Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pass Pagong

Ashley Mecham
Jul 28 (2 days ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Eliza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick
My dear and beloved family and friends,

Oh man, this week was sweet. Like I've said, we've been working so hard in this new area and praying for miracles - leaving the rest to the Lord. This week we've really seen some fruit. One of my biggest struggle and the biggest hadlang for our investigators to be baptized is church attendance. We cannot baptize people unless they have attended church at least the 4 consecutive weeks before their baptism. Which, with philipinos, is no small feat. But, so many of our investigators are coming to church! This last week we had the entire Hermosisima family attend our branch activity on saturday and then they all came to church on Sunday! They will totally be baptized and I'm so excited for it. 

There's so much pressure in this area because there hasn't been a convert baptism in over a year. But the Lord and the branch see our hard work and diligence and are willing to help us with whatever we need. It is beautiful.

I can't remember the weird things that happened this week. Except that yesterday, on two separate occasions, I met white people from Utah that aren't LDS and are just visiting Palawan for vacation and one of them had a mutual acquaintance. That has never happened on my entire mission and it blew my mind. Sister Fran could not understand why I was so amazed. But listen, I'm on this tiny island on the other side of the planet and I run into people who know people I know. It's weird, okay?

This last week we had EXCHANGES. First time for me, so it was pretty astig. The sister trainer leaders flew over from manila for a few days and stayed at our apartment which was okay because I swear ten people could live there comfortably. My temporary companion was Sister Richey, which was so weird because that's the first time I've ever worked with a white person. We go so many weird looks. I'm used to being the only weird one.

Training is going beautifully. Sister Fran is great and works hard and does weird things and is hilarious. I have no worries for her. My english is weird, I'm sorry about it. 

That's all, folks. The Church is true! Love you!

Sister Mecham

Friday, July 26, 2013


Sorry about it last week, I forgot to mention that I totally passed by 6 month mission mark. Does that blow your mind? That means in one year I will be home. Malungkot yen kasi I feel like I just got here. 

So, this week was a good one. Training is fun. My anak is funny. She makes funny noises and has no explanation for them. We had interviews with President Stucki which is always fun. But this time they came to our apartments which is stress zilla but good thing I'm living in THE NICEST APARTMENT IN THE MISSION. That's what they said when they got there. Suwerte, ha? 

This week was seriously awesome though. We're praying for and seeing so many miracles in this area. I have two stories. Ready, begin.

The other day we were in a rush to leave the apartment after studies because we were meeting our branch missionaries in the city - far from our apartment. As we were in the tricycle I realized that I forgot my umbrella. Then I looked up at the sky and it was black in the distance. Which means it will definitely rain later. And by the end of the tricycle trip, it was pouring rain. So we got to the meeting point and we positioned ourselves nicely under a building so as to be shielded from the rain. I was worried about my bag full of Book of Mormons because I didn't want them to be ruined - precious cargo, you know. So I took them all out to rearrange my bag so they wouldn't get wet, so there I am holding a millions books and arranging my bag when a woman approaches us and asks us, "How can I get one of those books?" BAM. We taught her about it quickly and she turned into a golden investigator for the elders because she doesn't live in our area. But listen, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Because if I had not forgotten my umbrella, that woman would never have seen the BOMs and asked for one. So yeah, that's awesome.

Toy Story 2: Our first week in our new area, my anak OYM'd an 11 year old boy while we were walking on the street near our apartment. I don't usually make it a habit of talking to 11 year old boys who are walking by themselves because, well, it's a little creepy. But she did it, so we ended up talking to him until he got to his street and we parted ways. That was that, so I thought. The other night, we finished all of our teaching appointments a bit early and were close to our apartment so we decided to "tao po" a house - which is what I call it when we follow the spirit and approach a house and try to teach the family inside. A woman came to the door and we offered our message and she had a funny look on her face. Then she yelled to whoever was inside - "Jorgie, is this the foreigner that you walked home with?" Out comes Jorgie, our little friend from the earlier story. He went home that day and told his family about a tall foreigner that could speak Tagalog. That's me. Then I tried so hard to convince them that it wasn't creepy and I swear we didn't follow him home... but they didn't care. They were happy and let us in and we ended up teaching their whole family. So rad, I'll let you know how that goes.

Culture: Spiders. I've told you about this, right? Spiders here are toys. Little boys collect them and play with them. It's starting to really freak me out. One of the children of our investigators was holding a little match box the whole lesson and kept opening it just a bit and would blow in it. And I was all, "What are you hiding in there, eh?" A HUGE SPIDER. So great.

Food: I'm getting so good at cooking filipino food. Be excited.

Anyway, my life is so awesome. I love love love being a missionary and am so so grateful for all of the support I get from y'all back in the states. Love you all!

'ster Mech

I've included a picture of me in front of one of the destinations for the Amazing Race. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The road kill is different in the 'ppines.
This is Sister Lamberte (old companion) and I at the opening of the Underground River. You'll have to wait till I get home to see the rest of the pictures. Sorry about it.

Back in America Now!

Ashley Mecham
Jul 14 (2 days ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Patrick, Elizabeth, Eliza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey
A few weeks ago I spent my p-day helping the Burts (couple missionaries here) clean the brand new apartment for the new batch of sisters coming here. Then, last week, they informed me that we would actually be moving there! Listen, it is nicer than my apartment in Provo (which isn't saying much... but... for the Philippines... it kind of is...) THERE IS A HOT SHOWER THERE. And it's so clean. And there's A/C if we wanted to use it (wayyy too expensive). But basically, I feel like I'm living in America there. It blows my mind. 
Oh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARENTS! Maligayang bati sa magulang ko! I sure love you two and am so so grateful for all you do for me! You're the best, for reals. 

Food this week: Back story: So my roommates at the new apartment are Sister Ordiz (the best and craziest, turns out she lied to me about her age before and is actually 31 hah) and Sister Larson. So two pinays and two whities and I got to explain to Sister Larson that she needed to buy toilet paper because philipinos don't use it. That's beside the point. The point is that Sister Larson is SO SCARED to try any filipino food. Like, she is terrified. So the other day I decided to try to make Sinigang which is delicious but I didn't actually know how, but it turned out delicious. But, when I bought the pork for it, I just asked the butcher which cut would be the best for Sinigang and he gave me a pig leg. Yeah. So I made Sister Ordiz prepare that part. But when Sister Larsen got a heaping plate of rice and started sniffing the Sinigang, she spooned out a piece of pork that.... well... looked like the nose of a pig and she screamed so loud and threw it across the kitchen and I died laughing. It was not the nose. But she still didn't eat it. Also, don't worry, the pig leg totally still had hair and everything. It was delicious.

So, the work here is FLYING. I don't know how well I explained my new area, but we share a branch with elders now, the zone leaders. They never did any work in this area before because they said it was unproductive. But listen up, that is not true. But anyway, the branch totally loves us more and made a calendar to pass around so that we would have dinner at a members house daily. DAILY. That is madness. I don't think we'll have time for that. But they're so willing to help! And, in branch council, the elders had never taught them how to give referrals or how to prepare their friends to be taught so when I told them we wanted referrals they asked, HOW? Uhhh... so I taught them and BAM so many referrals. But they are all in the elders' area, sadly. But, long story short, the work is great here.

About my anak: Sister Francisquete is pilipina. Her great grandpa was french, which is where the name comes from and it's funny because the philipinos have such a hard time pronouncing her name even though she's pinay. She is allergic to EVERYTHING. Not really, but only delicious things. Eggs, eggplant, chicken, shellfish, etc. It's a rough time because I am currently in love with eggplant. But she had an allergic reaction to something she ate at a member's house and bam, half a day's work lost. So I have to be super careful because she isn't, hah. She also got the flu (maybe) so we lost another whole day's work. All this because she doesn't like to drink water. (Because my philosophy is if you drink enough water, exercise, get enough sleep, and eat your fruits and veggies, you won't get sick.) That's why I haven't missed a day's work for myself yet on my mission. 

And that was a large rant of unimportant things and now I'm just about out of time... sorry about it.

But listen, I just had the best epiphany this morning in my personal study about the pride cycle in Helaman 12 and 13 about how we are nothing. Oh how great the nothingness of man. And yet, as Elder Uchtdorf would say, we are everything to God. It's beautiful and mind boggling. 

I'm so glad to be here. I love you all. I'll try to send some pictures.

Sister Mecham

Monday, July 15, 2013

Walang Oras

Ashley Mecham
Jul 8 (6 days ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Eliza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick
I'm really really sorry, kids. I have no time this week. Like, I have to be at the chapel in ten minutes. Sorry 'bout it.

But listen, my life is beautiful. I'm training Sister Francisquete and she is a true gem. Even though her name is impossible. We are opening a new area, Puerto Princesa Branch 2b. So, I'm still living in the same apartment, just transferred to a different room. And I have to commute to get to my area now which is stinky. 

So what I want to write about is the SPIRIT. We worked Thursday, Friday and Saturday in our new area, completely blind. We didn't know where any of the members lived. There were no existing investigators and no existing baptismal dates. We had no cell phone to contact anyone. All I knew were where the boundaries are. So we made a game plan and followed the spirit and got 10 new baptismal dates in 3 days. But, listen, the spirit is a real thing. When you're doing what you're supposed to do, God promises that you will be guided by the spirit and we totally were. We were stopped on the street by a member who showed us a few houses to visit. From then on, TREASURE HUNT! It's seriously so fun. We go to a member and they tell us directions to another member and we find on the way there. Then, when there's no more members, the Lord leads us to people who know where members live. Those first few days we found 3 less active members that no one from the branch knew existed. And so many new investigators who are ready for the gospel. I'm so pumped to be in this area. That's all I have. 

I love you all. This is God's work. 

Sister Mecham