Thursday, March 28, 2013

The weeks keep rolling


Hello! How is life treating you? Things are still good here in California. I am getting a LOT of sun. I didn't really think about how much time we spend outside but I'm starting to rock the Missionary tan. Yep, my toes are super white and I have a watch line haha it is pretty great.

I've been working on my Spanish vowels... Elder Artal (from Venezuela) who is in the branch with Elder Hall, Sister Martinez, and me is trying to help us (Elder Hall his trainee and I) sound native. Problem is I still can't hear the difference between my A's and when he says them. Hopefully with time lol. 

So we had the chance to go down to Terra Bella this week. It is so pretty, and it is ALL orange groves. There really isn't a lot down there as far as population and it is kinda far from us so we don't have the miles to go down there a lot but it is part of our area and we do have members there so I'm hoping I'll get to go back and work more in that area in the future. Anyhow that is where the pictures this week are from. (Oh and the other picture is of the Lock your Heart thing in the Mission Office... We all got to paint a lock and then lock it up on that board. It correlates with a talk about locking your heart on your mission. Basically don't fall in love with or encourage those types of feelings with other missionaries, members, or investigators. Let me tell you from experience it is REALLY awkward and uncomfortable to have an investigator start crushing on you and/or your companion. Like you care about these people and you want to help them and be their friend but in no way do you even remotely think about them in that way. Ok off my soap box and back to the letter/email lol sorry for the side tangent). 

The Branch is getting a new Branch Presidency on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see the changes that brings with it. 

Funny story for the week! Haha Oh I love the branch and the members we have. They are so great. So we were at dinner and Elder Hall and I became guinea pigs. The family wanted to see how much hot sauce and spicy things we could eat. They were staring and laughing as we tried to eat our sandwiches with Hot Sauce. Bwhaha and then they had their kids bring us some flamming hot or hot n spicy cheetos... I wish I could describe the looks of anticipation on their faces as we ate. Priceless. But we ate it and it was good. haha I still haven't worked up the courage/will power to try the chile pepper things yet though. 
Speaking of food; I've been working through those Carnation Instant Breakfasts haha It's really nice to have things that are fast and can be on the go (although jokingly someone told me I had coffee at Ward Correlation Meeting on Sunday lol). Also thanks Dad and Kim for the box :)) I was so excited. Especially about chocolate covered pretzels. 

I had a bug fly in my eye while bike riding this week. But that is about all the exciting news that I have for this week. 

Love and miss you all!! 

Hermana Miller

Monday, March 18, 2013

Many Miracles

Hello Family!!

Another busy week in the field. Lots of stories for you as well. Haha
some of them are pretty good if I do say so myself.

First off I need to inform you all that the emailing rule has changed
and it is now policy church wide that we can email any and all family
and friends :) YAY! So I only get an extra half hour of email time,
but anyone who would like to may now email me as well :)). Yay for

So one day while we were knocking doors there was a dog in a certain
yard. Knowing me of course I felt invinsible, and after playing with
the dog (a HUGE German Shepard) through the gate I felt like the dog
was sweet and wouldn't eat me. So I decided to approach the door. I
opened the gate and jokingly said "if I die it's in God's service and
it'll be ok". Those words soon came back to haunt me and I realized
how NOT ok with that idea I really was. I got about half way up the
sidewalk and suddenly there was a paw on either side of my body. The
dog was standing up and was almost "hugging me"...Except I couldn't
tell if it was playing or if it was angry. I froze. I couldn't even
think. Sister Martinez was back at the gate and immediately started
calling the dog in a tone full of panic. He went to her and then I
didn't know how to get out. Somehow with all the adrenaline I
manuvered around the dog and out the gate. I have pretty much decided
I will not risk a dog infested yard again. No thank you.

Then a few days later (yesterday) we were contacting again and I hear
barking and see fur running towards us in a house without a gate. I
didn't even hesitate; I was knees to chest RUNNING out of there. The
dog was on a chain but it easily could have gotten to me where I had
been standing before I started booking it. But Sister Martinez and I
were dying laughing because I totally abandoned her in that situation
I didn't even wait to see if she was coming I was just gone and out in
the middle of the street again in the blink of an eye. But either way
I am happy to report we have not had any dog bites. Lol.

My other story of the week: I had a rock thrown at me. It was a small
one and it didn't really hurt, but it caught me off guard for sure. I
laughed about it and told the Tulare sisters I could now say I had
been "stoned" on my mission... (That might be sacreligious, but we
were laughing about it).

I had exchanges with the Tulare Sisters on Tuesday while Sister
Martinez was at a leadership training. I suprized myself when I had to
use Spanish because they are all only English speaking missionaries
but we came across Spanish speaking people during contacting. In case
you are wondering it is quite the challenge to speak Spanish to
someone who only understands Portuguese while you really only know
English. hahaha. But I think I did really well in that I have truly
learned to talk to EVERYONE. I didn't even realize I was doing it
until one of the other sisters mentioned it to me how I was stopping
every single person we saw. So that was pretty neat.

Oh, we are moving into a member's home this week. Sister Christenson
is so great. Her husband just passed away a few months ago and all of
her children are grown and away so it is a blessing on both sides for
this move to happen and for us to be able to give her some company.

I managed to get a couple little sunburns this week with all the
contacting we have been doing. Also we started a new project as a
mission this week called the Easter Project. Basically we are reading
every single reference in the Topical Guide that is under any title of
Jesus Christ. I have made it through the 1st thirty so far (there are
over 2,000) and I really enjoy it. I wish I had time for all of the
projects I want to undertake (Reading all the Preach My Gospel
scriptures, finsihing the Bible cover to cover... etc). But eventually
I know I will get around to all of them.

Lastly I have a miracle story to share with you. Some of you know that
Sister Martinez and I are VERY different people and that we struggle
to get along. Well that is kind of where this miracle story starts
(and yes there is more to the miracle than we are both alive still
haha). We were having a very rough day with each other and really
getting on one anothers nerves when we finally talked it out and
resolved a lot of the things that we were struggling with. Then I
picked a street to contact on. (It was an inspired decision I know it
was). I was at the map for probably five minutes but each time I kept
coming back to a certain street. So we went there and were met with
the usual indifference and cold receptions at each door we knocked on.
But just as we were about to leave and get a late dinner we saw a man
working in his yard who we decided to talk to. His name is Gabriel and
wow he is so ready for the gospel. What started out as a simple
invitation to a prayer and blessing on his home became a lesson
standing there in the yard, and ultimately as we were talking with him
right there he accepted the invitation to be baptized! He told us that
he had been "waiting for a message like this in his life". Ahhh I
cannot begin to describe how happy this experience made me. But I also
know that it only happened because Sister Martinez and I were no
longer fighting that we were working together as a team that we
witnessed this miracle. It is the moments like that that make this
mission worthwhile; when I can see people understand and appreciate
the significance of the message I am sharing, when I can see them
recieve the same kind of joy and peace and understanding that the
gospel brings into my life.

I love you all and miss you tons and tons.
2 Corinthians 12:10

Hermana Miller

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In the Lord's Vineyard

Sounds like it has been a busy and exciting week for you all! Good news is it has been here for me as well. Lots and lots of work to be done here in Porterville. We had our 1st baptism this past week. Jose Rios was def a very prepared investigator :). I'll try and send a picture if the computer will let me bc right now it doesn't look like it will. Lots of finding and blessings and prayers.  Funniest most unbelievable (or not me) thing I did this week was pray with three random men in Spanish in front of a corner liquor store... yep I really did that. haha. Scariest/saddest thing was probably this little kitty mill we saw outside this random house we were knocking on one day. More walking and biking. Some new investigators. Baby steps in progress on my language skills. I have exchanges with the English sisters in Tulare tomorrow while my companion goes to a leadership training. Lots of good work and miracles here. I am starting to get to know and recognize the members of the branch now. I think I have probably eaten at just about each of their houses now (lots and lots of tortillas which I am def ok with haha). Trying to work with some less active families as well, and seeing progress... well at least trust being developed there. Rained and was a little cold a few days but overall it is beautiful and sunshine all the time here. Getting back into the groove of jogging every morning finally. Daylights saving def threw me for a loop the other day (I was NOT excited to be woke up when I thought it was still 5:30... haha Sorry Sister Martinez). Not sure what else to write about so I'll prob go and do my other errands now but I love and miss you all!!

Hermana Miller

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Made it to the Field

This counts as my family email home this week... LOL no time to write
because I am in the middle of the orientation process right now. I
just wanted to let everyone know I landed in Fresno fine and have been
picked up :). Can you believe I am finally here?!? The bus smoked out
on the way to the airport but we made it ok haha. I've interviewed
with President Gelwix and he is amazing! His number one question that
stands out in my mind is can I trust you? I love Fresno I love this
area. Well I have to go with my temp companion and do tracting now. I
love you all, sorry this is so short. I'm grateful to hear about the
blessings in your lives and for all of your love and support. I love
and miss you all greatly!!

Hermana Miller 

Daidre note: Sorry the letters got slightly mixed up!! Wedding through me off but I'm back :)

Porterville California Week One Email (or week 7?)


Oh how I miss you all!  You have NO idea lol. But I have survived
another week well actually my first in the mission field. Well my new
preparation day is Monday (we can't call them P-day here). When they
said that we were an EXACTLY obedient mission that was no joke. One
minute late is disobedient. It is really a challenge here. REALLY a
challenge. And I wouldn't say it is so much the aspect of exact
obedience, although I am sure that contributes. But life is good and I
am trying to keep a smile on my face. My trainer is Sister Martinez.
She grew up hearing Spanish but never spoke it till the mission but
she is still considered "a native speaker". Lots of stories. The
branch I work in is tiny so small but the members are the strongest
most faithful people I have ever met and they give EVERYTHING they
have to furthering the kingdom. I hope someday I grow into the type of
missionary that they think I am and deserve. No weird foods yet (thank
goodness) just lots of delicious Mexican style dishes and eating with
my fingers. The members here are really poor ... it makes me want to
cry when I think about how most of them live, but they still feed us.
They will have us sit in their broken lawn chairs in a dark room while
they stand and wait. They have SO much faith. We don't have many
investigators and those we have haven't been keeping appointments. So
I have only been a part of teaching two lessons since arriving. We
contact/tract a lot (three hours a day). It is different but not in a
bad way. It surprises me the people that I talk to now and don't even
bat an eyelash. However when we contact it seems to be all English
speakers and so they become someone else's investigator/referral but

it is still cool to see how they are really prepared.

So my companion doesn't have a license so I get to (have to...) drive
everywhere. BUT we have a set of Elders in our branch as well that
just got added this last transfer and so we trade days on the car with
them. Yep I got three more blisters walking on their 1st day with the
car hahaha. And I am already breaking in that bike. I actually rode it
here (public library). Kinda scary to climb on a bike in a skirt and
bike to a place you don't know where you are going and not to mention
I've never biked on a main road so I don't know any of the proper
ettiquette or hand signals. Don't worry I made it in one piece. Also
I'm writing this email on Tue not Monday because we ran out of time
yesterday. Yeah it was 2 plus hours of cleaning in that little
apartment, but now it is live-able and not absolutely disgusting. On
my first day here that night the fire alarm kept beeping with low
battery but we couldn't find the source (I found an extra alarm the
dying one hid in the closet 2 days later still beeping) so we slept
with the bedroom door closed. The next morning I got up probably about
ten minutes early and tried to go use the restroom but I was stuck in
our bedroom the door wouldn't budge at all. We thought we were going
to have to call and have someone let us out but we didn't thankfully
we finally got a hanger and jimmied it open lol. Oh mission stories.
Maybe that's not as funny to you all but there seem to be a lot of
moments like that here for me haha. Oh probably the best part was when
I tried to tell an investigator she has a handsome family and she
thought I was talking about her husband... haha oh awkward lol. But
yeah I am out of time for today hopefully there is some sense or
something of import in this email I don't even know.

3 Nephi 14:9-11

Hermana Miller

PS Daidre congrats on the wedding!! Pictures please!!  

Here are some photos from the last week or so... leaving the MTC and

then in Porterville my 1st area...