Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Family and Friends!! 

Lots has changed in a week! I am now in a TRIO or Tri-panionship and it is rough. You think it is hard to get along with just one other companion but then suddenly there are two, and the three of you are trying to figure out how to teach together and share everything... it's fun. We even have a bunk bed so that we can all still be in the same room (mission rules). Luckily for me though Sister Sorensen is taking her turn on the top this time around lol. It is kind of crazy that I just finished training and here I am leading this area. I mean technically I am a junior companion but thing is that I am the one who has been here for 6 weeks already so I am the one who knows everyone and what is going on. I have really surprised myself with how much I know. I really can lead this area. I mean yeah there have been a few minor mess ups but all in all I really do know what is going on and who needs what and where everyone is at. Blessings from the Lord I tell you. It is stressful but rewarding. 

We had the chance to go do service this week and that was fun. I got another minor sunburn from being out painting a fence (well staining/sealing it really), so I am hoping I really will be able to say I am tan someday. Then we were also able to go and help a less active member who is moving by cleaning his miniblinds... I think I will just buy new ones when my future miniblinds get dirty haha jk. It was kinda gross and there were a few spiders, but I survived ;). 

In case you were wondering Tri-tip is the equivalent of Brisket apparently, and I think it was rather delicious.

An interesting thing I came across while I was studying this week was the conference talks and how they really address what is important for our time and how all of the topics interrelated. There were 9 talks about Jesus Christ. Obviously EVERYTHING centers back to our Savior and Redeemed so I think it makes sense that the most talks were about him. Then there were 7 talks on the family. I think that is a pretty good indicator of it's importance. And just think Heavenly Father sent us into families for a reason... he wants us to be happy, and he wants us to be able to learn and grow with each other. I truly love my family so much and I hope that each one of you knows that. Then there were 6 talks about missionary work. Wow. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve. It is hard and there are many times that I want to quit but three are sooo many blessings. I get to see how missionary work allows me to help strengthen other families, I can see how my service is helping me to learn and change as a person to prepare me to be a better wife and mother, and I can see how my time as a missionary is allowing the Lord to give my family so many more blessings. Our leaders are inspired, they received inspiration to share those messages with us. I encourage you to go back and listen to at least one talk again from this past conference in April and see what you get out of it that is different than when you heard it the 1st time. (In case you're curious the next highest talked about subject was a four-way tie with each being discussed in 4 talks between adversity, priesthood, repentance, and service... how perfectly all of those relate to the 1st three subjects of Jesus Christ, Family, and Missionary work). 

Lastly yesterday we got to go to YOSEMITE national park!! Oh it was AMAZING! I love nature and to see the wonderful earth that our Heavenly Father has created for us. It was so much fun to walk around and see glacier point and bridal falls. The Bethams were so kind to drive us all the way out there and show us around. Then we got lunch at this fun little place called the Happy Burger. It was a refreshing trip and reminded me a lot of pre-mission life and road trips. Go out and see the natural wonders in your neighborhood! 

I love you all!! 

Hermana Miller 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bumbadum.....TRANSFER CALLS!

Another packed week here in California as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have been getting word that there are lots of you are having sealings/weddings happening. Congratulations to each of you, I am there in spirit and wish I could be physically present to show my support; I love you all so much. I guess coming on a mission I kind of naively thought everyone else's lives would pause while I took this adventure. Of course they haven't but I am so happy that all of you are finding happiness. 

This week I was able to experience the "exotic" flavor of Cactus. Interesting. It kind of looked like green beans. They cut it up and boil it and then it had other things with it kind of like salsa with tomato and cilantro. It wasn't bad, not my favorite but good. They served it with tortilla chips. Beware you will have bad breath after the fact though... haha. But I won't lie I LOVE all the fresh fruit we get here. The strawberries and cherries are so good... They are so much more flavorful than what you get in the stores. 

We had a zone service project in Merced. We got to plant plants while the other elders and sisters tore down a fence, painted a fence, ripped up a patio, built a deck, installed lighting electric, and did plumbing repairs. It was a good time. Sister VanWagoner really LOVES yard work. haha She will randomly comment on trees as we are driving. I love it. 

Funny of the week: We were really tired on Sunday morning after transfer calls it was kind of hard to sleep. So long story short we didn't reset the alarm after we left the house, and so it went off (from the night before) and the security company called the member we live with and asked if they could send out the police. Needless to say we had to turn around half way to church and our meetings to go straighten it out. Lol good times. 

We taught the achievement day girls this week! That was a lot of fun. We taught the ten commandments with hand motions. They have a lot of energy and some good questions. We also had a few more lessons with Anthony (a 12 year old boy who is preparing for baptism). His friends were over and so we got to include them in the lesson and give them each a Book of Mormon. It can be a struggle though because then the next time we taught with them all there they were shooting rubber-bands at each other and just generally not focusing. It is in those struggles that I wonder if I am even making a difference, BUT I know that Anthony wants to learn and that I am here for a reason. 

So TRANSFER CALLS!! Where did 6 weeks go?! Seriously it feels like I just got here and now I am done training! Sister VanWagoner is leaving for Turlock. I am going to miss her so much. But Sister Sorensen is going to be one of my new companions!! One of... yeah that's right I am getting TWO new companions. I don't know the other sister yet. I am not super excited about being in a Trio... I think it is going to be really hard to get ready in the hour we have each day and just it is going to change everything about the work in this area. I should be good with change after a childhood in the military but no I am not... still working on it. I'm really glad that Sister Sorensen will be one of the companions though and I think all in all it will be a good change. Having two companions will help me to be more obedient and learn. I will be designated driver again. I am nervous though because even though I am still a junior companion I am the one who was here for six weeks already and should know everything/everyone. Being pseudo-in-charge kind of is giving me anxiety. Good thing the Lord knows what he is doing and that he won't give us anything that we can't handle. 

I love and miss you all. Thank you for writing. 

Hermana Miller 

I'm sorry if this letter is short or missing key things but this public place where we email once a week is kind of ridiculous right now and it is distracting. There are all these hooligans in here being immature.... looking up inappropriate material, swearing, and of course talking about church and "the mormons". 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Lessons

Family and Friends! 

Another good week here in California. We had a Sister's Conference which was really motivational and uplifting. Just a good reminder that we are good enough that we can do this work! Sister Gelwix's motivational affirmation quote of the event, "I may not be perfect but parts of me are EXCELLENT!". I am working really hard to be happy in the moment; to learn to look for and appreciate the things that I do well throughout the day. :) After sisters conference we had exchanges and so I went to Atwater with Sister Poston for two nights. That was a lot of fun and a good break of the routine. We got lost after dropping off some other sisters in a different area on our way home so that is why we are out in the middle of some farm/grove land who knows where haha. The road literally just stopped and we were like um well I guess this isn't how we get back to your apartment lol. 

This week was also a very strong reminder for me to not be so judgmental. While Sister VanWagoner was in a leadership training I was on exchanges/splits with Sister Wallentine (a brand new missionary) in Fresno. We were out knocking doors and this woman answered at one of them. Behind the screen I saw three facial piercings and no one who would want to hear our message. I wrote her off in my head and thought this home is a waste of time. She sounded angry and told us to wait a minute, the door partially closed and I thought someone else was going to come yell at us....  I was so so wrong. The next moment the door opened and this "woman" invited us in. She ended up being a 15 year old girl, oldest of seven children, whose mother had died a year ago. (Yeah tell me how strongly I felt chastised in that moment). We sat and taught this daughter of God about eternal families on Mother's Day weekend when a moment before she had been feeling the sting and pains of death without knowledge of the plan of happiness. You simply cannot judge people based on appearances... apparently I need to relearn this daily. I don't know who or when the people I talk to everyday have been prepared by God to receive this message, all I know is that I need to love more freely the way my Savior loves me. 

Still learning :) 

Hermana Miller

Monday, May 6, 2013

Discovering My Testimony

"All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today." - Pope Paul VI.
 Well it's only been a few days since I emailed you all last so idk if I have much in the way of exciting news for this week lol. 

The fair was here this week and it was a little sad to not be able to go, but it wasn't going to help us fulfill any part of our purpose as missionaries so we couldn't. It makes sense but driving by the fair everyday was a temptation haha. 

I love the little moments that we have opportunities to serve people. Like one evening this week we were walking and there was a little old lady pushing herself along the sidewalk in her wheel chair. We started talking to her and eventually sang her a hymn in Spanish and then offered to (and did) push her home. It is amazing to me how hymns are such a HUGE part of my mission. When we sing it always invites the Spirit in so strong. I wish I could sing better and didn't go flat (that's what I have been told it is called lol) but you know the Spirit apparently doesn't care that I am tone deaf. It is truly amazing to me. She even asked us to come back to her home and sing her more songs. 

We have a few investigators with baptismal dates right now but the only one that is really solid is a 9 year old girl. Her family are all members but have been kind of inactive. She is quiet and I imagine similar to how I was when the missionaries taught me when I was her age and preparing to be baptized. 

We were able to go out and do several hours of finding the other day. I was laughing when we contacted into a street called Quail street. After three hours in the blistering heat, with sweat dripping down and soaking into my backpack, we had had little success. Maybe we said prayers with 3 people and one of them was a preacher of a different church who turned around and then prayed for us. Then the very last house we knocked on was a family of 5 and they were amazing. So receptive. I can't wait to go back and teach them. The Lord truly has blessings without measure prepared for each of us if we will just ask him with faith believing that he will give them to us. 

I really enjoyed reading 2 Nephi 4 the Psalm of Nephi this week. If only I could be more like him. haha. 

I've also been thinking a lot about my testimony and where it stands. I think back to how I wanted nothing to do with church, about my rebellious years, about how I hated seminary and girls camp, how in college I was all but inactive. And then I think how did I end up on a mission? Why am I here? How did this happen? But I knew and know this is where the Lord wanted and wants me to be. I think a big part of me is still wondering why. But then we have these experiences and it becomes so crystal clear to me that I do have a testimony. I could not deny that. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and goes hand in hand with the Bible. Jesus Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, and Older Brother... How much I love him. I may not know everything or nearly close to everything I would like to know but those few simple truths are enough for me to keep doing what I am doing and go wherever the Lord wants me to go. 

3 Nephi 5:13 " Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life". 

Hermana Miller

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crazy Week :)

So I am going to start by apologizing I don't have my sticky note with my notes about what to write home this week. We went to the temple in Fresno this morning as a zone and it was AMAZING! But it is why I didn't write on Monday and why I am on shortened time right now. (Sorry it also means none of my awesome pictures from the week).

I hear that lots is happening at home! That is exciting. Lots of blessings and trials. I am so excited for my little brother (Kail) who gets to serve in MaceiĆ³ Brazil mission starting on September 18th!! What a wonderful work this is. You're going to love it so much. I don't even know what to tell you to prepare but really it is the best. It is super challenging but so rewarding. 

We did a Mormon Helping Hands service project last Saturday that was a lot of fun. We got to go up and down the canal and build "burms?" those little dirt piles around trees to keep the water in from the bubbler sprinkler thing. (you can tell how much yard work I did before my mission lol). It took all morning but with the help of sunscreen no sunburn :). It is getting SUPER hot here already. They say that it's an early and hot summer... already probably in the 100's. 

Friday was a Zone Conference in Modesto North. That was really good as well. Such great leadership and speakers. Very motivational. It made me stop and think about how I am following the Savior, like what have I held back... what more can I give? The answer is a lot. I haven't fully submitted my will to the Lord's yet and I know it. I don't know how long it is going to take for me to get better at that but I am working on it. 

We have a good group of investigators that we are working with and a few baptismal dates. I am starting to really love the members in the area as well. They are so sweet and giving. They are such good examples to me. 

On a kind of surprising note I am starting to be more and more ok with Salads... Yeah that green leafy stuff may be appealing in some form by the end of this 18 months haha. 

I am sure there were lots of other really awesome experinces this week that I had intended to tell you but I am lost without that sticky note where I keep it all together. 

Know that I love and miss you all! Things are going great here for me in California. I am still learning a lot and hopefully improving my character. I know that the Lord knows each and everyone of us that he loves us and is looking out for us. Smile! 

Hermana Miller