Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sometimes Bird's Poop on You... Literally


Well it has been another crazy week here for me in Los Banos.

 We discovered yet again how NOT from the country I am. We were driving out in Dos Palos (all farm land) and we missed the turn. There were cars in both directions on this little two way street but my companions both thought I was absurd for not just flipping the U-turn right there. Then a little while later I tried to pull off and park on the narrow shoulder but my tail was still in the street. I thought I should find somewhere else a little wider to park but they thought it was perfectly normal to have it hanging out there in the middle of the road. Sister Sorensen looks at me and says, "You've never been in the country have you?" haha. Oh my... I have so much to learn. 

Tracting this week has been a whole other adventure. Who would have thought I would meet people who thought Mormons are the KKK or who were dating a "Mormon Gone Wild"? Not me, but we did. BUT they weren't all bad haha. We also met Monteserrat who is amazing. She has the BEST questions any investigator has ever asked. She is a single mother of one and her son Joshua is a cutie pie. She says we are wasting our time, but she is learning so much and so happy to talk with us. She loves the Plan of Salvation and that all religion doesn't have to be guilt and hell. How sad it must be to live your life thinking that you can't be forgiven and will go to hell no matter what you do! I'm so grateful for my understanding of the gospel and for the Atonement. How sad life would be without a Savior who loves us. 

We were able to go and do another Zone Project this week . Sister Sorensen and I weaved grapevines through a lattice type structure, while Sister Clawson was painting the pool fence with the other sisters. It was a lot of work but very fun. 

MIRACLE! So remember Angelina? We have been trying without avail to keep contact with her family. It is a hard situation and there is lots of family problems and stress. BUT this week we went to go visit her cousins who were baptized last month and they were going to the Grandmother's home for a sleepover before the activity days girls brunch the next day. Their mom tells us that Angelina is at the Grandma's and that we can go over there and teach them all together! Needless to say we ran to the car and hurried over there. It was beautiful. Angelina's WHOLE family was there, plus the Grandmother, and her cousins Audrina and Elayna. We taught about Prophets and it was just so good. I wish I could do it justice in recounting it to you but just know it was a major answer to my prayers. 

And yes, I was pooped on by a bird. That was absolutely disgusting. BUT I was a trooper. I used a napkin picked it out of my poor hair and kept going all day. The things that missionaries do... if only the people they served knew. 

Lastly we had 10 hours of church yesterday with the special broadcast. It was excellent. If any of you weren't able to watch it I recommend looking it up online. One of my favorite things that was said is that the missionaries are only here to ASSIST the members. It is so true. We're here and ready to help in any way we can but we really cannot do this by ourselves. 

I hope you are all having a good week and that all is well. You're in my prayers. Love and miss you! 

1 John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

Hermana Miller

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Essentialism with Greg McKeown

Family and friends!! 

Well an interesting and uneventful week here in Los Banos. 

Illness has been floating through our companionship and I was ordered to sleep again (one afternoon for at least an hour), which in the end helped a lot and I am finally feeling back to speed. It is just frustrating to not be able to do the things we are supposed to be. Then yesterday Sister Clawson was VERY ill and so we were in ALL day. Yep all day long in the house, no church, no teaching, no visits. Sister Sorensen and I watched EVERY church produced video we had. We also made delicious vanilla cinnamon pancakes. If you need a video to watch may I suggest The Testaments, Legacy, or the John Tanner story. Also this months Ensign was a good read. 

Visiting with a new investigator this week was a tender mercy for me. She was a referral from a member and when we 1st met her and offered a blessing on her home she was in tears and crying, she felt strongly she needed a blessing. Then we offered to come back and water for her (she has a hard time getting around), which we were able to do a few days later. Then a few more days pass and we called her up and asked if we could come over right then, and she said "oh yes, please I need help bringing in my groceries". We helped her bring in her groceries and taught her the Plan of Salvation. She said that she feels we have been sent to her. That we call her every time she needs help and that all the things we taught her were helping her to fill in all the missing pieces of her puzzle that she never has been able to figure out.  That is the blessing of the gospel!! 

I've been making progress in my Bible reading. I am so glad I decided to read it cover to cover and NOT skip anything. So many people told me to just skip Numbers. That Book has so many GREAT stories!! For Example: Moses and the House of Israel messing up and now will wander for 40 years (how that happened/ a year for every day out so far), Moses hitting the rock and waters flowing out (did you know he was in trouble because he hit it? The Lord had commanded him to talk to the rock), the Donkey's mouth being opened by the Lord, and more (KAIL: Read Numbers Chapter 11 especially verse 20). 

Lastly I would just like to leave with some thoughts and notes I had while in an Essentialism Training with Greg McKeown:
1. Don't try and be ALL things to ALL people. 
2. We need to PRUNE our lives. That means cutting perfectly good healthy branches, so that a few can grow stronger. (Think Good, Better, Best Principle) 

Hermana Miller 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Hola Familia y Amigos! 

How is life what is new? 

Many things happening here in the California Fresno Mission and in Los Banos.

It has been VERY hot here I think Hundred-and-teens this week sometimes. On top of that I have been ill this past week. I could just feel the heat radiating off my body. I tried to fight it off and ignore it starting as early in the week as Tuesday but by Sunday afternoon after church I was just miserable and couldn't pretend anymore. I was beat and as my companions threatened to call the medical personnel in the mission, I reluctantly agreed to go home and rest. I passed out for three hours, and was so gone that I woke up to a drool covered pillow. Gross. But after that I managed to sleep off most of the fever and have been feeling much better. 

We had Zone Conference this week too. That was so wonderful. Three take aways:
 1. What does the Lord see in me [you] that I [you] don't see in myself [yourself]?
 2. I have NO problems, only IMPROVEMENT opportunities!
 3. I didn't come all this way to be an almost ___________. (for me this blank is missionary but for you it may be student, wife, son, friend etc.)

At Zone Conference we sang a fourth verse of “Because I Have Been Given Much”  that I really loved. The words are:

Because of thy life’s mission Lord, I too must serve
I’ll leave the comfort of my home to teach thy word
I’ll seek thy sheep, who’ve gone astray, and those who’ve never known the way.
I will make thy work my work, today.

We have been able to have FHE (family home evening) with the Lagunas family at the Betham's home the last two weeks and it is wonderful. The Spirit is so strong. Last week we watched "Finding Faith in Christ". If you haven't seen that you should. I never had seen it till last week but it is inspiring. It strengthened my faith. It just depicts some of Christ's miracles from his earthly ministry. Really it is fabulous. 

Since my new companions got here our teaching pool has changed drastically. We have been trying a lot of former investigators from our area book trying to clean up all the records; most to no avail. But one really cool experience was a wife (possibly ex-wife?) of a former this week (who from the records we have was NOT interested at all before), said that she was running out the door to pick up her son but that she WANTED to talk with us! So we have an appointment to meet with her today. 

Sister Vogel the member we live with is home for the week! (She is gone the other 5 weeks of the transfer visiting family in Oregon). She is so sweet and I am grateful for her and the time I get to know her better. I truly do love this area, not for the weather or any other reason than I LOVE the members here and I LOVE the people we serve. 

MIRACLE OF THE WEEK!!! I don't even know if I can do this story justice. Sunday at church was a special miracle for me. John the recent convert we helped prepare for Baptism in April passed the Sacrament for the 1st time! My vision blurred with tears of pure joy to see him use the priesthood to help pass the sacrament. I can't begin to describe how it felt for me to see him unsure and timid step forward and help bless others lives in that way. I KNOW that the gospel changes lives. It has changed John's life, it is changing my life. It was such a risk for quiet shy little John to pass the sacrament when he didn't know exactly what he was doing, but it was such a blessing for me. That one moment makes all of the heartache and pain worth it. There is nothing greater than the happiness that the Savior can bring into our lives. I am blessed indeed. 

Micah 7:8 "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me"

Hermana Miller 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The week of the Chevy Impala

“If you want to increase your faith increase your personal righteousness.” - Elder M. Russell Ballard

How are you doing? How has your week been? Things are still busy here in Los Banos. ONE YEAR LEFT! Only one year and I'll be home. Where is the time going?

If I thought the Spanish culture had people feed us a lot, I hadn't had dinner with a Tongan family yet... I think I had enough food I could have served a family of 5 off of my plate, but they expected us to each eat that much... and so we did. It was insane! It was delicious rice and chicken but oh my it was so much food. Then while we were contacting this week there was a man who wanted to Bible bash in Spanish...my favorite part of the experience though was that he didn't even believe in the Bible...of course. 

We have been trying to clear the ward lists because there are a decent amount of names, but I can't match any faces to them. So we have found many people have moved, but the saddest part was knocking on the doors and finding that these members have been deceased for a few years! Are you kidding me?! It made me realize that we need to be so much better as members to know our neighbors, to know the people in our ward, and then to love them. How did these people all slip through the cracks? If I ever needed to strengthen my testimony of the importance of visiting teaching or serving the one, this definitely has done it. I encourage you to pick a name off your ward list and go meet them, serve them! From this same project, we also were able to meet an older lady in the ward who is fairly ill and alone. As we sat and talked with her I felt as if I was transported back the times she was talking about. I loved the rich history that she has and all the beautiful memories she shared. It also made me really wish I had lived in the 40's. 

While contacting we met a mechanic who has redone a chevy impala... it solidified how much I like that car (if any of you know Dean on Supernatural that's who I thank for the introduction to the impala lol). I found myself wondering if you could make any type of car more fuel efficient as we continued working down the street. I am definitely not a car/mechanically inclined person though and so I have no idea, but I was trying to logic my way through the thought. Maybe I can blame the 103 degree heat for part of my lack of brain power?

A concept I learned this week, or rediscovered that has really stuck with me is that our feelings/emotions are a result of things that happen but that we usually don't realize or address. For example, when I am feeling frustrated it is probably because my expectations aren't being met, whether they are my expectations of myself, others, or a situation. I think understanding that has helped. To be able to see the root cause of the emotion I can gauge it and see if the expectations I have set are even realistic or not. It has helped me put everything back into perspective. 

Elayna and Audrina were BAPTIZED!! It was such a sweet service. To see the two sister (eight and nine) enter into the waters of baptism and make that covenant was truly a blessing. I really did feel the spirit there and felt very privileged to have been a part of their journey. I just love them. They were so cute like little marshmallows in the white jumpsuits. I wish Angelina would have been there as well, but we are hoping to keep working with her family and shooting for a new date in 2 weeks.

I hope all is well. I love and miss you all. 

Joel 3:14 "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision". 

Hermana Miller