Monday, August 25, 2014

Ride 'em, Cowgirl! (or should I say 'carabao-girl'?!?)

Well, like any week in the life and mission of Sister Miller, this one was full of fun, excitement. and a little bit of living on the edge. Well, as close to the edge as you can get being a missionary!!

This week I was given the opportunity to cross off something on my Philippine's bucket list: "Ride a Carabao" -- CHECK!! The Wrights, the senior couple who serve part time, have a house and a small farm here in San Marcelino and when they discovered the pure joy that would come into my life if I were able to ride a Carabou, (a domestic water buffalo) they invited us over for lunch. Now having lunch with the Wrights is amazing enough, but to add to the excitement, they said I could ride their Carabou!! OF COURSE I SAID I WOULD LOVE TO!!! It was sooooo cool! I put on a Filipino hat, strapped a Filipino knife around my waist, and I was ready!!  Elder and Sister Wright were cracking up but I was having the time of my life! 

Ready, set....


Hope I can last 8 seconds!!! ;-)
I really love and appreciate Brother and Sister Wright. They have been like parents out here in the field the past couple of months. They serve part time in Masinloc (my previous area) but live here in San Marcelino (my new area) and I am so happy that I will still get to see them.  They even went to Olongapo to get me Krispy Kreme donuts when they found out that that KK was my favorite donut place! I feel like I am so well looked after here. Not only do I have amazing leaders and fellow missionaries, but I can always feel Heavenly Father's love and protecting hand in my day to day work.

I traded a box of Thin Mints and it was SOOOOO worth it!!!
President Thomas S. Monson said, "Your Heavenly Father loves you--each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."

I can honestly say that I have felt that love in my life and as I have served the people of the Philippines, I get a glimpse of the love Heavenly Father feels for them. I was sitting in a lesson this week when we had to tell an investigator that we had to push his baptism date back because of his addiction/relapse of smoking. He was devastated. I just wanted to know the right thing to say to comfort him because in that moment I could feel the love our Heavenly Father has for him. As children of God, there is no barrier between us and His love. As President Monson said, God's love is unconditional. 

I love to see when the people here realize the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The work is definitely hastening. I think that as the world grows further and further away from God, religion, or anything pure and good, it's almost easier for those who really want to know the truth to see that this is God's plan...for us to return to live with Him through faith, repentance. baptism. receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

I know with all of my heart that this is the one and only truth, the one and only plan, and the one and only way to obtain happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

I am so proud to be an instrument in Heavenly Father's hand to bring His children home, to help them feel of His love in their lives. I love this work, I love Heavenly Father, and I love the people of the Philippines.

Don't worry, I didn't forget about you guys... I LOVE YOU ALL, TOO!!

-Sister Miller

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Area. New Comp. New Everything!

Well, last week was that time again. The dreaded transfer day!! I was pretty sure I would be leaving but I didn't want to! I did, however, have an awesome last day in Masinloc. 

The couple that got married last week were baptized!! They were sooo happy... even if they don't look like it in the picture. I don't know why but Filipinos don't really like to smile in pictures. Anyways, it was an amazing experience to be able to see them baptized and hear their testimonies after the baptism. They had been working so hard to be ready and to be able to witness it on my last day in Masinloc was priceless. We also had a Branch activity right after the baptism and a lot of people came, including everyone whom I had taught and baptized while in Masinloc. It was great because I was able to say goodbye to everyone and have a nice closure with the area. 

A beautiful day for this family and for me!
Now I am in San Marcelino and my new companion is Sister Ruga. She is Filipina and has only been here in the field for 12 weeks! I'm what you would call her 'follow-up trainer' but she doesn't really need any training. We are getting some serious work done and I'm excited to see how I can help this area progress. Richard G. Scott once said, "To reach a goal never attained, you must do things you've never done before." That is going to be my personal motto in this area. We are going to try new ways of finding, of teaching, and of living our missionary purpose. 

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with transfer days. I hate leaving my old area and the people there but I love the fresh start that a new area gives you! Being on the downward slope of going home makes me realize that I have to give it my all everyday, and work my hardest to give back to Heavenly Father just a fraction of all He has blessed me with. 

I know that this work is true. I know that this Gospel is true. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have here to serve the people and live in such a way that invites others to come unto Christ.  

I love all of you!

-Sister Miller

One last photo before the bus takes us away!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Notice of Transfer

Philippine Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway, Manga-Vaca
2209 Subic Zambales
13 August 2014                                                    

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Mark Miller
10420 S Millbrook lane
Olathe, KS 66061
United States

Dear Brother and Sister Miller,

I am very pleased to inform you that your daughter, Sister Marissa Noelle Miller has been assigned to a new area. Her new area will be in San Marcelino Area, which belongs to the San Marcelino District, San Antonio Zone and she will be serving with her companion, Sister Tousaint Rose Jose Ruga, who is also an outstanding missionary. You can be assured that your daughter will be in good hands and will learn much from her companion. We express our confidence that the two of them will enjoy the companionship of each other and will support each other as they prayerfully strive to do the Lord’s work. We encourage you to be a part of her missionary effort by praying always for their success.

San Marcelino is a wonderful place, the people are loving and kind, and you will also find the people to be hospitable and teachable. The members there are supportive with regards to missionary work and they are always excited to work with the Missionaries and involve themselves to the work.

We encourage you to write your daughter each week and please include encouraging news of family events, achievements, spiritual experiences and other matters which will bring joy and deeper commitment. We also encourage you to be a part of your daughter’s missionary service by writing to your daughter’s investigators and new converts, and express your love and your testimony of the Gospel.

Sister Miller  is a great missionary.  She does what is expected of her as a full-time missionary.  You can be very pleased with your daughter. We thank you for raising a wonderful daughter and we appreciate the opportunity to work with her. We assure you that we will do all we can do to see that she will have a fulfilling mission. We love your missionary and want this mission to be the greatest experience for her and for your family.  May God bless you.

Dennis V. Dahle
Philippines Olongapo Mission                                                
Mission President


Monday, August 11, 2014

Just Another Week in the 'Peens!

Well, I just came from a marriage....and I'm now a Godmother! Just another day in the Peens. :)

My favorite family here in Masinloc is getting baptized tomorrow and their wedding was earlier this morning. It was so happy here! I have seen this family grow so much in the 12 weeks I've been here. I'm ecstatic that I will be able to see them be baptized before I get transferred to another area. This is one of those families from my mission that I will never forget. I feel privileged to have been a part of their conversion process. I love this family so much! I was also able to be a witness of their marriage therefore becoming the Godmother of their children!

Andrea and Joel
Seeing people grow in the Gospel really helps me realize what a big help the Gospel is in my life and in the lives of all who abide by it's principles. There have been so many times when we are teaching people and I see the moment that the Gospel makes sense to them. It's like there is something inside of them testifying of the truthfulness of our message. I know that that is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the biggest help that  we have as missionaries. In reality, missionaries don't convert people. The Holy Ghost does. We are all able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost but we have to be worthy and sensitive in order to truly understand.  

I am so grateful for the successes I have seen here in the Philippines and for the opportunity I have had to be a tool in the hands of the Lord to bring Heavenly Father's children back to Him. I know that the work I am doing is true. I know that it is only through obedience to the principles of Christ's Gospel that we can truly attain happiness in this life and in the life to come.

I love you all so much!
-Sister Miller

We had FHE with the senior missionaries this week and this was the result!

Elder Wright had the most fun of all!

Sister Hart and I had these t-shirts made for zone conference because we thought it would be hilarious. We were right, of course. Everyone LOVED them!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Well, for those of you who have been counting my days as a missionary, I'm sure July 31st was a big day for you! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, there's always repentance....Ha! On July 31, 2014, I, Sister Miller, hit my one year mark of being a missionary!!!!!!!! WHAT, WHAT?! PARTY OVER HERE, WHOOT WHOOT! PARTY OVER THERE, WHOOT WHOOT! GET DOWN TONIGHT!! PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR AND WAVE THEM LIKE YOU JUST DON'T CARE!!! WILL THE REAL SISTER MILLER PLEASE STAND UP, PLEASE STAND UP!! that that is over... :) 

It was pretty cool to hit my one year mark here. I mean, looking back and seeing all that I have gone through and how much I have grown was a real trip down memory lane. Let me start off by reflecting on the crazy things I have done: eating balut, running on a sketchy hanging bridge, doing my laundry in a bucket, then using that same bucket to shower, surviving a huge typhoon and many monsoons and tropical storms, it's been quite a year!

I have also met so many truly amazing people and hearing their stories has inspired me in innumerable ways. I have seen how much I have grown spiritually. It's funny, how when you take away the things in life you think you need, like your iPhone, your car, McDonald's, or even a hot shower, you really come to see and understand what is important in life. I feel like I see the whole world in a different way now. I look at everything in a new light and have obtained a greater appreciation for the things I have been blessed with in my life. I have an amazing family that has always supported me no matter what I'm doing. Friends who have always been there to go and be crazy with without questioning my standards. And most importantly, a Heavenly Father who loves me so unceasingly that He is always there...ALWAYS. 

This Gospel and the knowledge and application of the Atonement of Christ is the greatest thing anyone can obtain in this life. Throughout this one year, all I have been doing is teaching others about just how much Heavenly Father loves them and the plan He has for them. I can't count the number of times I walk out of a lesson feeling like I was the one who was taught by the Spirit. I have heard that your testimony grows and is strengthened as you bear it. My testimony is like the Hulk Hogan of testimonies now! I know, without a doubt, that this is the truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, is Heavenly Father's plan for us to return to live with Him and obtain eternal happiness. I have seen the sacrifices the people I teach make in order to align their lives with God's commandments. At first, it is so hard for them, but each and every one of them who has accomplished this task did not regret it in the slightest. We all have problems and trials in our lives but through living in accordance to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and I mean really living, not just going through the actions, we will find peace and happiness in even the darkest and dreariest parts of life. That is the miracle of the Gospel.

I would invite each and everyone of you, non-members and members alike, to learn more. Study the messages of the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, and ask for yourself if this is the truth. Ask your Heavenly Father personally if you are doing everything you can in order to work out your own salvation. 

I know that this the most important work I can be doing right now...inviting others to come unto Christ. I love you all so much and will see you in 6 months!!! HOLLA :)

Sister Miller
7-31-13  With Mom and Meg right before they dropped me at the MTC.
7-31-14  I wore the same outfit I wore on my first day...glasses and all.
Sister Manilingan acted as my mom in blue and Sister Hart as Meg in red.