Monday, November 25, 2013

Another baptism...

Hello one and all!

Well, it's happened again...somehow this week just flew by! 

We had another baptism on Saturday! Our convert's name is Brother Vitty. We want to baptize his whole family eventually! In the picture are his two sons and baby girl. Brother Vitty lives, literally, on the top of the mountain! It takes us a good 15 minutes to walk up there and the path is SUPER steep! The trek is worth it though because he has such a strong testimony and loves the Book of Mormon! He always wants to tell us what he read about Lehi and Nephi. He also loves karaoke, as do the rest of the people in this country, myself included! Whenever we go over there, he is usually belting it out into a microphone! He is really good and goes to competitions and events. I think it's funny because everyone here sings mostly songs in English and they all have Filipino accents! I am working on perfecting my Filipino accent so I can come home and speak with  it and tell everyone I'm from the Philippines! I try to tell the people here that I'm Filipino but for some reason no one believes me!! :)

As much as no one may believe me, I'm telling you I'm turning Filipino! I love it here and love everything about missionary work. I know this work is true and worth any and all sacrifices. I miss you all so much. I miss driving. Heck, I miss wearing sweats everyday but I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world than here. (Even with KU bastketball dominating this year...ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!) I love this Gospel and I love seeing the positive changes it makes in the lives of all of my converts and in my life, as well!

Oh yeah, and just in case anyone wants to send me a pumpkin or anything like unto it, I would suggest otherwise! I guess it's the thought that counts, right, Mal? Haha I loved it nonetheless and it got me in the Halloween mood just in time for Thanksgiving!
This is what happens when trying to mail a real pumpkin to the Philippines!

I love you all and want you to eat a lot of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and everything else for me!!

Sister Miller

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Work Continues...

May I start off by apologizing...I have no idea where the time went but I only have a couple of minutes to write to you! My bad....

I am so thankful for all the concern from everyone on my behalf. I am okay and my area wasn't affected by the typhoon. I've been hearing stories about the missionaries in Tacloban and other missions who were hit directly and it's heart breaking to think of their experiences. It's amazing that they were all safe and able to get to Manila. I know that Heavenly Father was watching over and protecting them. The people of Tacloban are still really struggling. I can't believe such a catastrophe happened and I didn't even know about it until it was over!!

I had another baptism this week, Sister Jerica. She is the granddaughter of a recent convert and she is so strong in the gospel! She gave her testimony at the baptism. It was so sweet and she was super nervous but she was smiling the whole way through and so was I!
We also had zone conference this week! Four zones got together and President Querido spoke with us. It was so good...all about how our success in the mission is all up to us and the choices we make! I loved it and couldn't agree more. I know that no matter what the world may throw at me, I can get through it all based on my decision to. It's the small decisions everyday that make the big decisions easy to make. Especially the decisions we make here on the mission about obedience. I know that through exact obedience I can receive many blessings and my work will continue to progress daily!

Zone Conference - Olongapo, Calapacuan, San Antonio and San Narciso Zones

I love Sister Querido!
This principle can be applied in everyone's lives, too, not just missionaries. I know that through our dedication to make right choices on the little things, it will be so much easier to choose the right when it comes to the bigger things in life. Like making a decision about how we are going to react in a certain situation before we actually find ourselves in that situation.  If we choose to be obedient in the small things, how much easier it is to be obedient to the big things! I am so grateful for this knowledge and how much easier it made growing up and deciding to serve a mission!!

I love and miss you all!!

Sister Miller

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miracles Times Three!

Man, has this been a week of miracles!!
The first miracle, which I wasn't totally aware of, was my safety. My area wasn't affected by Typhoon Yolanda that hit central Philippines on Friday. I know there was much loss of life and property in Tacloban and other areas and I am praying for them and their families.
 The second miracle...I survived training for a day!! My companion, Sister Leakehe, just became a Sister Training Leader so she had to go to a meeting at the mission home on Wednesday. I was going to just be added to another companionship near my area, but the Mission President had something different in mind. All I knew was that another STL's companion was coming to my area and we were to work together for the day. So I go to drop off my companion and pick up the other sister. Now when I first met her, I thought she was Filipino and immediately in my mind I'm thinking, "I have to act like I actually know this language and really impress her!" So for the first 10 minutes of being with her, she seemed pretty shy, only giving me short replies and mostly just nodding her head. Now my thoughts are, "Crap! She's Filipino and she can't even understand my Tagalog. I thought I was doing so good!" Well, it turns out she really couldn't understand me, but it was because she was actually from the Marshall Islands and had only been in the Peens for a week and a half, not because she was a Filipino and couldn't understand my Tagalog! So I got to be her trainer for the day! I didn't really have time to feel overwhelmed by the fact that I myself had only been here for 8 weeks and we were about to teach my investigators in this weird foreign language neither of us really knew. We just went out and did it! It was such a great experience. It made me realize that I can do hard things! I can teach a lesson nearly solo in full Tagalog! I'm not saying I've got it 100% down because that may never happen, but I know I always have Heavenly Father's help in this work and I'm so thankful for that!
And the third miracle.....NANAY BELINDA GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was truly a miracle! I can't remember how much I told you about her, but here's a recap. Nanay Belinda has had the gospel in her life through her son for over 25 years and she has always wanted nothing to do with it. Missionaries after missionaries tried to teach her and she would literally hide from them. She had never been to church and was very content with her relationship with God. So this is where we come in. We received her name as a referral from her son who told us, "This is my mother. Good luck. You'll need it!" We were planning on visiting her later in the week but we walked by the way to get to her house one day and my companion and I both thought we should pay her a visit. Our only hesitation was that we had Nanay Baman with us, who is in her 60s, and we had to climb many, many uneven steep stairs to get to the house. We decided to tough it out and help Nanay up. When we got to the top, we were all tired and the only person we could see was an old lady smoking. Then all the sudden from behind me, I hear Nanay Baman yell, "BELLLLLLINDA?!?! Sisters, you didn't tell me we were seeing Belinda!!" Immediately, the old lady who was smoking jumped up and ran to hug Nanay Baman! I guess they were best friends back in the day and hadn't seen each other in a long time. They were both so happy and Nanay Belinda insisted we come into her home. We didn't hesitate! They talked for a little bit and then we cut in and said how excited we were to share a message with her. At the end of the lesson, we asked when she would like us to come back. You'll never guess what she said... okay I'll tell you... she said, " EVERYDAY!! EVERYDAY!!" Can you believe that! We sure couldn't!! We thought, "Is this the right Belinda?!" We weren't the only ones astonished! Her son and the Branch President and anyone and everyone who knew her were amazed.
 So through the course of us teaching her, she came to the realization that she needed to be baptized. Oh yeah, did I mention that she told us that on the third lesson?! Our jaws were literally on the floor! Everything really came down to her little problem of smoking. She was reading the Book of Mormon everyday, going to church, praying, she was doing everything right but she was still smoking a pack and a half a day. We really pushed her to quit but she simply told us it wasn't possible. We suggested she get a priesthood blessing for strength. She did. We were always praying for her and we all fasted for her.
 Now, her son's job is taking him away to another country for two years but Nanay Belinda really wanted him to be at her baptism, understandably. So it's the weekend before her son leaves and Nanay Belinda is still smoking 6 sticks a day, but she really wants to quit. We got special permission from the Mission President that if she could not smoke a single cigarette this whole week she could be baptized on Thursday before her son left on Friday. We made all the plans but, ultimately, it was up to Nanay and she was convinced she couldn't do it. We taught her about fasting and she decided that she needed to fast for help to break her addiction. Well, I kind of already ruined the ending for you, but needless to say, she hasn't smoked since and was baptized Thursday night by her son!


This is the favorite experience of my mission so far. To see how hard Nanay Belinda was willing to work and to feel the love and support that so many people had for her was truly amazing.
 I love being a missionary and being able to experience the change this gospel makes in the lives of those whom we teach. I know that Heavenly Father is watching over us all and that he is so ready and willing to pour out blessings upon us.

I love you all so much,

Sister Miller

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Best Email You'll Receive All Week!

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting here in this little internet cafe emailing you guys! It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes by here!! 
This week I just want to brag to you about how amazing my investigators are!! I don't have time to tell you about all of them but here are a few highlights!

Solly & Max: So these two are a couple we have been teaching the entire time I've been here. They are really converted to the gospel but aren't married so they can't get baptized until they get married or stop living together. They chose marriage. Solly didn't have a birth certificate so they are in the process of getting that and then they will be able to file for marriage. They don't have any money and have been working really hard and taking on new jobs to try and pay to get married. I can really see their desire to be baptized and even though they know it will be a while until they are able to do so, they stay so diligent and come to church every week and read the Book of Mormon everyday. I hope they don't get discouraged in the long wait for their baptism! I also hope I am still here to see them get married and baptized!!

Vitty, Charito, and John: This is a family we found through I2L-ing. (Inviting to learn) It's basically being nice to everyone as we walk and sharing about the gospel. Their house is literally on the top of the mountain! It takes us about 12 minuets to get up there and we have to stop for a break mid-way! I thought my calf muscles were big before but now they're HUGE!! The work out of getting to their home is worth it though because they are so golden! They've had a lot of trials in their lives and have been searching for a church to go to for a while but said none of them felt right. They said this one was different and was answering their questions! Ahhhhh! How awesome is that?! I want so badly for them to be baptized but I know they need to progress in their own time. They are our goal for this month! I'll keep you posted!

Belinda: So I wrote about her last week but she seriously amazes me every time we visit her! She started to get discouraged about the word of wisdom, she has been smoking since she was 9!! She said she prayed about it and realized she is meant to be baptized no matter what or how long it takes!! She comes to church every week and actively participates in 'school'. (That's what she calls classes.) 

So that's just a few! I love ALL my investigators and will update you all throughout my future emails.

This week, one of my besties from the MTC had to go home. Her back was really acting up and she was in a lot of pain. It really shook me that she was going home. This sister was the ideal missionary and someone I really looked up to. The whole situation made me realize how blessed I am to be here and what a privilege it really is to serve a mission! It made me realize that I need to strive to be my best every second of every hour of everyday of every week of every month!!! I want to work everyday like it is my last so if for any reason I had to leave, I would have no regrets! 

In true missionary fashion, I have a commitment I would like to leave with whomever may read this. I just finished a book and I loved it and would like to extend to you the invitation to read it also. It's called Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was written by M. Russell Ballard, an apostle of the church. I loved it and loved the way he so simply and clearly explained many church doctrines! I've been a member my whole life but I still got a lot out of reading it! So there it challenge for you all! Please read this book and email me your thoughts!! Members of this church or not, I know you will learn something! So do it!! :)

I love you all so much!! 

Sister Miller