Monday, February 24, 2014

Ain't No Mountain High Enough.....

I've decided,after some prompting from my mother, to write a little sum sum for each day this week to give you all a sweet taste of what it's like to be a missionary!

Monday- P-day! (Preparation Day)
Today I went shopping!! I have been told my wardrobe may be a little too casual so I've decided to give into the standard Sister Missionary pastel button up shirt look. We hit a couple Ukay Ukay stores today. They are basically the same thing as thrift shops in America. If you know me well, you know I LOVE finding little treasures in thrift shops. I found some cute tops that are a little dressier.
We then went to Family Home Evening and had a great time. Our lesson was about Family History and Temple Work and how important they are for all of us. We also played a game where, instead of leaving the game when you get out, you got a stripe of lipstick on your face instead. It was hilarious!!

After many appointments falling through today, my companion and I decided to look for new people to teach. We started at the bottom of a mountain and talked to everyone we met until we reached the top...and I mean the VERY top. There was no real road and barely a stone path. We were surrounded by trees and very little houses. After climbing up and up and up and talking to lots of people we didn't have any return appointments. We decided to keep going just to see how far we could go up. At the last house at the very, VERY top of the mountain was a lady who came out of her house as we passed and just started talking to us. She told us that there was nothing else in the direction we were headed. We started talking about the gospel and she said she really wanted us to come back! It just goes to show that sometime we have to climb mountains before finding people who are ready to receive this gospel!

Just a normal day here in the Peenes! We are really struggling to find new people to teach! We focused on getting referrals today but unfortunately didn't get any! :( I was able to visit most of my recent converts today. Since I'm probably getting transferred to a new area next week, I want to see them as much as possible before I leave. I love them all so much and am going to miss them!! They are like my family here!

 Woohooo for exchanges!! As part of being Sister Training Leader, I get to go into other Sister's areas and evaluate their work and help them with anything they may need. Today I was working with Sister Cardenas. She is Filipina and got here the same time I did. We had a great time and I liked seeing her area. 

This morning I woke up with the WORST stomach pain! I immediately went to the bathroom, or CR (comfort room) here in the Peenes, and threw up. I was sick all day! I slept until about noon when I woke up and decided that I had to go to work! We had a return appointment with that new investigator, the one at the top of the mountain from Tuesday, and I didn't want to break it. Well, it may not have been the best idea but I did it anyway. We had to stop many times on the way up. I felt like an old lady!! But once we got there we had an awesome lesson and the lady committed to baptism!! It made the trek up there all worth it!!
We also went to the Branch Post-Valentines day party. I was feeling a little better by then so I had a good time. All the missionaries got wrangled into playing Charades and my team selected me to act. The topic was Biblical couples. I did my best and after five rounds, my team won!! 

Today we visited the members who are the farthest out in our area. It takes us 15 minutes by trike to get to the head of the trail that leads to their house. After another 20 minuets of walking, we finally arrived. The whole family are members but they are all less active now. I have taught them most of my mission but this was my last visit because I'm probably leaving the area next week. There were many pictures taken and letters exchanged. I made a final plea for them to come back to church and I hope it made a difference. 

My last Sunday in Branch 1. It was just another normal Sabbath. Everyone came up to me and said their goodbyes and again there were many pictures. We went out after church and taught all of our progressing investigators. One of them is the sibling of an active member. We have taught him and his family only a couple of times but they committed to baptism! He shared how he prayed to know if this was the true church and then opened up the Book of Mormon to a random page and read. He said he was totally sure he got his answer and that he knows it's true! You could feel the Spirit so strong!!

Overall, it was an awesome week and there's so much more I could say but am short on time. I love missionary life despite sometimes feeling sick or not being able to find new people to teach. I know that Heavenly Father is here helping us on our way and that He will bless us immensely after all we can do! 

I love you all!
-Sister Miller

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another Chunky Jam Week!

My week was chunky jam full of awesome things!! First we had Zone Conference, then I BBQ'd it up KC style, then it was Valentine's Day, then the other Sisters had a baptism and the kid who was baptized was soooo dang cute,

So Zone Conference. It was really spiritual and I learned a lot. One of my favorite talks was from Sister Quierdo, our Mission President's wife. Let me give you a little background on Sister Quierdo. She is the one we text if we aren't feeling well. Without fail, no matter what ailment we may be experiencing, she tells us to drink water and we will feel better. I LOVE it. It has become a running joke among the missionaries. Example... "Ahhh...I broke my leg!!" "Drink some water... It will make you feel better!" So with that in mind, can you guess what her topic was? Did you say 'drinking water'? If you did, you would be... RIGHT! As soon as the first slide of her presentation went up reading, "10 Benefits of Drinking Water", a unified snicker came from the entire congregation! She made some really good points....Did you know our brains are 80% water?....and I have vowed to start drinking more water!  It was also fun to see everyone and take pictures.

This is our District Leader who is returning to Tacloban this week.

This is Sister Makihelle from my MTC district.

And the whole gang!
Now BBQ!!! I received some Famous Dave's rub in my Christmas package (Thanks, MOM!!) and decided to put it to good use the other day. We went out and bought a cheap grill and some pork chops and the rest is history! It was so delicious!! My taste buds felt like they were back in good ol KC!!

Long Live BBQ!!!
My favorite day this week was definitely Valentine's Day. We went to visit all of our families and I gave them all Valentines. I cut out hearts and wrote little messages on them and included Dum Dums compliments of my Aunt DeLynne! They all loved them! 

I  just love these families so much!!! Transfers are coming up and when I think about leaving them, it makes me want to cry!! I've been here for 6 months and have made so many friendships that I can't really imagine my mission without! I can't wait to come back here after my mission is over and see them all again! And I haven't even left the area yet!! I can feel a little of what Heavenly Father felt when we left Him and came to earth. I am going to miss these people here but that is why this work is so important. I know that through this gospel we can all see each other once again after this life. That's why I'm here, away from my family for a time so that other families can be together for eternity.

This is Nanay  Daculin, who is one of my favorite people EVER!!!
The other Sisters had a baptism this week. He was a 9-year-old whose older brother is an active member, but none of the rest of their family are members. His older brother was able to baptize him and he was so excited. After the boy was baptized, I saw him jumping up and down and saying, "YES!!! I'm baptized!" It was so cute, I wanted to cry!! 

Man, I make it sound like I want to cry a lot so let me clarify: I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world...even being at the game where KU will beat Duke in the finals of the National Championship by a last-second, three-point buzzer beater! I mean that would be great but not as great as being on the other side of the world with no air conditioning, speaking a strange language, and truly changing peoples lives, as well as my own. 

I know this work is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us! 

I love you all too!! Talk to you next week! Write me if you want :)

Sister Miller

Monday, February 10, 2014

Baptizing the Nation...One Family at a Time!!!

Magandang araw sa inyo lahat! 

I love being a missionary!! Do you think I say that enough? Well, it's TRUE!! I think everyone should experience full-time missionary work and I am so grateful for this opportunity I have!

This week we baptized a family...Nora, Kristine, and Kaye! They were so excited! The baptism was on Kaye's 8th birthday so it was extra special for her. Nora shared her testimony at the baptism and spoke of how she always feels the Spirit so strongly when she goes to church or when we teach her. Also about how she has seen the tender mercies of the Lord in her life since she has started to follow His example. 

I love this family so much!! On Sunday, two days after her baptism, Nora brought tithing and was so excited and eager to pay back to Heavenly Father just a little bit of all He has given her. 

I love seeing the changes and progression in people's lives as they come to accept this gospel. I know without a doubt that it is true. The truthfulness of this Gospel is what gets me through the hard days. There have been so many hard days and trials here on the other side of the world but I wouldn't trade a single day here for anything else!

I have felt Heavenly Father's love for me as well as those whom I serve so strongly! I know He loves us all and has given us a way to return to Him. It's up to us to follow His plan by the way we live our lives! 

I love you all so much!
-Sister Miller

Monday, February 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kansas!

Magandan umaga po!

Sobrang masaya po ako kasi MISSIONARY po ako!! 

This week was full of fun. From Kansas' birthday celebration to leading exchanges, I had a lot of fun!

We celebrated good ol Kansas' birthday with cake and lots of KU gear! All the sisters knew the importance of this day to me so we made our celebration BIG! Well, as big as you can get as a missionary! We sang Home on the Range as well as God Bless America, just for kicks! My companion thought it was a little ridiculous. I couldn't really blame her because she is from Sri Lanka and doesn't yet understand how awesome Kansas is. But not to worry, I am educating her well :)

We also had exchanges and I went into Sister Johnson's area for the day. It was cool to see another area but I missed my people so much! We went to a sister's house whom they had met earlier in the week. This woman told the other sisters that she was a member and had been less active for years but wanted to be taught again and come back to church. Sister Johnson thought it was a miracle that this woman found them. We went there and talked to the lady for a long time. She has had a hard life but sounds like she really wants to come back to church. She admitted to us that she now has a Word of Wisdom problem and drinks quite often. Then she told us that she was drunk when she saw the other sisters and went up to talk to them! Sister Johnson's face was priceless when the lady told us. Then the lady said, "What? You couldn't tell?" Ah man, I was trying my best not to bust a gut laughing!! She really has a sincere desire to change and we helped her come up with a plan to quit drinking. It was just really funny because Sister Johnson is a really somber person and was just so shocked when the lady told her she was drunk.

I am excited for her to come back to church and get her life back in order,]. I know that no matter how far you stray from this gospel, you can always come back through repentance because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we read in the scriptures, "His hand is stretched out still." I am so thankful for this knowledge in my life and for the opportunity to share it with others. 

I love you all so much!

Sister Miller