Monday, March 25, 2013

Showers are Over-rated

Hello Family,

Cate - great job with YW Basketball and maintaining the heritage of winning the region championship!

Last week I attended my first Filipino wedding and it did not disappoint.  One of our Investigators married a member in our ward. Because he is an investigator we needed to give them support and were able to attend their wedding. The wedding was at the chapel and the Stake President married them.  The bride is 7 months pregnant with twins so her tummy was quite large but she still looked beautiful in her dress.  The Filipino tradition for the attire of the men in the wedding party is to wear the color of the wedding underneath and then a long sleeved shear white shirt on top.  The Girls in the wedding party all wear bright gold. The ceremony was simple and nice.  After the wedding, we were able to attend a reception at the brides’ parents’ home.  There were 5 long tables filled with all kinds of Filipino foods and never ending platters of rice! I have never seen so much rice.  There is a tradition here that the couple dances in the middle and people come to them and pin money onto their clothing.  The combination of the brides large tummy and the money draped awkwardly on the two of them resulted in a funny waddle dance.  But now they are married and are one step closer to being a family based on covenants. Yay!

We have been teaching a woman by the name of Karin for several weeks now. She is a young 23 year old mother of three and her husband’s job is driving a large truck filled with sand that they gathered from the river by their home.  The only chair in the house is a bench. This is where we sit to teach while Karin rocks her baby in a hammock type cradle.  They live by a river that reminds me of our camping trips with Dan and Jana. Sometimes we teach on the rocks by the side of the river.  From the very first time we taught Karin she has absorbed the gospel like a sponge.  We left a pamphlet after the first lesson and she read and reread the pamphlet until we gave her a book of Mormon. She has come to church for the past few weeks and I know that it takes a great deal of effort to save up for the tricy ride to the chapel because they don’t live close. 

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Lord works from the inside out.  The world works from the outside in.  The world would take people out of the slums.  Christ takes the slums out of people and then they take themselves out of the slums.  The world would mold men by changing their environment.  Christ changes men, who then change their environment.  The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” 

This quote describes what the gospel does for us all.  It heals us.  The man from Galilee makes us better.  Regardless of our situation, there is always a balm of Gilead available to us because of Jesus Christ and his eternal gospel.

This sweet woman has very little in terms of the world; she comes to church in pants and washes her children in the river, but she has faith.  She believes. She is willing to see the light and that is something more valuable than items in designer stores or high end homes.  I marvel at her faith and I marvel at her goodness.  I know that the gospel will not change their living condition. But the changes in this woman and her family are there.  Through prayer their family has changed because they have invited the spirit into their decisions.  Through reading the Book of Mormon in their home, their home is now filled with the word of God.  The gospel changes us, Christ changes us.  He heals us.

I am ever grateful for the everlasting gospel.  I don’t know why I was born where I was or into the situation I was but it makes me want to work that much harder because I have been given much. I feel like I must give.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I am grateful to spread his message of peace and joy. 

Jesrell received the priesthood yesterday. I am so proud of their family.  I know that their mom could not be happier as she watches her family come together in the gospel! After church we taught them the family proclamation and Crisanto said he is determined to start having FHE.  Hopefully one day their dad will join the rest of the family... alll in good time.

Today for P-day we went to one of the 3 fast food restaurants in town and I had adobo pork and rice and halo halo - my favorite! We like to go eat at this little mom and pop cantina but they were all out of food when we got there so we had to resort to fast food at another place - but it was still yummy.  

We have apartment checks this week so we scrubbed all morning because, as predicted, there was no water by afternoon.  So much for taking a shower.

Well fam, I love you, I love this work, I love the gospel and I love the Philippines. 

Mahal na mahal kop o kayo- I love you in tagalong. Padaba ko kamo – I love you in Bikol.

Sister Meish





Monday, March 18, 2013


Pamilya ko! Kumusta po kayo dyan! Sobrang maiinit dito! Summer na! HAPPY BIRTHDAY sa papangs ko!

Happy Birthday dad! I love you and am so grateful for you in my life.  I hope you have a great birthday and eat delicious sugar because it is your b-day and you deserve it!

Well it was a wonderful week! Jesrell did it! He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was a huge success. Jes’ brother Crisanto that was baptized 2 weeks ago was able to baptize him - so neat. This was so special for both of them. I got so teary eyed as I watched them both stand in white in that water! What incredible changes they have made in their lives.  He was in a white shirt and neck tie yesterday at church. I can’t believe the changes from that first Sunday - such incredible miracles.  On Friday night we went to their house to teach and make sure Jes was ready to go for the next day.  At the end of the lesson we asked him to bear his testimony.  Jes is a pretty shy and not a kid prone to use lavish language. His testimony was simple and he plainly said, “I know the church is true.” He then stumbled for a moment and responded again, “I can’t really explain it but I know in my heart and my feelings that it is true.” 

I was thinking how our conversion is not something that we can easily put into words.  In the Emma Smith movie the character that plays Emma says, “sometimes you know things with your heart that you don’t know with your head.” Commonly my spiritual experiences and my conversion is something I have a difficult time explaining in Tagalog or English.  I think this is because we are converted with our spirits not just our intellect. 

We were taking pictures before the baptism and I told Crisanto and Jes to stand together.  As I looked at the small screen on my camera and saw these two brothers standing in white I was so overcome with happiness and warmth.  Then again, as they were standing together in the font and Cris raised his hand above his little brother and said the words, “….bilang inatasan ni Jesucristo binibinyagan kita sa pangalan ng Ama, at ng anak and ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.” Joy filled my heart – a feeling that is full and real, not temporary or fading.  Like Jesrell, it was a feeling that I can’t really explain – it is something that I can feel in my heart. 

Of course as spiritual and wonderful as the baptism was there was not enough water in the font so the first time Jes went down he hit that water surface as hard as a wakeboarder doing a nose dive.  I also think Cris was nervous that he wouldn’t go all the way under so he used a little too much force. This in turn shocked Jesrell and his knees floated up. We were cracking up.   The second time was perfect and on Sunday he received the Holy Ghost - so it was a perfect package. 

We are not sure why but we haven’t had water for the past few days… luckily we order drinking water so we have been able to cook. But showering has been an interesting experience.  The water will come on for a few hours at a time so we have been saving up and use that to shower.  It is so hot outside now that showers are mandatory or we might scare off all of the people we are teaching. 

I am a Halo Halo addict. This is not a video game. Halo Halo is a dessert here and it is crushed ice (that is probably the reason I love it so much), and ice cream, and corn and beans, and this jello type stuff and banana’s. I know it sounds gross but I love it! I would eat it every day but then I would have no money - so I resist but it is delicious.

We are teaching a woman who has 5 boys…. We have started teaching the oldest 3 and yesterday they 9 year old came to church all by himself.  They live pretty far away and I couldn’t believe he traveled all that way.  He and I shared a bench in sacrament meeting and maybe because he is 9 and he has big brown eyes he reminded me of my baby brother way back in Salt Lake.  This hard working little kid was my Owen for the day.  Miss ya big O, thanks for the email!

One of our investigators gets married on Wednesday so we are attending the royal wedding! The wedding is going to be at the chapel and then they are having lunch after.  We are excited for them. The wife is a member and they have a set of twins on the way!

Anyway, mission life is so busy and I love every minute of it.  I love living in the Philippines, I love the people and the food and of course being able to wear my name tag everyday and spread the good news of the gospel.  I know this church is true and I am so grateful for the way it has shaped my life.  It is a miracle being able to watch other people learn the language of the gospel; the language that is spoken without words but with our hearts. 

I bought a replacement for the Jelly shoes that I lost in The Muddy all those years ago in Southern Utah!

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

P.S. The new batch of missionaries arrived... they have that wide eyed, deer in the headlights look.... I would pay so much money to be with Speen in his first week in the field.  

I haven’t met any of the new American Sisters yet; only elders. Our house has the only 4 sisters in our zone, so I probably won’t meet them until transfers.  Only 4 American sisters came in this time but there are 13 on the way for April. 

Thanks for sending me the pics from Kevin’s wedding.





Monday, March 11, 2013

Traveling Banana Bread Man

Dear Family!

What a week. It is the end of another transfer. The last transfer was 7 weeks instead of 6 because all the missionaries in the field had an extra 2 weeks added on to their missions. Even though there was an extra week, the time went quickly. It is hard to believe that I have already been in Goa for 7 weeks. But neither my companion nor I is being transferred from the area. We have a lot of progressing investigators right now so I think it will be helpful for us both to stay here and continue to work with them.

This week we had the baptism of Jelissa, Crisanto’s little sister! She is 11 years old and right around the time I got to Goa she told her mom she wanted to be baptized. This family has been so prepared. There is such a wonderful energy that comes from watching the spirit work with them and slowly change and unite their family. There is also another young man in that family, Jezrell, that I have talked about who is progressing toward baptism. The other night as we sat in the darkness under a banana leaf roof, with only a few candles glowing, I listened to the humble prayer that came from Jezrell’s heart. I was grateful in that dark night as I listened to the prayer of this 17 year old boy in a red t-shirt who no longer has an earring and no longer drinks, say a sincere prayer to a loving Heavenly Father. Yesterday their family arrived at church in a padyak and there was Jezrell wearing the white shirt we gave him. Our ward mission leader helped him tie his tie and I felt that sweet peace run through me. How grateful I am that the gospel is true.

Elder Cristofferson said, “The good will triumph because of Jesus Christ, whereas without him we would have no chance. We can feel peace and that peace is very sweet.”

In other news…. There is a man that has a traveling bread store attached to his motorcycle and he drives past our apartment some mornings at six o clock. We dash down the stairs to catch him and I have bought warm banana bread a few times this week. My favorite fruit here is mango; they have yellow mangos and green mangos. The green ones are kind of sour and we dip them in salt and they are so good. Of course, the yellow can’t be replaced, they are the original.

We have tried tracting a few times in some of the nicer areas. It is tough! Even though people are nice they usually say they are busy; but hey we are planting seeds one at a time and hoping to find some sincere seeker.

I read Speen’s blog.  He kills me! I wish I was in his district in the field. He is so funny! I got an email from Meg. I wonder how much time they have on the computer. She must be a speedster at the emailing thing. I barely had time to write you guys.


I think about them a lot and it is interesting how I gain strength from my siblings that are miles and miles away.

Things are great I love you all and am so grateful for you and your support.

Hope all is well in SLC, Provo, and the Dominican.

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

Monday, March 4, 2013


Happy March! Ito ang akin kalahati! Ano ba iyan! We are heading into Filipino summer… it has been hot, hot, hot this week and I have a feeling the heat is only going to rise from here. Although it was so hot this week it has poured rain today and that was probably a blessing and reminder to us from the heavens. For our district activity we went to the BEACH! There is a beach in the Elders area so we took 1 rugby ball, a cake we made for our district leader’s birthday, 12 cups of rice, chicken (went on top of the rice) and 8 flip flop wearing missionaries. We all piled into a tricey and headed toward the waves. I thought about those summer trips to Newport when we were younger and would visit the beach and on Sunday and would “only get our feet wet, we promise!” Of course we generally ended up soaking wet from head to toe. Since it is against the rules to go swimming, we really only did get our feet wet but the desire to jump in was still there. The water was really warm! The experience of diving into the ocean water in west coast California is more like my shower experience each morning - as I gasp at the freezing water. The experience of feeling the ocean water in Tigaon city is similar to the temperature of our swimming pool!


On Saturday we had another family home evening. The ward missionaries have become FHE addicts and we are running out of lesson plan ideas. I ordered a group of movies about the doctrine and covenants and one of the movies was the story of John Moyle - only a stone cutter. I know it is one of mom’s favorite and it is quite inspirational. We watched that for our lesson and I was so inspired by the dedication to the Lord of this simple man who faced so many difficulties. After his accident he was determined to walk the 22 miles to Salt Lake when his wife told him he was only a stone cutter and there were plenty of people to take his place. He replied to his wife that even though he was only a stone cutter it was his calling and therefore he would continue to serve.

One of the families that attended the FHE was the Enciso Couple. Brother Enciso is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and Sister Enciso is the Relief Society president. They recently opened a small food stand on the side of the highway. They are not open on Sundays and so Saturday is an important business day to make up for what they won’t sell on Sunday. Although they would have many customers on Saturday night - they close shop to attend the FHE because of their simple dedication to God’s work. There are days out here when I feel that my efforts are insignificant. I feel that my Tagalog could be better, that people don’t want to listen, or that I am running in circles not making a difference. The examples of a humble stonecutter and an elderly Filipino couple remind me that there is power in one person’s sincere effort. Even though I am only one missionary - this is my calling and therefore I continue forward.

Jesrell and Jelissa passed their baptismal interviews! Yay! Their baptism is on Saturday. Earlier this week we were invited to their home for a small birthday party. They live in a small bamboo home with dirt floors and some sleep on the floor while some sleep in hammocks above. The mom had to work late. When we got there we started washing dishes and cutting onions, and boiling water to make spaghetti. As I held a flashlight overhead for Jezrell to wash the pan with a basin of water, I had the most nostalgic feeling of early trips to Lake Powell. As the night was ending the nanay (or mom) told us she had saved two days of work money to buy the cake. On Saturday we bought the same cake for the elder in our district. It wasn’t a big deal for us but for this family that cake resembles two full work days. I continue to be amazed by people here. They are so happy and loving in spite of the challenges in their lives. We bought a necktie and white shirt to give to Jezrell for his baptism. I can’t wait!

Story of the week: On Sunday a little boy was following me around at church. He was from the other ward so he hadn’t seen the white missionary before. As I was talking to his parents he kept pushing all my freckles on my arm like buttons. Then I felt a sudden tug on my hair and he had yanked out a strand of my hair. Apparently the novelty of freckles/moles and the white hair were more than he could resist.

Thanks for maintaining all the blogs.  I love reading about Speen and Meg. It is good there are only elders in Spencer’s district so that the Hermanas are not subjected to the Elder stuff we had to endureJ. Meg’s hair is so cute. With that cut she is a sister mish for sure now haha.

Well love you all! Keep on Keepin’ on. We are doing great here in the bastion of Bikol.
Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish