Monday, November 24, 2014

I Love the Book of Mormon!

Ang Pamilya & mga Kaibigan Ko,

This week Sister Cagata and I have really been focusing our teaching on the Book of Mormon and something amazing has been happening.  Of course, we always teach out of the Book of Mormon, but as we have been emphasizing it's importance, we have felt the difference in our lessons.  We had an awesome lesson with a new investigator about the Book of Mormon.  It was like all of her questions were coming out a student manual.  All of the answers she was looking for were right there in what we were sharing. I saw the 'ah ha' moment numerous times throughout the lesson.  When we were done, she said, "I get it. It all makes sense."  I know she felt the Spirit testify to her that the Book of Mormon truly is God's word.

I love teaching about the Book of Mormon because it is what really sets us apart from every other religion.  All the evidence anyone will ever need in order to know if this is the truth, they can hold in their hands.  It all rests on whether or not the Book of Mormon is truly coming from God.  If it is, then Joseph Smith was a prophet with authority from God.  If it is, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's only true church on the face of the earth and the only church with the authority to perform ordinances such as baptism.  It ALL depends on the Book of Mormon.  With all that riding on the truthfulness of one book, it boggles my mind when people don't read it.  There is literally nothing to lose and all of salvation to be gained.

I love what President Ezra Taft Benson said regarding the Book of Mormon, "We do not have to prove the Book of Mormon is true.  The book is it's own proof.  All we need to do is read it and declare it!  The Book of Mormon is not on trial--the people of the world, including members of the church -- are on trial as to what they will do with this Second Witness for Christ."

We are all on trial whether we've seen the book once or it's been a part of our whole lives.  I have come to have such a greater appreciation for the Book of Mormon in my life.  I know that it is the word of God as written by ancient prophets.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, of our witness of Christ, and of our testimony.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to declare it to the people of the Philippines.

I know that as we apply the teachings within the Book of Mormon, we will grow closer to our Father in Heaven.  I know He lives  and loves each and everyone of us.  I love Him.  I love this work.  I love you all!!!

Sister Miller

P.S.  I got a nice surprise this week -- a Christmas tree in the mail!  I am so excited to read the messages everyone wrote every day as I count down to Christmas.  Thanks for thinking of me.  I love you all!

Do you remember Sister Hart from Australia?
She is one of my besties from Candelaria and we are excited to be serving in the same zone again.
I wish I had a funny story about how she fractured her elbow but she just slipped and fell. That's it!  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Hello my people!!!

This week has been one of HARD WORK!! One of the things I love most about coming into a new area is seeing the huge progression in the first full week of the transfer. This is the week that I like to push myself and my companion the hardest and really set a standard for the rest of the transfer. As Sister Cagata and I have given it out all, we have really seen the blessings of the Lord. We more than doubled our total lessons taught and new investigators. We also achieved over five times more lessons taught to an investigator with a member present. We've really seen the potential this area has and I'm excited to see the growth we are going to see for teh rest of the transfer. 

I think Ezra Taft Benson said it best when he said, "One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work."

I have seen that when we work hard we are happy! When we get lazy the days seem to drag on for forever! I love this work and love coming home exhausted at the end of the day because it means that I really gave my all to the Lord that day. 

I know that this is the true Gospel and through living according to Heavenly Father's laws we are being prepared to return to live with Him in His kingdom! I love sharing this message with the people of the Philippines!

I love you all!
-Sister Miller

Sister Cataga and I got locked inside a compound one night while we were teaching.
We literally had to climb a fence to get out!!!
Missionaries need all kinds of skilz!

Here we are at a Zone activity this morning visiting Mt. Samat.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Prayer Answered -- Not in my time, but His!

This week I got transferred!  I really loved my last area, San Marcelino, but I am excited for the new change.  I am now assigned to Pilar, Bataan.  I am serving right next to my old area of Orion, Bataan.  It's funny because when I was assigned in Orion, I was an STL (Sister Training Leader) and would sometimes have exchanges here in Pilar.  Now when we go to the home of recent converts or members, sometimes we remember each other.  They will say, "Have you been here before?" or "Hey, I remember you!"  I like it because I already have a connection with so many people here and am semi-familiar with the area, which is a good thing because my companion is brand new! 

I'm training again!  Her name is Sister Cagata and she is from Bohol, Philippines. She is a native Cebuano speaker so she's still learning Tagalog.  I'm really happy to be training again.  There's just a different spirit around new missionaries. the excitement and enthusiasm for the work is so strong. I loved training my first "child" here on the mission but back then I had just barely finished my own training.  I feel like now I have more experience and am really thankful to be able to share all that Heavenly Father has blessed me with and all that I have learned with Sister Cagata. It's kind of like paying forward everything I've gained on the mission.

Hello, Sister Cagata!

Farewell, Sister Hess!
This transfer day made me realize that Heavenly Father knows what we need better than we do. A few weeks ago, a new sister came into the mission off of the normal transfer schedule.  When I found out she was coming, I really wanted to train her.  I don't even know why.  It's just something that would be fun and a good way to end my mission.  I started praying that I would get to train her.  While praying, I realized that if I wanted to be a good trainer, I would have to change some things,  I started being more diligent in my studies.  I started to strive to be more worthy and sensitive to the Spirit.  I started to be more exactly obedient to all the mission rules.  Now, of course, no one is perfect, but as I tried to be more aware of the things Heavenly Father wanted me to do or change, I found myself happier and better able to endure with patience the hardships or challenges that come in missionary work.  I began to feel myself progressing again and my testimony growing everyday.  It made me realize that its really the little things we do that decide the direction of our lives or our mission.

So the day finally rolled around that the new sister would be arriving.  My stomach turned to mush every time the phone rang.  I kept thinking, "Is this it? Am I going to train?" I had faith that Heavenly Father would answer my prayer, but I was still nervous.  To make a long story short (too late!), I wasn't assigned as her trainer.  At first, my heart was broken.  I started wondering why, after all of my hard work, would Heavenly Father not answer my prayer? Why, after receiving what I thought was a confirmation that this was His will for me, would things not work out?

Now from this point of the story, I could have done one of two things.  I could have sunk down into self-pity or I could look back and realize the blessings I have received from this experience and be thankful.  Much to the credit of the Holy Ghost, I chose the latter.  I realized that even thought the end result wasn't what I expected, the journey was a great one filled with spiritual growth and blessings.  So I kept working. I kept striving to be a better missionary.

When the regularly scheduled transfer day rolled around and we found out our new assignments, I couldn't help but smile. "Sister Miller - Pilar 2 - Trainer"  I remember turning to Sister Hess and saying, "God works in mysterious ways!"  I realize now that I was meant to be Sister Cagata's trainer.  I am so grateful for this and all of my experiences on the mission that have helped me grow closer to my Father in Heaven.

I know that we can trust in Him no matter what the circumstances.  I know He answers prayers.  I know He does so in His own way and in His own time.  I am so grateful for that.  Sure, it would be nice to get everything we pray for right when pray for it, but that may not truly be the what's best for us.

I know that God lives.  He is our Father in Heaven.  I know that Jesus Christ is His Son and only through Him can we be saved.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God through whom we have again on the earth the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and our guide to obtaining eternal life.  I am immensely grateful for this knowledge I have in my life and the opportunity to share it with my fellow children of God.

I love you all so much,
Sister Miller

Here is a final picture of the housemates before transfers.

Sister Hess and I bought sling shots one day and did some target shooting while walking to our appointments.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sister Miller Receives a New Assignment

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Philippines, Olongapo Mission
Km. 140 National Highway, Mangan-Vaca
2209, Subic, Zambales

12 November 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 called to serve as a trainer of new missionaries.  Several factors are considered in the selection of a trainer, and your daughter satisfies them all.  Her new companion is Sister Marissa Sajulan Cagata.

At this time, she has also been transferred to a new area.  She will now be serving in the Pilar 2 Area, Cabcaben District, Orion Zone, with her new companion.  We are sure she will find this a great area to serve in.

Sister Miller is an outstanding proselyting missionary. She follows the mission rules, and she has earned a well-deserved reputa­tion for her obedience, work ethic, and ability to get along well with members, investigators, and her fellow missionaries.  She also exemplifies Christ-like leadership among her peers.

As a trainer of a new missionary, she will work closely with her companion and be a mentor to her in all aspects of missionary work.  With her quiet dignity, she will be a shining example to her companion and to others that she will come in contact with.   Her obedience and love for the work will be passed on to her companion and much success will come because of her lasting influence.

We are proud to have your daughter in our mission and we are excited to see her growth in fulfilling her responsibilities as a trainer. 

Dennis V. Dahle
Philippines Olongapo Mission                                                          
Mission President

Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting Closer to Christ

My family & friends!

This week has been all about work, work, WORK!! We have really begun to see some progress in the area here! I love this area and am hoping not to transfer this week but whatever happens, at least I know I did my best!! 

Lately I have been focusing my personal study on the Atonement and have really come to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of it. I have been reading the various accounts of the Atonement in the Bible and every time I read it, I feel like I come closer to Christ. When I read of what He went through for us, I can feel my love for Him growing.

I know that through the Atonement we can be forgiven and that's something that we ALL need! Another part of forgiveness is not only receiving it but giving it as well. That's something I have realized lately. That no matter what someone has done, if they have repented, Heavenly Father has forgiven them and so should I. Easier said than done, right? But that's why we are here on Earth, to become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

As we go though our trials here on Earth I know that we are growing to be prepared to return to our Heavenly Father. I can only imagine our happiness when we face Heavenly Father and hear the words, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant'.

I love you all!
-Sister Miller