Monday, January 19, 2015

The Final Countdown.....

A famous poet once said, "if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, would you take it or let it slip." :)

So maybe Eminem isn't the best character to quote in my last letter as a missionary but I really love that line. I think is applicable to all of us in our various stages of life and has been on my mind lately as my time as a full-time missionary here winds down. 

It has definitely been a time of reflection for me. As I prepare to go home, I can't help but think about all of the experiences I've had here. I remember the spirit I have felt when teaching people about God's love for them. I remember the excitment when an investigator finally came to church. I remember the joy as I helped others come unto Christ through the waters of baptism. And I remember being really, REALLY tired! In Doctrine and Covenants 123:12-13 we read why missionaries are sooo dang tired! 

"12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties,and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

 13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—"

I love this scripture because that is exactly what I have been doing for the last 18 months, striving to bring light into dark places in order to lead others to Christ. I love this work. I have seen miracles as I have given my all to the Lord. I am going to continue to give it my all until the last day! I am so grateful that I have spent the last year and a half wearing out my life in bringing others to this Gospel.

I know that this is Christ's true church here on the Earth. I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore the fullness of the Gospel. I know that we are led and directed by a living prophet with authority from God. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love it and read it everyday.

I am indebted eternally to Christ for all He has done for me. I am grateful to pay a tiny piece back to Him through my service as a full time missionary. Now I will continue to be a life time missionary!

I love you all and will see you SOON!!
-Sister Miller

I had a little something made for Sister Hart to remember me by!

She obviously loves it!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Service Fun!

This week we were able to have a zone service project in a barangay (neighborhood) in my area. We were able to see how the Lord used us to serve His children here in the Philippines! 

The opportunity came when we were teaching a lesson and a man walked up and sat down to listen to us. Now that doesn't normally just happen, so we were excited at the opportunity to have a new investigator that showed true interest in our message and wasn't just listening to us to be nice. When we finished the lesson we set up a return appointment and the man told us that he was the barangay captain. It's basically the mayor of the area. We had been looking for service projects to do as a zone of missionaries so we asked him if there were any needs that we could help meet in his barangay. It just so happened that they were having a service project as a barangay council that very Saturday. The whole zone came, a total of 22 missionaries, and helped clean up the streets by pulling weeds and other general landscaping. Through a hard days work we were able to build relationships with all that were involved. We all had a good time and were able to schedule appointments to go and teach the barangay officials and their families. 

It felt good to be able to give of ourselves in order to help meet the needs of others. We could feel our love and the Saviors love for the people amongst whom we served. I have a strong testimony that service softens hearts and opens doors for missionary work. Not only were we able to find new people to teach, but the barangay captain was so touched that he came to church the next day to see what we taught and why the missionaries were so ready and willing to give service to complete strangers. In Mosiah 2:17 we read, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." As we serve others we are truly serving our Father in Heaven. We are repaying just a slight part of all He has done for us.

Not only were others helped through our service, but we benefited as well. During a General Conference, Derek A. Cuthbert said, "Service changes people. It refines, purifies, gives a finer perspective, and brings out the best in each one of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward. It prompts us to consider others’ needs ahead of our own. Righteous service is the expression of true charity, such as the Savior showed." I love giving service because as Brother Cuthbert said, all who involved are blessed!

That is something that I love about being a missionary. We are literally called to serve. We serve in the sense of sharing the Gospel. We serve others through small deeds everyday. And we serve our Heavenly Father by helping His children here on Earth. I love the feeling of love that comes from serving others. I am firm in my dedication to serve, even when I take my missionary name tag off. I know that is what God wants for me. 

I know that service is how we show our love for the Lord. I am so thankful for this church and all the service that is done here. I know that this is Christ's church here on Earth as restored through Joseph Smith. I know that we are led by a living prophet, Thomas S Monson. I love being a missionary and focusing all my time and efforts to help progress the Kingdom of God here in the Philippines!

I love you all so much!
-Sister Miller

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tender Mercies!

This week I did something that I had never done, nor will I ever do again in the future! Here in the Philippines, anything but rice is a side dish so no matter where you are, it's pretty safe to say there is a rice field somewhere nearby. We have a family of investigators who live right smackdab in the middle of a HUGE rice field. Yesterday we decided to go to their house before church started so that we could all go together. Now I myself like to dress up a little for church, and this particular day was no different. Before leaving the house I thought, 'gee, maybe I should change.' I decided not too. So there I was, hiking into a rice field in my high-waisted pencil skirt and heels!! Call me crazy, because I sure felt like a loon! Now when you're walking in a rice field, there's no nice paved path. Its a tiny-maybe 8 inches wide-path that falls down 3 feet into muddy waters and rice stocks on either side. Needless to say I took my time, step by step! When we finally got to the home of our investigators, no one answered the door! We eventually spotted the mom around back washing clothes. The dad had gone off to work, the kids were asleep, and the mom had to finish the laundry. They had no intention of coming to church. 

So there I was, in the middle of a rice field, dressed to impress, about to go to church empty handed... let down to say the least! We decided to stop by a less-active family's home to see if they were coming to church that morning. They said they would meet us there. That usually means no. With our heads hung low we made our way to church, already knowing that our chances of having any investigators at church were slim to none.  When we got to the building 30 minutes before the meeting started, there were maybe 10 people there -- no investigators, no less-actives. We went through that whole ordeal for nothing, I thought, but that's when something amazing happened!

I've always been told that it's only after you have done all that you can do that the Lord steps in and does the rest. If walking into a rice field, on an unsteady path, during a hot Philippine morning wearing heels wasn't all I could have done, I don't know what is! On Sunday, we had 11 less-actives at church and 3 investigators. To say that it was an unexpected tender mercy would be an understatement! As our less-actives and investigators walked in, I felt nothing but happiness and gratitude to my Father in Heaven. 

David A Bednar said, "The tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them." I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who is constantly watching over us and is ready and willing to do His part as we put our faith in him and do ours.

“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Ne. 1:20).

I love you all,
-Sister Miller

On New Year's Eve, we hung out, ate LOTS of food, and videokied with these fun folks!

Happy New Year!

Going after the one lost sheep!

The kids of a recently reactivated family -- so fun!!!