Monday, January 27, 2014

Aspire Higher

Magandan umaga po sa inyo lahat!! 

This week's letter is going to have to be short because I had a lot of emails to reply to. But I wanted to share a quote with you that I read this week and loved. It was by Richard G. Scott and he said it when he came to speak to us at the MTC. 

He said, "To reach a goal never attained, you must do things you've never done before." 

It is so simple but also true and powerful and I think applicable in all of our lives today. It reminds me of a family we have been teaching. The father works abroad and is only back every two years and for only two months. He was here when we first started teaching his family but has since left. The biggest struggle for the wife is the fact that they weren't able to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity when her husband was here. The thing is that the whole family, except for the husband, is inactive. We want to help her realize that to attain such a large goal we must break our daily routine and do things we've never done before. We can't just have a dream and expect it to happen if we keep doing the same thing we've always done. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result!! 

In my missionary experience, I know this to be true. I can't just sit here getting no baptisms and think 'the Lord will provide next month. We all need to do our part in achieving our goals and ask for Heavenly Father's help along the way.

I love you all and know as you aspire higher and work to achieve what you want in life, Heavenly Father will be right there to match and multiply your efforts.

Sister Miller

Check out this guy's shirt!! KC reppin'   :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Four Questions -- Four Answers

Magandan umaga po sa inyo lahat!!

For this week I've decided to answer some questions that have been sent my way!! These four questions pretty much sum up my whole week! 

What was my biggest challenge of the week? We have a member, Tatay B, who was offended by something our Branch President said about 9 weeks ago. Normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal but the member was one who would always work with us and was a great member missionary. The way things have boiled down are that now all of our recent converts who know Tatay B well are starting to be offended by the church as well because of what happened to Tatay B. One case in particular was Nanay Johnson. She is best friends with Nanay B. We went to visit her on Friday after she hadn't come to church for two weeks. When we got there she told us she wouldn't be coming to church anymore and that she doesn't want us visiting her either. She wouldn't even let us share a message or scripture with her. I really love Nanay Johnson and her conversion is one of the favorite stories I was able to be a part of. To see her spiral down so quickly over something that she wasn't involved with is heartbreaking! Needless to say, we had to go eat our emotions away with ice cream right after the visit!!

What was my biggest concern of the week? This one is tough because as a missionary, I am constantly concerned for those around me. My investigators, my recent converts, my companion, for everyone!! I guess if I had to chose I would say my biggest concern of the week was being called as a Sister Training Leader. As STL, I am in charge of all the sisters in my zone and have to evaluate their work, help them with any problems, go on exchanges with them, give them advice, etc. I still feel so young in the mission! I can't believe I've already been on my mission for almost six months! I just really want to do the best I can to help the sisters in my zone! I know that the Lord doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called!!

What was my biggest success of the week? BROTHER BARRIOS CAME TO CHURCH!!!! Ahhh, I'm still so happy/shocked! Brother Barrios is a less active member. He is a return missionary and his whole family is active except him. At first we thought that it was his job that was keeping him from coming but it turns out that he has Sundays off. We have been visiting him periodically but he hasn't come to church even though he has committed many times. This week, none of our investigators came to church so I was feeling a little bummed. Then I saw Brother Barrios walk in and all was forgotten!! I just had the biggest smile on my face!! I know he felt the Spirit there and hope he will come again next week! It might seem silly that one man coming to church would be my biggest success but it just meant a lot to see the fruit of all our efforts come to pass!

Who was my favorite person of the week? Me. Haha, just kidding! This one is tough, too!! I guess I'm going to give the missionary answer on this one and say Jesus Christ. I've been thinking about the Atonement a lot lately in relation to missionary work. I love what Jeffrey R. Holland said, "Why would we think the work of Salvation would be easy for us when it was never easy for Him?" Every time I get frustrated with my investigators not keeping their commitments or with anything, I just think of Christ standing next to me going through it with me and what He would do in response. I know that He knows perfectly all that we are going through and is ready to support and comfort us when we need it. I am so thankful for the Atonement and the way that was provided for us all to return to our loving Heavenly Father.

I know that this church is true. I wouldn't be halfway across the world if I didn't! I know that this gospel has the power to change lives. It has changed mine and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for this knowledge in my life!

I love you all so much and am always praying for you.

Sister Miller

This is what the Moon looked like last week. I'm not sure why but there was this cool ring around it for three nights! I don't know if it was like this in America, too, but I just thought I would share this sweet picture I snapped of it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Assignment -- Sister Training Leader

Philippines, Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway, Mangan-Vaca
2209, Subic, Zambales

15 January 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Mark Miller 
10420 S Millbrook lane
Olathe, KS 66061
United States
Dear Brother and Sister Miller,
We are pleased to let you know the great job, Sister Marissa Noelle Miller, has done here in the Philippines Olongapo Mission.  She has been working hard and we have recently called her to serve as a Sister Training Leader in the Olongapo Zone. Her companion is Sister Rowena Winnoni Jayweera.
Sister Miller has shown great leadership ability and we know that with the service she will give, she will grow even more.  The service she will give to the sisters she is working with will be greatly appreciated.  We know she will do a great job.
Your daughter has a great testimony of the gospel and she is doing a great job here in the mission field.  She has helped many come unto Christ and we know that she will continue to grow as she serves those she is in contact with.
May the Lord bless you for the service you are giving to the Lord.
PRBQ signature
Roberto Bayobo Querido
Philippines Olongapo Mission
Mission President

Monday, January 13, 2014

Merry Week!


What a week I have had!! I went on many adventures and had lots of fun! I also was able to have a lot of spiritual experiences! So, all in all, mission life is amazing!

First, my adventures! So we walk out in the mountains every now and again and there's this HUGE rock off the beaten path. Every time we walk by it I think, "Man, it would be an awesome picture if we were to climb up there." This week I decided to make that day dream a reality! Let's just say it was a little harder than it looked. The pictures turned out as cool as I thought they would though so it was all worth it!! 

We also had exchanges this week. I was able to leave my area and work with a new companion for a day. It was so fun!! I loved seeing a different area and meeting new investigators. The area where I went was really pretty. It was more up in the mountains than my area and has beautiful views, especially at sunset!!

I was also able to go to the mission home this week for follow up training. All the trainers went to the kitchen and filled out a questionnaire about their companion. We all basically vented about the problems we are having and how hard training is. They gave us some good tips and inspirational words. It was really good to see some of my batch mates there! 

We also got to see a special performance of the Haka dance, which is a war dance of the Maori people of New Zealand. It shows their tribal pride, strength, and loyalty. Elder Solomon performed the Haka for Elder Haisila who is returning home soon to thank him for his help and kindness when Elder Solomon was new in the mission.  It was cool to see the Haka performed in person and up close...kinda scary, too, as you can tell from some of the sister's faces!

Now for my spiritual insert of the week. This week our companionship motto is JTL or Jayaweera Takes the Lead. Basically, I'm handing the reigns over to my new companion who has only been here for 5 weeks. Anyways, we were in a lesson with a less-active family. The dad was our focus for less-active return, but he works abroad now so we focus on the whole family. The mom doesn't have any confidence in her spirituality since her husband left. They aren't sealed in the temple and she doesn't feel worthy to fulfill her calling as Relief Society teacher so she just doesn't go to church. Sister Jayaweera shared a scripture and was conducting the whole lesson. At the end, she turned to me to wrap it up. Now I hate to say it, but my mind was elsewhere throughout the whole lesson. I was trying to keep their little kids quiet so the adults could have an uninterrupted conversation. Well, the time came for me to support whatever Sister Jayaweera said and bear my testimony about it as well. I had no idea what to say so I just started talking. I could feel the Holy Ghost so strong. I can't remember all that I said and I have no idea why I said it but I was tearing up and the mom was crying, too. I just felt like I really needed to tell her that Heavenly Father loves her. I knew that it was true. I could feel the love He has for her and I did my best to convey it to her. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that he loves each and everyone of us. He doesn't want us to be hard on ourselves or have self doubts because we are his children and he loves us no matter our faults or weaknesses! I am so thankful for this knowledge in my life.

I am so happy here and I know that this gospel is true. I can see the change it makes in peoples lives, including my own. I love you all and I love getting all your emails and letters!!

Sister Miller

Monday, January 6, 2014

So Jealous!

If there's one thing I wouldn't mind doing right now it would be laying in bed with 10 layers of clothing on, under my comforter, and STILL BE cold! I'm sure many of you can imagine that since that is your very situation right now. As for me, I'm sweating bullets in a short sleeve shirt!!

Other than the heat and the winter wonderland dream I keep having, everything is going great here! We have really been focusing on our Less-Active families lately. This week alone we had 25 first visits to less-active members. Usually we have one. I really think we need to build up the branch and get people to return in order to have more support for our investigators. I want to show the branch that we are here to help them, meaning the active members, as well as the recent converts and investigators. Our branch has over 800 members but our sacrament attendance is only an average of 170-180 people. Many have moved away but haven't had their records transferred. That's where we come in. We search for all the names and the people who have moved get taken out of the branch's records. Having so many records but so little attendance in comparison is one of the reasons why the branch isn't a ward. Hopefully, by our work, we can help speed up the process of becoming a ward!! 

There was also a big parade last week. I'm not too sure why, but we were lucky enough to be in the city that day so we stopped and watched part of it. The whole city was practically in it! I've attached some highlights/ my favorite parts!

I loved the Beatles scooter!!
A bunch of people rocking out in ridiculous clothing!!  
 I think Meg needs to invest in this doggie stroller for Lily. 
  Check out this guys camo outfit!!! I'm thinking Cheese's next Christmas present! :)
This guy is the epitome of cool!

So this last picture isn't from the parade. This is Sister Zhannel who is a recent convert. We saw her on the street wearing this shirt. I asked her if she knew what it meant and she said she had no idea!! Man, it was so funny I just HAD to take a picture with her!

I love all my recent converts, investigators, and members!! I can tell how much the Spirit has touched their lives and am so grateful I was able to be a part of it. In only a few weeks I will already be one third finished with my mission! By golly, the time has gone by so fast! I'm afraid of the day when I wake up and it's time to go home! I have realized that I need to work hard everyday and not waste any time because the time I have to serve the Lord here is so short! It's such a blessing to be able to share this gospel and see the effect it has in people's lives. I know that this is Heavenly Father's true church. I know that He has a plan for us to return to live with Him. I am so thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes this plan possible. I can feel the love Heavenly Father has for my investigators as well as all of His children here on Earth. 

I love you all!
-Sister Miller