Wednesday, February 26, 2014

himala dahil sa pananampalataya


Ashley Mecham

Feb 23 (2 days ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Liza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick, D, Ryan

This week was one big fat miracle. I don't know where to start.
Remember how when I first got here I was explaining how there was no one here that was progressing and it was a punishment to be sent here? I don't remember if I said that, but I definitely thought it. But listen up:
The house help of our Bishop, Corazon, has been progressing. But, she always said she likes coming to church because she learns a lot, but she still hadn't felt an answer from God if the Book of Mormon is true or if this is really Christ's restored church. Then, one week ago, our bishop's wife made her stay home from church to take care of her parents who were in town. Corazon was not happy about that. She is still the nicest lady in the world, but seemed super annoyed by our bishop's wife. We were afraid that that would stop her progress. And she had been seeming weird when we taught her, like something was up. But, that is all beside the point. >>>>> On Thursday, we get there to teach her. She seems normal. We follow up on the reading assignment we left her in the Book of Mormon - 3 Nephi 12. I remember when I left that assignment I thought it was weird because I've never left it before. She read it. "It was good." But, even though that was her answer, I was not satisfied. She doesn't usually share specific things from what she read, but this time I really really wanted her to for some reason. SO I kept bugging her. "Are you SURE there's NOTHING you want to share from what you read?!?!" Finally, she looks down. Then looks up. She says, "Sisters, I do have something to share. Something amazing happened last night." Then, she can't speak anymore because she just starts weeping. Finally, she gets out the story. It was so simple. She prayed before she read the Book of Mormon. I real, deep prayer. She did what we had just taught her - she began the process of repenting of all her sins. She felt the Spirit big time. Then, she opened to the reading assignment and read the first two verses. BAM. She tried to describe what she felt but couldn't in real words. She remembered what we had taught her about the influence of the Holy Ghost and how it might feel when she got an answer. She looked up at us with tear-filled eyes, "Naniniwala na ako." which is "I believe now." Then I simply asked, "So what are you going to do now that you know this is true?" She didn't even hesitate. "I'm ready to be baptized on March 15!!" MIRACLE.
Then, on Sunday, sacrament meeting started and none of our investigators or less actives were there. Usually, that is super discouraging. Usually, I would think, "Oh man, now no one will be baptized in March!" But my faith has grown so much. I bowed my head, and prayed for our specific investigators and less actives who committed to come. It was the best feeling, even though no one was there, I didn't lose faith. I knew that the Lord would provide. It's like Jairus in the New Testament. He comes to Jesus Christ and asks in faith for Him to heal his daughter. Then, on the way there, Christ stops to heal someone else. Jairus is not impatient. Then, Jairus' servant comes and tells him his daughter has died. He tells him to not bother Jesus any longer. But Jairus is not phased, he knows the Lord can still do - he can bring her back from the dead. That's how I felt, even though it really seemed hopeless, I know the Lord would still provide. At that moment, I finished my prayer and looked up. I see Lenie Curilan's daughter Ashly run in the front doors (In our chapel, there are windows). Lenie is our returning less active, this is her third week in a row. Lenie walks in. He father in law Walfredo (who is a very less active member- they're the only two members in their family) walks in after her. Her cousin, our invesigator, Grace, walks in. Lenie's neighber whom she referred to us walks in with her 5 kids. We clear a space and the scoot in next to us. As we turned around, we noticed that Corazon has sneaked in the back and we hadn't noticed. Also our other investigator, Bernadeth. After sacrament meeting our 2nd counselor introduced us to a 19 year old boy who has been coming to church for 3 weeks in a row but has never been taught by the missionaries - and he happens to live in our area. THAT'S BECAUSE OF FAITH.
I've never really felt this way before. I feel so much love from the Lord pouring down on me and the people we are teaching. I love being here. This is the truth.

I love you. I love the Lord.
Sister Mecham

1. There is yellow watermelon here. But it tastes like red watermelon.
2. I GOT TO SEE MY BEST FRIEND SISTER DE LEON BEFORE SHE GOES HOME AFTER THIS TRANSFER. It was such a miracle. I thought there would be no way I would see her before she left because she's assigned in a different zone. That's a miracle too. Notice the little tears in her eyes. I make people cry.
3. This is my companion, Sister Jensen. Did I tell you how I transferred to America? The grocery store in this area is just like a normal grocery store. We bought CHIPS AND SALSA. That's a miracle, too. I didn't know those existed in the Philippines. I also bought TORTILLAS which I thought were no where to be found. Miracles.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Ashley Mecham

8:27 PM (17 hours ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Jamie, Liza, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick, D, Ryan
This was a long week. It was hard. And we're still having so many blessings. 

I know I keep talking about this, but we OYM'd two more people this week that happened to be baptized years ago but then moved here and didn't know where the church was. When I came this area, there was 1 less active member that lived in our area. Now we have 8. WHAT? That's so many, and the other seven we met through just talking to people. And one of them, Sister Lenie, is returning! And she's referring all her friends and neighbors. It's awesome. 

This week we had zone conference. Our zone leader wrote a huge 16 on the whiteboard and said, "This is how many baptisms the Lord wants us to have in March. That means we need 2 baptisms per companionship. How many of you believe we can reach this goal?" Everyone went silent. My first thought was how rough shape our area was in when I got here and how there was literally no one left behind from the last missionary to be baptized. But then, I thought of how he phrased that, "how many the Lord wants us to have." Then I shouted YES. Which was actually awkwardly loud. Every one else was still silent. He asked again, "Do you believe we can reach this?" Silence. "YES!!!" -coming from me only. Then he taught us how we need to have faith that we can do the things that the Lord has commanded us. And how these next two weeks will make or break it for March. SO, I know that we need a ton of faith here. But I really know that the Lord will help us do His will. This past week I've really been feeling like my faith was through the roof, but then Sunday came and only one investigator came to church. (If no one comes to church, no one can be baptized). But then I read this talk from this guy that says when things don't happen the way we hoped, "REDOUBLE YOUR FAITH AND TRY AGAIN." So, this week, I'll be redoubling my faith. Because I know my Father in Heaven loves His children in Paranaque and He will help us help them if we have enough faith.

That's all. I hope all is well with you. This next week a member is making me lasagna. This past week they fed me peaches. Those two things don't really exist in the Philippines unless you're very wealthy. Our members are very wealthy. I'm going to get fat here. 

Sister Mecham

Ang Bilis ng Linggo

Ashley Mecham

Feb 9 (8 days ago)

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Liza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick, D, Ryan
This week went so fast.

  • Our apartment is awesome. We have a basketball hoop.
  • We had temple day last week, which was why I emailed on Tuesday. I love the temple.
  • I would get fat in this area if it wasn't for all the walking. Our members feed us like crazy. We walk like crazy. Our area is huge like my first two areas on Palawan. The eating and the walking cancel each other out, hopefully.
  • It's summer now. My skin is melting off of my body every time I walk outside. But, on the bright side, I'm getting my missionary tan back!
  • I've started cooking again. (I secretly love not being a sister trainer much time!) We made Sinigang! This week we'll make adobong manok.
  • We have an investigator named Cynthia who is wealthy and wants to take us with her on a vacation to Palawan. I so almost said yes. 
  • It's even weirder than I imagined having an American companion but I'm getting used to it. 
  • I ate Durian, finally. It's a fruit that comes from Mindinao that kills you when you smell it but the sends you to heaven when you eat it. That's what the member said that fed it to us. I've heard about it from day one but never tasted it because it doesn't grow here and it's expensive. It really smells like death - the worst smell you've ever smelled. But it tastes nice. 
  • We are seeing so many miracles in this area. We've been praying for them and they're coming. We keep talking to random people (not so random, following the spirit) and they keep ending up to be members that haven't come to church in ages. Lenie is an example of that, and she came to church last week for the first time in over six years! She's great. We also talked to this man Ramon on like my first day here and he told us that his sister is a member but lives in New York. Then we went back to his house a million times and he was never there or busy. Then we finally taught him. Right when he sat down he says, "So, what's up?" Then, we laughed. Then, he said, in english, "You know, you don't have to convince me that your message is true because I was already baptized." But I assumed he was already baptized Catholic. But no, he was baptized in 1972 and hasn't been to church since the 1980's. He will come to church this next Sunday. MIRACLES.  My Father in Heaven loves me, but more than that, He loves the people in this area and he is preparing them for us. 

That is a bullet list of the things of this week. For next week:

  • Happy Valentine's Day. They don't have a saying for that in Tagalog because they only stole that holiday and there isn't a Filipino equivalent, I think.

That's all. Love you!

'ster Mech

Sobra na

Ashley Mecham

Feb 3

to me, Amanda, Austin, Elizabeth, Liza, Jamie, Kendra, Lindsey, Patrick, D, Ryan
There's too many things that happened this week for me to tell you them all.

Last Monday we were finally able to go back to Elias Samonte because he had been in the hospital and was pretty sick. We talked to him, and he said that because he has been sick, he hasn't been able to smoke. He said that the smell of cigarettes makes his insides hurt. He pointed to a little lizard on the ceiling and said, in english, "I feel like that is my transformation." I died laughing. But, want to know a secret? I've been praying that that exact thing would happen. Not the lizard, but that he would get sick and not be able to smoke any more (like Ming on PMG dvds). So, he had not smoked for 10 days. The Lord works in mysterious ways. 

Then, on Tuesday morning, I had just begun my personal study when President Stucki called. (which is not rare for us as leaders). But then, he started thanking me for my service as an STL and then fired me. Hah, okay, not really, I just have been reassigned. I HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED. I cried the most tears I've cried in a very very long time. I think I scared our roommates. I even surprised myself. I LOVE LOVE LOVE PASAY 1ST WARD. When I got to that area in September it was sad because there was nothing happening. I've been working my tail off getting the area to progress and was finally seeing the fruits of our efforts. We had like one million families with baptismal dates. And the best, Snookie and Mel will be baptized next week and I won't be there. They cried and I cried and it was depressing. And then I cried a ton more. 

And now I'm in Paranaque 3rd Ward. This area has been deemed by our APs as "The Hardest Area in the Mission." I will tell you why: I've seen the biggest and nicest houses in my entire time here in the Philippines - way nicer than a lot of houses in Utah. And the area is huge - we walk a lot and we see no one outside. I left my area of 22 baptismal dates for February and March to ZERO baptismal dates and ZERO progressing investigators. The people here are very very wealthy. I will include a picture. But, it's a great opportunity to find future leaders here in the Philippines so I'm pumped about it. I just have to find them... But the ward is so so great and very supportive and they feed us so much. I would get fat here if it weren't for how much we WALK WALK WALK forever. 

But listen, ^^^ those things are not negative. I cried when I first got here, but the Lord has really shown me why I'm here. I'm so excited to fix this area! I know the Lord is preparing people for us here and I'm so excited to find them! We have already been blessed with so many new investigators and now are up to four baptismal dates. It's coming! 

And let me tell you a miracle: The other day we were walking when I saw a man that I knew. I knew I knew him but I couldn't remember how. Then, he knew me too! Turns out, it's a man I OYM'd in Pasay who turned out to be a member who has been less active for a while. We weren't able to teach him in Pasay because his lived with his boss who wouldn't let us enter. BUT, his new boss here WILL let us enter. We taught him, and he came to church last Sunday. I was such a crazy miracle that I already knew him and that he is now prepared to return and become an active member in the church! Boo yah!

My new companion is Sister Jensen. She is American. She is my first American companion and she is really white and American. I'm not used to being around an American so often. Her Tagalog needs improvement, which is one of the reasons President Stucki said he gave me her. I'm helping her, I'm fixing the area. SERVICE YEAH I LOVE IT.

That's all I have. Lemme give you some pictures.

1. This is an awesome sweater I bought at Mall of Asia. It was expensive.
2. This is Snookie and her adorable son Maco who loves me and I love him. I didn't get a picture with Mel because I didn't get to say goodbye to him because I only had half a day for goodbyes to everyone and he had work. That is Angelina Jolie in the background.

More pictures to come that won't fit here! Love you!

Sister Mecham


Ashley Mecham

Jan 26

to me, Amanda, Liza, Lindsey, Jamie, Kendra, Elizabeth, Austin, D, Ryan, Patrick
"I think myself to be happy..." in the words of Paul. I had a great week.
Snookie and Mel are the best couple ever. We taught them keep the sabbath day holy last week which we knew would be awkward because they always do their laundry on Sunday. (Doing laundry in the Philippines is a very intense endeavor - definitely not a worthy Sabbath day activity.) We opened with the ten commandments - #4. After we read the scripture, Snookie says, "Bale, bawal maglaba sa Linggo?" or "So, we shouldn't wash our clothes on Sunday?" and I said, "From what you read in that scripture, what do you think?" Her answer, "Bawal maglaba." It was awesome how we didn't have to point out specific things in their life that they aren't doing right, we just let the Lord say it with the scriptures. Then they spent the next 15 minutes making a plan on how to finish all their laundry before Sunday. It was awesome. And then, on Sunday, THEY HAD THEIR INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT STUCKI. They were so so nervous. But, of course, they passed because they are the two best people in the entire world. They will definitely be baptized on the 15th of February. FINALLY.
Also, my first baptism in this area, the miracle one, JP Mayor, received the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday. I was so proud.
Also, we pulled off four exchanges this week and it went so smoothly. The first was with Sister Riddle from my batch that I went to elementary school. She is a crazy exercise addict but it was fine. Then with another american sister from my batch. Exchanges with batch mates are weird because you know you're at the same point of your mission... But then I had the best exchange every with Sister Alberto - she's a fairly new missionary but is so so talented. We basically sprinted around our area talking to everyone and teaching in unity and it was brilliant. I love filipina companions. It was also really great because I WAS SO SICK. I had like three different sicknesses torturing me but wanted to go on the exchange anyway because I could still walk. I just basically pretended I wasn't sick for three days and it was a great and productive week.
This week our most wealthy members, the Gapiz family, fed us RIBS. and SALAD. I rarely see salad here and have never seen ribs! My mind was blown and it was delicious. Then they found out I like lasagna and that is what they will be making for our next dinner appointment. I never thought I would miss American food.
Okay, now this is one of my favorite miracles this week. I don't remember if I told you, but about a month ago, one of my favorite families told us in a text message not to come back for a while because the wife just gave birth and needs to recover. I was devastated. But this week I've been thinking about them a ton but have been too scared to stop by because I wasn't sure if it had been enough time. Then, out of the blue on Friday, they text and say that they want us to visit them again - every evening at 5pm. I died with joy. Then, when we were teaching them again, Sister Jesica (who has the most sarcastic and harsh personality) says under her breath, "Kasi, namis ko kayo..." Which means, I missed you. Then I paused and asked her to repeat that louder. It was hilarious. She did not want to admit she missed us! The Lord was telling me to go back but I let my fear of Jesica (just kidding, halfly) get in the way!! Follow the spirit Sister Mecham!
Okay, that's all. It was the busiest week of traveling for exchanges and working so hard and it was so fun and I love being a missionary and I'm so tired so now it's time to clean the apartment. OHHHHH GUESS WHERE I"M GOINGGGGGGG.
MALLLLLL OFFFFF ASIAAAAAAA. We're going to the Mall of Asia right after this. It's the largest mall in all of Asia and missionaries are not allowed to go there but we got special permission from President and I'm going to buy a hoodie.
Love you all,
Sister Mecham