dream in life is.  His answer was simply, "to become a missionary!"

This week, we had our first lesson with a woman named Tess.  As we taught her about the restoration of the gospel and the restoration of Priesthood power we asked her, if the power of God was truly on earth, would she want to be baptized by someone holding the power of God or the Priesthood power.  Her answer was "bakit hindi!" or "why not!"  I love it!  It's such a great answer.  

As we watched General Conference this weekend, I thought a lot about Tess' answer.  With each commandment that God gives to us, we are promised blessings.  So many blessings!  I absolutely loved the talk (notice the link...if you haven't read it, read it!!!)  "Is Not This The Fast That I Have Chosen" by Henry B. Eyring.  When it comes to paying tithing, the how and the why are so straight forward.  As we pay 10% of our increase (or income) to the Lord, he pays us back a hundredfold.  Tithing gives us the security to know even if we don't have a lot, we will always have enough.  As President Eyring focused on in his talk as well, the tithing we pay greatly blesses and changes the lives of others too.  So, "why not!"  

One of my favorite quotes about tithing is found in the talk "Opening the Windows of Heaven" by James E. Faust.  It reads, "As President Hinckley said in Cebu in the Philippine Islands, if members “even living in poverty and misery … will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, … they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads. I do not see any other solution.” "  The blessings we are promised for following God's commandments are real and life changing.  As President Hinkley said, "I do not see any other solution."

I love you, I love you, I love you!
Sister Marshall

These are all the I live with they're great!!  Sister Villavilles (from Cebu), Sister Walker (Australia), Sister Lim (Iloilo...she goes home in one week!!!!) and me!!
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the Saturday afternoon general conference session looked just like this...haha we had some nice air-con.  And we got to watch in English or Tagalog...this is the English room!!!!
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Sister Abella makes us the YUMMIEST food every week!!
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April 5, 2015 --- Rockstar Grandma

Happy Easter!!  How were you Easter egg hunts and General Conference and Spring Break?!  Did I tell you? I just wish I could carry a video camera around with me all the time so you could see how great it is here!

I have so many favorite parts of this week but this one is probably my favorite-favorite funny thing.  We were talking with a woman (I think she said she's in her 90's) who kept telling me I look like Mary, and as soon as we bring up the church (literally all we said was "We're missionaries from the church...") she completely cut us off and started singing really, really loud (and energetically!) about the Virgin Mary.  I wish I could have recorded it but just imagine a granny, with black dye in her hair, a huge umbrella to block the sun, waving her arms and acting out/pointing to each thing she sings about..."Your hair so dark...and your skin so fair...something about a long cloak...come sit by me near the tree over there..." I wish I could have remembered the whole song though because it lasted for at least a full minute.  She's definitely my new favorite singer!!

Saturday night was the hottest night EVER in my life!!!  It was so hot that my dream was just about me filling water bottles and putting them in the fridge.  Every day gets a little bit hotter and I'm finally beginning to understand why people say the Philippines is so hot.  And it's not even the hottest part of summer yet!  You know the scene from Holes when all the boys are in the desert and it's really hot and they're cheering on the cloud that almost covers the sun?  That's just what it's like here! I love the clouds more and more each day and I get more and more excited for rainy season!  (which is still pretty far away)...

This week was Holy Week and there is so much that goes on during Holy Week!  It was even crazier than Christmas or New Year's!  There were parades, all kinds of events in the plaza, food, and fireworks the whole week long.  It was great though because everyone is home for the week so we were able to teach/find a lot of people who we would have normally not been able to get a hold of.  My favorite lesson though was when we made temple goals with one of the families in our area.  It was kind of a "family counsel" with the missionaries.  For their goals, they decided on the date they want to be sealed as a family and wrote down how they were going to prepare for it.  It was so much fun seeing how involved/excited everyone got!  The kids all gave ideas of how they can improve their scripture study, remind each other to say their prayers, and help each member of the go to church on Sunday.  It was just such a sweet lesson and so, so exciting!!  I love seeing people progress in the Gospel and find more happiness each day in living the Gospel. 

Also, here's my little Easter message.  Today I was reading, from the March Liahona, Elder Bednar's talk Strength Beyond Our Own (that's a link so you can read it!) and it was really good!  It's about the "Grace" part of the Atonement.  Anyways, Elder Bednar is talking about when Nephi's brothers tied him up and Nephi prays for the strength to break the bonds he was tied in. I love when Elder Bednar says, "He did not pray to have his circumstance changed. He prayed to have the strength to change his circumstance."  I love that the Atonement doesn't only make it possible for us to be forgiven but will also give us strength to become better.  While you watched General Conference I hope there were things in your life that you realized could be changed to help you come closer to Christ.  And as you try to change, or improve, on those things, always remember and use the enabling power (grace) of the Atonement.  I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us so much and wants the very best for each of His children.  The Atonement is one of the many blessings or tools we have that we can used every single day to help us reach our fullest potential and be worthy of receiving all the the blessings Heavenly Father gives us.  I love you all and hope you take full advantage of having strength beyond your own!

Sister Marshall 
When the sun gets really bright outside, Sister Lim pulls her umbrella down to block the sun...and then she looks like a mushroom!!
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Sometimes we find random things like a bathroom in the middle of the water...
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Lately we've been seeing lots of goats everywhere!!!  They chase after us sometimes which is scary!  Also, this buko (coconut) house in the background is super masarap (delicious)!!  |They have the yummiest coconut shakes!
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Mar. 30, 2015 --- Let's Go Brush Our Teeth‏

Magandang umaga/magandang gabi because that's probably what it is in America!  How are you all doing?  While you're all busy getting home from or leaving for Spring Break, the kids here all just took their finals and there school is over!  Sayang (that's too bad) for you. ;)

Also here's my favorite Filipino joke of the week:
How do you tell your friend they have stinky breath without offending them?  You say, "My friend it's such a boring day!  Let's go brush our teeth."

Haha so this week we experienced the awkward moment when you have an investigator who's family is LDS and who's progressing really well and preparing for baptism...and then find out he's already been baptized and just forgot!!  We couldn't believe it.  When we saw his records, Sister Lim and I couldn't even talk and just laughed and laughed.  So our investigator suddenly switched over to a returning less-active.  Haha wow I still can't believe it!

I truly love working with the less-active members, helping them remember the fullness of the truths they've forgotten and strengthen their faith.  So many of the less-actives we've found tell us "I want to come back.  It's the gospel that helped me get through the hardest times of my lives, I really want to come back and I want my family their too."  It's so sad to see the little things that pulled them into becoming less-active in the church.  It's usually something little like work.  They had to miss church once for work, then another time, then pretty soon they work every Sunday for a month or two and since they haven't been to church in such a long time, they just don't ever go.  They want to, but they don't.  It's so sad to see where they started and where they've ended up.  How unti-unti (little by little) they've become inactive.  It reminds me of the story about the mouse that gets put in a snake's cage.  To eat the mouse, the snake could just rush at the mouse to try and catch it but then the mouse would know what was happened and run away.  So instead the snake slowly goes closer to the mouse and when the mouse gets a little uncomfortable the snake goes away.  The next time the snake goes towards the mouse, it gets a little closer than the time before and goes away.  And this keeps happening.  Unti-unti.  Until the mouse is comfortable where it is, the snake is up close, and the snake can eat the mouse before it can run away.  This is just how Satan is.  Instead us throwing things, he's just uses the unti-unti type of temptations.  Because he knows once we accept the little things, it's easier for us to accept the bigger things.  But helping them come out of their inactivity is so amazing!!

A couple of our investigators right now are 14-year-olds.  Their faith amazes me.  One of my favorite thing is teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel, and when Joseph Smith first saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, because they are the same age that Joseph Smith was when that happened!!  Honestly these kids here are amazing.  The questions they have, their understanding of the Bible, the ability to recognize when some of their past churches preach from the Bible but don't follow the Bible's teachings, and then hearing them testify that they've prayed about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and know it true.  Everything about these kids just puts me in awe and builds my testimony more and more each day.  I know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us.  And He is so aware of each individual.  I know that He hears and answers our prayers.  I know that this church is true, there's just no way it couldn't be.

Of course I love you lots and lots!

Sister Marshall :)

We found this lovely notebook and I had to take a picture because it is so funny!!  I not sure on all of them but I think the foods are chicken intestines(on the stick), some kind of drink, fish balls (in the cup), kikian (long skinny ones), blood clots(I don't know the right words but that's literally what they are, they look like yummy little brownies...but they're not), kwek-kwek(hardboiled eggs fried - little orange circles), and squid balls (the tan colored circle).

This is exactly what a jeep full of missionaries looks like...

Mar. 23, 2015 --- Let's Just Call it Quits..

Pamilya ko!  How are you all doing? I keep forgetting it's March because it's not spring over here!  It's crazy.  I hope it's at least a little cold it Utah and that you are all LOVING it!!!!!

This week was a week for a lot of firsts:
1. I tried to catch one of the little geckos that are all over the place here and when I tried to catch it I accidentally ripped it's tail off so it's tail was in my hand and just kept finching.  Eeeeeewwwww!!!!
2. I did it.  I finally gave in and touched one of the dogs here.  One of our investigators had the CUTEST little puppy so not only did I touch a dog here, I held it.  It me straight back to 4th grade when our dogs at home would have puppies and we'd hold them all day!  So that was fun while it lasted until I saw the fleas crawling all over the puppy.
3. Sister Dahle (our Mission President's wife) decided it's time for all the apartments to clean so well that we're at the temple's standard of cleanliness.  So we did some deep cleaning today and the worst of it was the cupboard under the sink.  It's always been a little stinky, full of grocery bags for our garbage cans, and had black dots all over the bottom of it.  And it has definitely NEVER been cleaned!  While cleaning it, we realized, this cupboard is where all the cockroaches and geckos live and I'm sure there's been a mouse or two that's lived there.  Also, the black dots wasn't dust like we's just a whole lot of tae (poop) from every creature that's ever lived there. EEEWWWWW!!!  We didn't have any bags to clean it either so we tied grocery bags around our hands up to our elbows.  But now it's clean and the smell is going away!!!! YAY!!  It was a rough experiences but it taught me a lot about gratitude.  I am so grateful cockroaches aren't a problem at home they're so gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We've been blessed a lot this week to find many people who truly desire to have the gospel in their lives, especially a lot of the less-active members we've been finding.  One of the less-actives we found was an 80 year old woman who wanted nothing to do with us.  While we were with her we tried to get her help with updating the records of her family and also teach her a lesson.  It was a definite fail.  All she did was tell us "oh they moved a little while ago, maybe to Manila but I don't know where I never go there, he died 5 years ago, or maybe 8 years ago, I don't know" and she also enjoyed telling us "you can't be missionaries, you're not men, you can't teach the gospel."  It was rough because we knew she knew the answer to every question we asked her but she was just holding back.  And we knew that some of her family was still there and we needed to go back.  So a couple days later, we went to her house and were praying she would just be asleep or something so we could talk to her family.  Luckily though her daughter was the one who came to the gate!  The old lady wasn't even home too because she was in Manila (and she said she doesn't go there...hmmmm).  Her daughter was able to answer our questions and we were able to have a really nice lesson with her.  It's really fun teaching the less-active members because so many of them that we've been able to find have really missed going to church and living the gospel.  It's so sad to hear them talk about how there life's have changed from when the gospel was their central focus in life to when it wasn't.  

This week we've had the opportunity to meet a lot of people who have a lot of questions about a lot of things.  The gospel is always the answer.  All of the answers to our question can be found in the gospel.  Whenever we feel lost, unsure, incapable, empty, fearful, anything, the gospel of Jesus Christ always provides the answers.  It provides a clear pathway to guide us through life.  I know that the the gospel is on earth because Heavenly Father loves us.  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly what everyone needs.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was established by Jesus Christ and has the fullness of the gospel.  There is no better life than a life established on the gospel, because it is in the gospel that true happiness, peace, and answers are found.

The quote of the week comes from an American man who recently retired here and who didn't want us to teach him, "Wow Sisters. You know, I just had the absolute greatest time talking with you.  What a pleasure.  It was such a pleasure let's just call it quits.  You have a nice day."

So family, it's been such a pleasure writing you but let's just call it quits (for now) ;)

Sister Marshall :D

Wow sorry I haven't sent pictures in forever but I think it will work now!

Seriously, Sister Lim = Hello Kitty.  CUTE!!!!

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Sometimes we find pretty places and stop to take a picture...
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Picture time in the Philippines is just way more fun!!!!  This girl Grace is super, super talented at singing!!!!

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