Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flight Plans!!!


This week has been no less hectic than the previous. It started on a sad note when the district of all elders left Monday morning. They were always so goofy and really knew how to make everyone smile. Kasama and I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning to see them off. If that's not love, I don't know what is!! We all had a nice photo session on Sunday and I acquired these gems!

The first one is Elder Miller, myself, and Elder Moncur. Elder Moncur basically proposed to me before he left so, I mean, there's that to look forward to when I get back. Juuuust kiddin'!!! I was probably the closest to Elder Moncur just because he was such a funny guy but also was so spiritual. 

Next is Elder Ruben and Elder Relf. Also two funny guys as you can tell by their fantastic poses!

The last one is one of my favorites! Elder Miller and I switched name tags so I was an Elder and he was a Sister. After we took this picture we forgot to switch back and were wearing each other's tags for half of the day.

On Tuesday we had another apostle come and talk to us at devotional. This week it was Neil L. Anderson. It was sooooo good! He had one of the missionaries who served in his mission when he was mission president come and talk too. We got seats in the second row on the floor! After Elder Anderson spoke, it was storming pretty bad outside so he decided to come around and shake some hands. I thought "This is it....I am going to shake an apostle's hand!" We were told to stay in our seats and that he would come down the rows so wait until he was in your row to stand and shake his hand. That's exactly what the elders in my row decided NOT to do! They jumped up when he was in the row in front of us! So Elder Anderson didn't come down our row because he had already shaken half of our hands. :-( He went around and talked to every single person on the floor except the half of my row I was sitting on! Ahh! I was so peeved! But it was still an amazing devotional and I was able to talk to the missionary who also spoke and he said some really inspiring things. And I got to run back to the MTC in the rain, which was a good time. Overall it was a great night. 

My kasama was sick with the flu so I stayed in the residence with her for half of Monday and the majority of Tuesday. We got to leave the MTC and go to urgent care. Even though the circumstances were a little gloomy, I was so excited to get out into the real world! Luckily I didn't get sick at all and was just very well rested since I got to lay around and sleep ALL day! OK, I have to admit, there was a little studying thrown in!

The rest of the week was just back to the grind of classes and teaching. We were teaching without any notes this week which was a challenge, but it also allowed flexibility in our lessons so we were better able to help the investigator and teach the person, not just a lesson. 

Last night we had a sister zone "sleep over". It was great but we didn't actually sleep over. We just stayed up late eating junk food and talking. It was really fun and we grew closer as a zone. Then around 12:30, my district tried to get back in our room, only to realize that none of us had a key!!! We had to call the front desk and then walk up there, shoeless and supportless (if you catch my drift)!! We were all dying of laughter, especially when the guy at the front desk inquired as to why we were all out of the room in the middle of the night. We all blamed Brother Langer. Earlier in the week, he heard us talking about the sleepover and told us it wasn't a good idea since we were missionaries and some other stuff that we obviously didn't pay attention to and went ahead and had it anyway. Then when we got locked out, we immediately knew it was Brother Langer cursing us! So after a long night, we accidentally slept through our alarms and didn't wake up until 8:15. It was glorious! 

Oh yeah, I got my flight plans yesterday! It is finally so real that I'm leaving for the Philippines in a week!!! We fly to Las Angeles then on to Hong Kong and finally Manila. I leave the United States on 8th and get to Hong Kong on the 10th so looks like there's not going to be a September 9th for this girl! Now all I can think about it the fact that I'll be in the Philippines soon!! None of us could focus in class yesterday because we were all so excited!

Alam ko po na ipinanumbalki ng Diyon an Kanyang Ebanghelyo sa pamamagitan ni Joseph Smith. Alam ko po na ang Diyos ang Ama sa Langit at si Jesucristo ang ating Manunubos. Alam ko po na ang Aklat ni Mormon ay naglalaman ng kabuuan ng Ebanghelyo at totoo ang Ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo.Nagpapasalamat ako para sa ebanghelyo at para sa pag-ibig ng ating Ama sa Langit. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos para sa Kanyang mga biyaya.

I know that God restored His Gospel through Joseph Smith. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is our  Redeemer. I know that the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I am thankful for this gospel and for the love of our Heavenly Father. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for His blessings.

Also a big shout out to everyone who wrote me letters this week! I am thankful to and love you all!! I am doing my dandiest to write back before I leave. And for everyone else... you can repent and write me this week! :) Joke-lang... but I do love letters!

Mahal kita
-Sister Miller

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Protesters, Parsley, and a Pity Party

This week has literally flown by! I can't believe its already Saturday again! So much has happened this week. Lets start from the beginning....
Sunday: So every Sunday we go on a walk up to the temple. Some of the Elders from the district that has been here two weeks longer than us were telling me how they saw protesters their first two weeks. For some reason these dear souls had decided to quit showing up as soon as I got here... which was a bummer for me because there is only a certain level of excitement that goes on in the MTC and I was craving a little adventure in my life. Well, yippidie-doo-da-day, we finally got us a protester!!! I was so elegantly trying to sneak some pics of him that I tripped over a curb and looked like a fool, but I got the shot. 

Later the FUNNIEST thing happened! My branch president's wife is seriously the craziest woman I have ever met, but in all the right ways. I seriously love her! Well, my kasama and I were walking back to the MTC and she says, "Oh, would you just look how nice all this parsley looks between all the flowers!" She then proceeds to, and I kid you not when I say this, she reaches down, picks some parsley, smells it a little, and then EATS IT!!! Ahhh man, I was trying sooo hard to not break out into a fit of laughter! She then said, "It's temple parsley... It's gotta be good for you, right?" I would think back on this moment throughout the week and it still made me laugh! In fact, I'm laughing as I type this! 

That night we had our Sunday Night Devotional and Via Sekihema came to talk to us. Now, I had no idea who he was but maybe some of you older BYU fans remember something called a miracle bowl... I guess it was some kind of big deal or something... something about a national championship... :) He gave an amazing talk and it shed more light on the personal side of missionary work. He brought along one of the investigators that he baptized. They have been close friends ever since and have played huge roles in each others lives. Brother Sekihema was one of those people who was super funny but you could also feel the spirit so strong when he spoke. When the devotional was over, my kasama really wanted to go talk to him (ya know cause he was Tongan, too), so we got to go shake his hand and just talk a little bit with him. It was awesome! Then, quick as lightning, we ran to go meet up with good ol' Elder Evans! We had been seeing each other all over the MTC but I hadn't gotten a picture with him yet. He was about to peach outta the MTC in 6 hours! I was so jealous! But it was so cool to have a familiar Kansas face around here. I guess I'm going to have to rep KS solo from now on! 

The rest of the days of the week are really blurred together! I think it was Thursday I had a mini melt down! My teacher told us we could no longer use notes while teaching our investigators and I just got really discouraged because I already had trouble expressing myself in Tagalog WITH notes and felt there was no way I could do it without them. Needless to say, I had a nice pity party for myself that night. The next day we taught our investigator Jeffery and it went waayyy better than I was expecting. It's still hard, but I know that I can do it, slowly but surely! I read a scripture that really helped me. It was 1 Nephi 9:6 and it said, 

"The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words." 

I know that I am called to the Philippines and learning Tagalog for a reason. I know that I am doing His works and He will bless me as I strive to be the best missionary I can be! 

Farewell until next week....I love you all!

P.S.  Some hand-written letters would be much appreciated! :-)  Salamat!

Sister Marissa Noelle Miller
2007 N 900 E Unit 28
Provo UT 84602

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

STL's! -- August 17, 2013

Kumusta Pamilya at Friends!!

This week has seriously been indescribable so I'm not even going to try!

Sister Miller

Hehe juuuuuuuuustttt kidding! 

This week has been amazing though!! On Sunday my kasama and I were called as Sister Training Leaders! It's basically the sister version of a zone leader. We are to get to know all of the girls and we are the first ones they go to when they have any problems! It is kind of stressful because we are in charge of welcoming all of the new sisters and making sure they know all the rules and are always where they are suppose to be! 
      This towel is a hand down from many STLs before us. You sign your name and when you were there and then pass it on when you leave. 
This is us and the old STLs, Sister Jones and Sister VanFleet.

Our first assignment was on Tuesday when we had to pick up a sister coming here from Kiribati. She is super sweet and only speaks a little bit of English so communicating was kind of a challenge! But we were able to take her to her first devotional and we tried REALLY hard to get some stellar seats and we ended up on the third row on the FLOOR!!! It was awesome but I haven't even gotten to the best part yet... it was RICHARD G. SCOTT!!! His address was sooooo good and I felt like he was talking right to me. Partly because I needed to hear everything he said, but also because we made eye contact at least 10 times!! Needless to say I shed a tear or two. He talked about faith and prayer and gave us an apostolic blessing that we would learn our languages. As he was walking out he was waving and yelled, "Be good!!" He is so sweet.Hands down one of the best devotionals of my life! Then on Wednesday the rest of the new girls arrived and we got to take them around the campus and get them the low down on the MTC. It's weird to think that that was me two weeks ago and now they're looking to me to answer all of their questions! 

The rest of the week was pretty normal...just trying my best to learn the language and prepare inspiring lessons. We taught Ernesto last night and we committed him to be baptized!!! It was our second visit with him and I was feeling a little discouraged because we were running out of time and our lesson wasn't over, but the spirit just led us to exactly what he needed to hear! It was a great experience for sure. There is a teacher here, Brother Langer, who taught us on Wednesday when our regular teacher was sick. He is seriously my favorite teacher now! Not ONE of the Elders or Sisters fell asleep, which is usually a regular occurrence! He had us sing hymn number 140 (Did You Think to Pray?) as an opener and with every verse he led us faster and faster until we could barely get the tagalog words out! It is now our district song! We were all laughing sooooo hard! Brother Langer comes in our class just to help out a couple times a day and he thinks kasama and I are hilarious! Like whenever we will do a hand shake or just have a funny conversation, we can count on Brother L to give a little chuckle. All of our teachers are super smart and we can really feel the spirit when they teach! As a class we really want to have the spirit there but sometimes we get a little cray.  We start to sing hymns when we are getting restless or something and it really helps us to refocus. The other day we decided to sing primary songs and I LOVED it! 

Today I got a STUPENDOUS surprise from Meg! 
What else could be better than a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts?! 
I know... NOTHING!! She's the best :) 

Also today we picked up three more sisters from Kiribati (pronounced Keer-ah-bess). They are all so giggly and happy to be here. It reminds me of why I am on a mission. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here and to be going to the Philippines to share this joy that I know comes from the Gospel. I know that this church is true and that having the gospel in your life is such a blessing. This week my testimony was strengthened on how much Heavenly Father knows and loves us all as individuals and that He is there when you pray to Him. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have and can't wait to share it!

Mahal kita,
Sister Miller

This is our whole district during study time. We didn't want to leave anyone out so all 10 of us squished into a table made for four people!
It was fun and a great bonding experience!

I got all the girls in the district to wear their shorts like this to gym time.
We like to rock that Urkel style :)
We set up a nerf basketball hoop outside our door and have basically not stopped playing on it since it's been up. I must admit some of the girls have good moves but we all know I am the
dunk master champion!!
Yeah we like to do AT LEAST 50 pull ups a night... no big deal!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Narnia Holes -- August 10, 2013

Whaddup from the MTC?!
Our District Leader snoozin' in class!

This week has literally flown by!! We have so much to do every day that we don't really have time to sit there and think, "Man, I'm tired!!" Instead we are being pumped with so much information that we can't afford to fall asleep! But that doesn't stop some people in my district, especially the district leader!  I have yet to fall asleep in class, knock on wood!

Today all the girls in my room decided we would get up early and go to a 6 o'clock yoga class. The class was good but my kasama and I were laughing the whole time about how ridiculous we looked! We decided to take a nap when we got back and wake up at 7:30 for breakfast. Instead we all slept until 9 and it was GLORIOUS!!!! I feel so dang sleep deprived and it's been making me sick! All week I've been stuffed up and coughing and basically miserable. But again no bed bugs or serious sickness. As mom's favorite musical says, "Always look on the bright side of life!!" Haha...just kidding, Mom...I know it's not your favorite! :)

I love my district! The guys always give me crap about being from Kansas and how they're all from "God's Valley" aka Utah.  I just give it right back to them, in a loving way, of course! Our district leader from Draper claims Utah has the best BBQ in the country! I feel bad for the poor, unfortunate soul who has never had a proper pulled pork sandwich from Okie Joes! Man, I miss good food. Don't get me wrong...the food here is alright but there's nothing like the smell of Jack Stack's BBQ baked beans or Mom's onion straws!

Aak!  It's a rat!
Something cool I learned is that the MTC has Narnia holes. Narnia holes are little compartments in the residence where previous missionaries leave things for the next missionaries to come. We have only found two in our room so far and they're really fun to find.  Our Narnia holes are behind switch plates that have three of the screws taken out so you can rotate them and see what's inside. One of ours had some candy, a packet of vitamin C, and dog treats. Why someone had dog treats at the MTC I'll never know! The other one was really good. There was a figurine of a rat from the movie Ratatouille! It doesn't look like a real rat but still scared the girl that opened up the Narnia hole for the first time! I'm thinking of some good things we can leave in there for the next missionaries that live in our room.

Next week we will be the oldest sister missionaries in our zone!! I still feel like I don't have the hang of anything!!

I started reading Jesus the Christ this week and I already love it!! I love how much you can feel the Spirit here, but I can't wait to get to the Philippines!!

I love you all and apologize for how short this letter is!!
Talk to you next week!

 I ran into Sister Jenson!!
Another member of the 
Chipman Chinchillas! #YNOT
Mahal kita,
Sister Miller

The First Letter from the MTC -- August 3, 2013

Kumusta Pamilya!!

Soo here it is, my first letter home from the MTC!! Well as you could have guessed today, Saturday, is my P-day. So far I have eaten breakfast, layed around in bed for a little bit, and read my scripts. I feel like I have been here for FOREVER but not in a bad way!  Last night we taught our first investigator, Danilo, totally in Tagalog!!!! It was seriously one of the scariest things ever.  My companion (Sister 'Ete'aki) and I arrived 5 minuets early expecting to meet up with the rest of the district to get a little bit of an overview of what we were suppose to be doing before we actually began teaching. NOPE! We walk in and are totally blindsided by Danilo going about like we were going to teach him right then and there!! So, not only did we not have time to practice what we were going to say, we only had half of our lesson prepared!! It was a train wreck but now we know what to expect for tonight and we will be able to do better!!
In class, our teacher speaks in only Tagalog. It is kind of overwhelming but I know it will help me learn the language better.
My companion is Sister 'Ete'aki. She is from Portland, Oregon and is Tongan. It is funny because if you're a Pacific Islander here at the MTC, you are automatically best friends with any other Pacific Islander. She is super cool and we have the same sense of humor so we are already getting along great! All of the six girls in my room/district are going to Olongapo, too, so chances are I will be companions with at least one of them in the Philippines, so I better be nice and make a good impression!! :)

My kasama, Sister 'Ete'aki
My daily schedule looks a little like this:
6:30- Wake up
7:00- Arrive in classroom for daily preparation
7:30- Eat breakfast
8:00- Classroom Instruction with Brother Poole
11:00- Personal Study
12:10- Lunch
12:55- Language Study
1:55- Additional Study time
2:25- TALL (Computerized language study)
3;35- Gym Time aka Four Square time :)

5:10- Dinner
My whole district at the temple.
5:55- Classroom Instruction OR Teaching Your Investigator Time
9:00- Daily Planning Session
9:30- Personal Time/ Companionship Prayer
10:15- Quiet Time
10:30- Lights Out!
Each day the order is shifted a little bit, but we do the same things everyday.

So good news, NO BED BUGS!! I hear that they are only infesting the Elder's residences so I am in the clear for now! I still look daily around my bed frame and on my sheets but so far, so good!

Well, I love you all and am so thankful for each and every one of you! 
Alam ko po na totoo po ang ebanghelyo at mahal po tayo ng Diyos at ng Jesucristo.

OH YEAH AND KEEP THOSE DEAR ELDERS COMING!!!! I flippin' love getting them everyday! :)

Alllllright then, peace and blessings :)
-Sister Miller
I knew I was given great power as a missionary
 but no one told me it was this great!!
(Just walking up a wall... no big deal!)

Farewell, Sister Miller! July 29-31. 2013

We wanted to spend as much time as possible with Marissa before taking her to the MTC on Wednesday, so we flew to Utah on Monday.  Meg drove up from Cedar City, and Mal and Wil drove down from Laramie.  We stayed at a condo in Solitude and just hung out and played games.

On Tuesday, we went to Temple Square....

And on Wednesday said our final farewells.

We are so proud of you, Marissa, and know you will be an awesome missionary! We can't wait to hear all about your experiences with the people of the Philippines.