Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Belated THANKSGIVING!! (December 2, 2013)

It has been a good week here in Modesto. I hope all of your holiday was just as great! We were able to go over to yogurt mill for some frozen yogurt this week (delicious salted carmel pretzel!). Then there were two really fantastic church tours. One was with an investigator of the English Elders, but her fellowship (who is in the stake presidency) wanted us to do her church tour. So we did it in Spanish... well I think it was Spanish but she is from Brazil and speaks Portuguese... so maybe I am learning more than I think haha. Then the other one was with a less active and his girlfriend. It was so SUPER!! The spirit was so strong and definitely the guide. I just love seeing people feel the Spirit for the first time in who knows how long. No matter where we are or where we have been we can always come closer to our Heavenly Father and his arms are wide open to welcome us back.
THANKSGIVING!!! I thought I was going to be so homesick and really just sad for the holiday, but really it was one of the best Thanksgivings yet. In the morning after our run we went and met the Zone at the stake center for a championship basketball tournament. I hadn't played sports my whole mission and that was a competitive few hours haha, but it was so fun! (Plus while I was there I ran into a girl from the 2nd ward named Emily who is related to the Hebers ... Bishop Heber who lived across the street from us in Alaska! Small world!). Then we had a wonderful dinner spread with the Grimes. I love them so much, and being a part of their family makes it easier not to be with mine. A second thanksgiving dinner Spanish style was some pozole... there wasn't much room for it after all I had devoured already haha. Lastly after visiting with some different investigators and members we were able to go over to the hospital and visit with a youth in the branch who had appendix removed the night before. It was so rewarding to just be offering thanks by helping others and hearing all of the things that they are grateful for.
Exchanges with Hermana Martinez (yep, my 1st companion). Let's just say that it was a rough night for me, but we both made it out alive. Driving in circles, looking scary, and not having apartment keys were all on our agenda for the night apparently. But that is alright it was a learning experience and I think honestly we got along much better than we ever did as companions... Baby steps right? Plus it made me way more appreciative of where I am at right now ;).
Well I hope that it is a fantastic week! I love and miss you all!!
Romans 5:3-4 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:"
Hermana Miller

To the Mountains!! (December 16, 2013)

Hello Family and Friends!!
LOTS of news this week! The Christmas Season sure is busy as a missionary!
I finished reading the Bible this morning!! That took FOREVER, but I learned so much reading the Bible from cover to cover. A year later but wow such good stories and examples. God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All I have left to finish up now is the Bible Dictionary but I am only in like the F section so that may be a little bit. BUT I am pretty excited because now that I have finished that project I can start reading Jesus the Christ. I wish I had three hours of personal study each day.
TRANSFER CALLS!!! I am headed into the mountains to serve in Yosemite with Sister Vernon! Sister VanWagoner my beloved trainer is coming here to Modesto 12th East to be with Hna. Parra. Lots of emotions. I really love these people here sooo soo much even though I felt like a lot of the time I couldn't really help them or even understand them. I cried as I bore my testimony yesterday in sacrament. They have so much potential here and they are doing so great. Lots of changes for them in the branch. The Branch's second counselor was released and called as the YM President and just a lot of other leadership changes as well. (I would get transferred to the coldest part of the mission in the dead of winter haha... just saying lol... but I am really really excited too!). Looks like I will be having a white Christmas after all :).
Hna Mertlich (coordinating sister when I first got here) was here traveling training for a few days early in the week! She served half her mission in Modesto so she felt like she was at home. We were able to visit a lot of people that she had taught here. It was so heart warming to see the tears of joy fall as the Meza kids sang "I am a Child of God". She helped that family get baptized... no words can describe it. I just wish you could have all been there.
Making sugar cookies this week with the Fernandez family was so fun!
Christmas Zone Conference was great! We reviewed the historic nativity and then played Christmas Bingo.
Zone Leaders came and visited with us. They are so inspired. They invited us to start the 12 week program again and focus on the fundamentals as a companionship. As a result of that we studied the Doctrine of Christ again. That was the most powerful Spirit led study I have had in such a long time. I came to realize that Heavenly Father has LET me be here. (It reminded me of a talk by President Eyring about when he was allowed to stay in BYU-I presidency when he wanted to leave and take another career opportunity). I don't know how to explain it to you. It wasn't like I heard a voice or anything but I was 100% aware of the fact that this is a blessing in my life. I have learned things here that I could never have got any other way or place. This is where the Lord wants me right now, but more importantly this is where I need to be right now for my own sake.
The Branch Christmas party was also a blast! They had two pinatas and a Santa... what more could you ask for? The kids were loving it all with their adorable little reindeer antlers.
We met a really awesome man tracting this week from Baghdad Iraq. He is Assryian and Christian. The epitome of good people. Sweetest old man of my life. I'm so grateful for those moments to meet these people as they share their history.
Daniela and Jonathan are the most prepared people I've met my whole mission. I am so sad I am missing their baptism on Saturday. But they are going to do great and it will be wonderful. I am just glad that I was able to meet them and teach them. <3
I love you all so much!!!
Hermana Miller

"Act in All Diligence" (January 16, 2014)

ONE YEAR!!!!!!! Stop. Go back and click that link. WATCH IT! It is so perfect for how I feel right now as a missionary.

Wow. What a wonderful year it has been. It seems crazy from the outset. Who would leave it all and choose a "Spartan life of rejection"? And you know it really does sound like insanity to serve a mission when you look at it "logically"... Right up until you add in the fact that it is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth again and this is His kingdom we labor in. A year ago (to the day) I climbed on a plane and flew to Provo, UT to learn how to be a missionary in the Missionary Training Center. I said goodbye to my family and friends. I had my last taste of Coco Bean Cafe and their delicious Irish Caramel Frappe's made from chocolate beans. The MTC instructors and then my future companions taught me Spanish (well, they tried to haha). There have been tears of pain and of sweet joy along the way. I would have never guessed on that day as I embarked on this journey that I would have experienced all that I have experienced or met all the wonderful friends I have met. But now I wouldn't trade it for the world. There is nothing in my life that has taught me more than this past year. There is no amount of education or work experience that could ever compare. I was so blessed to be able to go to the temple this morning and to feel the wonderful Spirit of the Lord in this landmark moment in my life. There truly is no greater blessing than that of the Spirit's companionship. Two things particularly have been impressed upon my mind this morning that I have learned in this past year:  Firstly Obedience, and Secondly Sacrifice. 

An experience that proves this really hit me outta the blue this week. We were trying to make copies at the chapel but the Elders were already in the building. My companion asked me what we should do. No one would really know since no one was there and the Elders were probably on the other side of the building using the computers. But the rule says Elders and Sisters cannot both be in the building at the same time with out other people there. The first thing that popped out of my mouth was "There is NO substitute for exact obedience". I was befuddled. Never in a million years would I have expected that to come tumbling out of my mouth, and especially as an initial response. But it did! I'm still trying to sort through where that change within me occurred, but I am sure that it was somewhere in the process of fake-it-till-ya-make-it... As I have lived striving to become exactly obedient, I have come to appreciate the blessings that only EXACT obedience can bring. 

So news for the past week and a half. I got a haircut! Probably about time, seeing as the last one was in February haha. No worries it was just a trim, nothing too crazy. (She used some Moroccan Oil product which smelled divine... That maybe a product I look into purchasing in the future haha). While leading an exchange here in Yosemite I managed to get Hna. Jorgenson and myself completely lost (with GPS even). Somehow we ended up in the Sierra National Forest... oh dear haha. There were definitely NOT houses there where GPS thought they should be, just these massive redwoods. With some helpful phone calls we managed to get ourselves straightened out and back in the right direction. Sister Vernon and I gave a training on Revelation through the Book of Mormon at our last District Meeting. And I ordered a salad of my own freewill! That is a miracle. I even kind of liked it! Proof that I must be changing haha. We also had Falon come on an all day team up with us. She has her mission call to go to Georgia in February. She was so great. Her companions are going to be so lucky to have her. We just wanted to keep her here with us lol.

 I think that I am really starting to see and think big picture. I can view results that go beyond the end of a transfer or even my mission, even if maybe I can't directly see those harvests in my time of labor. An example of that came as we were filling out stake correlation paperwork. I felt impressed that there should be a multi-stake level training on the four purposes of the church for the Ward Council members. It would be so amazing and have such long reaching effects for these wards and branches. At the beginning of my mission there is no way that I would have felt confident enough to make such a huge suggestion as that, but now that was the only logical thing to do and it felt natural. Idk if that suggestion will be taken and implemented, but I just feel blessed to see the difference in myself and the types of suggestions I can offer now. 

Another miracle this week came in the form of calmness. An investigator was very angry and attacking this week about two unimportant things. Seriously though, we got chewed out for "cartoons" ... or that our presentation on the Plan of Salvation the week before had offended her due to the visuals we used. She felt that she was much above that, that we had "dumbed" it down, and that she was superior intellectually because of the various religions she has studied in the past. And you know I just sat there and took it all in. I didn't break down in tears, I didn't burst out shouting, or storm out; I just listened. I then apologized and explained our point of view. As my companion and I were discussing the incident after the fact I was surprised by the level of calm that I had and still felt about it all. I wasn't broken up about it, crushed, devastated, angry, or depressed. I could clearly sift through the situation and see with perspective that I feel was not my own. I think about how I would have responded to a similar situation before my mission and I don't believe how much I have changed. The atonement is so real... and it helps us to change. 

I love you all!!!!! Make it a great week! 

Hermana Miller 

El Fin (June 2, 2014)

Mark & I... I love this little guy!

This may be the hardest of all the emails to write... Not because I am sad, but more because there is no possible way to summarize everything that my mission has been. So perhaps I won't even try. It has been a good ride, but I am ready for this portion to come to an end and for life to continue on. Really I don't even have any really good stories from this week that I am not going to send pictures of anyhow so maybe I will just keep it short and sweet. I am grateful for the time I have had as a full time missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. I love the gospel. I am so blessed to know that Heavenly Father loves me and each and every one of us, that He has a plan and that families can be together forever. Jesus Christ is my older brother, Savior, Redeemer, and best friend. And with that knowledge life doesn't have anything that we can't make it through. I love you all and I can't wait to see you!!

The Stunning Grape Vineyards of Kerman

When you are thoughtless and taking pictures of the vineyards,
sometimes you stupidly kneel down in a red ant hole.... 
Sometimes we just leave little chalk notes for people... I pretty much love it! 

I would say it is time to retire these puppies.... 

The Worth of a Sole... Soul?

Hermana Miller 

News of Things I Missed in Coalinga (June 2, 2014)

Miguel's Baptism
Bro. Winslow, Miguel, Sis Johnson, Sis Wallentine

Horned Toad Derby 

Bittersweet (May 26, 2014)

The bike is sold and gone! Wahoo! No more of that!!!

I had my last Zone Conference this past week. That was a different experience. All the times I have heard President introduce the departing missionaries before they bear a departing testimony, and I had always been like "man that day will never come".... and then suddenly this past week I was the one sitting behind him holding back the tears. There are such strong emotions that words really can't describe it. There is a deep gratitude for this opportunity that I have had... also joy and jubilation to return home and yet also anxiety and terror haha. In one word I would have to say it truly is bittersweet. 

Funny of the week: some elder swiping my heart! So we have the lock your heart board, you may remember this from the very start of the mission... And when you arrive here you paint a lock and with it you (symbolically) lock (your heart with) it to this board, until the time when you return home and unlock it. Well we had to go through and identify/claim our locks this week and I got up to the board and my lock has been tagged with some elder's name! I was like what the... oh no. hahaha. I was able to straighten it out though and redirected his label to the correct lock and reclaimed my own haha. 

I finished reading the Book of Mormon again this week!! I had gone through and read it looking for and marking all the references to joy, happiness, and rejoicing. It was an excellent project that helped me to identify what things the scripture heroes took joy in. Really so much of their happiness always came back to Jesus Christ. As I reflect on that truth I can see that in my own life. I may have fun or think something is entertaining, but anything that brings true soul deep joy or lasting happiness originates in and radiates out from the Savior. 

Mark and his three cousins were all baptized this week! It was so wonderful. I love ordinances, I love covenants, and I love the Spirit all of which were in abundance on Sunday! 

I love you! 

Moroni 9:6 "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, leus labor diligentlyfor if we should cease to laborwe should be brought under condemnation; for we have labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."

Hermana Miller 

Pictures in Kerman (May 20, 2014)

Companionship of Kerman History ;)

Sister VanWie and I

Beloved Milk
The One and ONLY
... I pretty much love laying on the floor.... 
Sometimes my companions even call me Hermana Muerte

Temple Trip

Sister Nehring with the Kerman Missionaries

Letters, Missions, Prayers, and a WHOLE LOT of Emotions (May 20, 2014)

Hello Family and Friends! 

“If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill. The Lord is anxious to lead us to the safety of higher ground.” - President Henry B. Eyring

Ah it has been another packed week here. There is never enough time to write in detail about all the miracles we see or the things that happen. I think I finally understand why a hundredth part of the dealings and preachings of the Nephites are not recorded in the Book of Mormon.

We were able to find Rootbeer milk this week! Huzzah!!! Such happiness. I really hope I can find this beverage of heaven after the mission as well.  

Last preparation day we tried to go window shopping in Kerman. Well that turned out to not work so well. One Kerman doesn't really have too many choices to begin with and two the ones we were interested in were all closed. However we had already committed to this plan and so decided to try the sketchy looking Hispanic Clothing Store on the Corner. We walked in and as soon as we crossed the threshold the lady in there said (in Spanish of course), "YOU ARE MISSIONARIES FROM THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS!!!". Confused my companion and I look at each other and make our way over to the counter. Turns out she is an inactive member from Madera who really needed us at that moment. She had literally just got the news that she and her family were losing their house. She felt abandoned by God and like nothing would work out. Then we walked in. She said that it was a sign that God has not forgotten her, and that things will be fine. Needless to say we didn't get a chance to see anything being sold in that store, but Heavenly Father knew what He was doing by sending us there and I was grateful to be a vessel in His hands. 

You know you are a missionary when you get "dropped" by someone's 6 year-old daughter for being "annoying". I would say that we achieved our goal of consistent follow-up there. 

"The silence was deafening".
Mark is still doing so well! We have seen many more miracles with him and his family this week!! We have been trying to get him to open up and be less shy and so we had left him homework to draw a picture before we came back. He drew a picture of Heavenly Father and said that he wants to see him someday. Which tied perfectly into our lesson that day about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ah BEST EVER! Then the next time he drew a picture of what he had learned in that next lesson. His drawing was of his Grandpa baptizing him and how that will lead to taking the sacrament and connects to the Book of Mormon!! Working with children is seriously my favorite. Another real miracle though was with the help of the Bishop and the ward helping the extended family to bridge their differences so all of the 4 cousins can be baptized together on this Sunday!! I am SO excited for them and so thrilled that they will all be able to share in this special moment together! Working with others like your ward leaders is so crucial. We could NOT have seen this miracle without their help! 

Embarrassing moment of the week... Talking about our mother's day phone calls at dinner one night with the Nunez Family and I said, "Voy a tener un bebe" Translated... "I am going to have a baby". I was trying to say "Va a tener un bebe" translated "My sister is going to have a baby". Spanish... I don't even know what else to say right now. haha 

I got my farewell envelope this week! That packet had a LOT of different emotions connected to it that I was not expecting. It reminded me of receiving my call packet. However it is definitively different. Even the envelope was a yellow instead of white... I think I am probably a little yellowed by now too and worn around the edges haha. But in all reality it is bittersweet. I have learned so much from my time and experiences here. As Sister VanWie put it while I held that unopened envelope, well aware of what it contained, staring at the packaging but internally reflecting and processing "The silence was deafening".
All the farewell invites I sent out

Speaking of mail! I don't know if I am going to have a chance to write anymore letters back before I get home. So I am sorry if you wrote me recently and don't get a letter out before I have a chance to call you up and talk on the phone. I have ran out of stamps (see the picture with all the farewell invitations) and well today we have to end our preparation day a few hours early to teach a few essential lessons. 

Miracle moment... long story short we were in the right place at the right time and I got to see Jordan from Dos Palos! I just love her and her family so much. It was just what I needed at that moment, and helped me to feel of God's awareness of me as an individual. PLUS, she told me that Howie (a recent convert that I taught) finished his first semester at BYU-Idaho and is at home preparing to go on a mission!!! He hit's his year mark in August! I don't think I have ever heard such good news in my whole life. 

Another wonderful moment this week came while we were teaching Candido and Esperanza. He never would pray and we had been going over there and trying everything we could to teach and help them. Well this time we didn't give up on getting him to pray. It probably took us at least 40 minutes and I had to have him repeat after me, but Candido said a prayer!!! After we said amen he just looked up and was beaming! He said that he felt so good. Ah, that was probably the best 1st prayer I have ever experienced as a missionary. Those are the moments that build faith and help remind me that what I am doing really matters. 

I also gave a talk in the English Sacrament this week. It was still intimidating even in my native language haha. But I was able to testify of the love that Heavenly Father has for us. I talked about remembering who we are and tied it into the Plan of Salvation. It went really well and I know that it was guided by the Spirit. 

I love you all so much, and hope that all is well. 

Mosiah 5:7-9

Hermana Miller 

Who Doesn't Love Cookies and the temple?! (May 12, 2014)

Ah! It was so so good to get to see and talk to everyone for mother's day! I love and miss you all so much! 

It has been another week already! News of the week was Mark setting a baptismal date! Woot! So the last Sunday (25th) of this month that should happen. It was really special the last time we taught him about the plan of salvation and then we sang "I am a Child of God" and the Spirit just came in and dumped on us. I love those moments. 

I got to go on an exchange to Barrio 15 in Fresno again this week with Sister Briggs. That was pretty good too. We did this service project cleaning out the volleyball court behind the chapel there, and well I got a little sun haha. We also taught this little boy named Memo and were able to set a date with him as well. The adventure at his house was trying to not offend his mother while not accepting the black sweet iced tea she was trying to give us. #missionaryproblems. My favorite part of the exchange though was definitely while we waited to switch back with our companions. We had beat them to the meeting place at the Fresno West Stake Center right next to the temple and so we decided to walk around the grounds while we waited. Turned out to be an even better decision when we scored some delicious chocolate chip cookies from the deacon welcome meeting or something that was going on at the stake center that night. As we walked something to the dumpster we talked with this man who was carrying out garbage. We jokingly asked if they had cookies in there and thought nothing more of it as we parted ways and headed for the temple. Well a few moments later he called out to us from across the parking lot "Hey! I got you Cookies!". It was a sweet moment where I could feel Heavenly Father's love for me through someone else's kindness. 

A funny moment of the week was when Sister VanWie fell asleep during our companionship prayer. We were opening our companionship study and she was the one saying the prayer and mid-sentence she just stopped. I was like hmm maybe she is waiting to feel the spirit or pondering what to say? Well then she asks me a few minutes later if she had said the prayer. I informed her that she had started haha. We got a good chuckle out of that. We are really tired! Missionary work sure can take it out of you lol. 

I gave a talk in Spanish Sacrament Meeting yesterday! I got up in front of the group and I felt like my brain dumped all of its contents. I was really grateful I had wrote out little note cards haha. After I got going though it all came back. Talking in front of large groups of people in Spanish is still intimidating! 

Heleman 4:12 "And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying,stealing, committinadultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites"

Hermana Miller 

Tiempo por un Fiesta Anyone? (May 5, 2014)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! 

We have been working like always here in Kerman! I am trying to bring things that I have learned along the way here to help out this area. So of course the first thing to do was request an unbaptized member list, because really that is where a lot of really good leads have come from for me in the past. As we have been going along I have been reminded that it is a lot of work to find effectively, to work through the members. But in the end it is paying off. We found two new investigators this week who are both super awesome. I think as the time draws shorter and shorter I am really learning what it means to focus on finding the people who are prepared now. Of course you always plant seeds along the way too, but there are people who are waiting right now as well! 

Throw Back Pic: Street Sign in Modesto
Courtesy of Hna. Parra
It has been scorching hot here in the central valley. It might as well be the fourth of July based on the temperature here lately. Maybe that is why no one seems to be at home lately? They have all gone to get icecream... that is what I would do ;) 

Funny story of the week was getting chased by a huge-man-eating-miniature dog! We were out for our daily run we round a corner and suddenly sparky is there barking at my heels and ready to chow down. I don't think I have sprinted that fast in my whole mission, OR been that awake at 6:30 either. haha 

Remind me after the mission to tell you the ridiculous story of the 1st name issue here in Kerman. There is no way that I could put all that into one little email. Sorry. 

A member took us to an all you can eat crab feed Saturday night! It was pretty delicious. And I managed to ward off the lurking young man seated next to me quite nicely when I informed him, oh so cheerily, that I am a missionary and then proceeded to ask which church he went to. Honestly he wasn't so bad, and it turned into a good contact where I was able to teach him about the structure of the church a little bit in between his invites to go star-gazing. People just can't seem to wrap their minds around the idea that we don't have "free time" as missionaries to just go out and "enjoy ourselves". 

A great quote that I wanted to share with you all this week is from President Monson, "It’s important that we eliminate the weakness of one standing alone and substitute for it strength of people working together….Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives."

I love you all!! Can't wait for Sunday Mother's day phone calls!! 

I'm also thinking that Alma 37:36 "Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. " might be a good family scripture someday for my future family. 

Have a great week!! 

Hermana Miller 

PS I also ate brussel sprouts this week. And I LIKED it!! 

In the Land of Kerman (April 28, 2014)

Hello family and friends! Another week come and gone and it still boggles my mind. Packing for my last transfer was a strange sensation knowing, that in six short weeks, I will pack my bags for the last time and make the trek home. It has also been weird to arrive at this transfer and for people to do the math after they ask how long I have been out... but enough of that I have lots of good little adventures from this week that I want to tell you about! 

One of my last nights with Sister Johnson we tried to name all the 50 states and their capitals from memory after 10:30 lights out. Only New Jersey eluded me! haha. I wonder how many missionaries talk about those things. True nerd status strikes again.

Kerman is good. It is different and it is a struggle to adjust again. I have probably struggled more with transfer than any in the past, but I am trying to make the best of it. I think I started to see some of my purpose in being here Sunday when I got some lists and saw a number of things that I can help improve in this unit after attending ward council and church. 

We taught a "Spanish" class my first night here. They have been trying to teach some of the English members how to testify and pray in Spanish so they can be team-ups for the Spanish lessons. Let's just say I am still NOT qualified to instruct someone else on the Spanish language. I can get through the lessons and converse about gospel subjects enough to be understood, but my Spanish is still FAR from correct. All in all though I think it turned out ok and we helped them to learn something. 

This week I had the best broccoli of my whole life! Steamed and buttered and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. Don't worry we bought 2 bags today so we can recreate it at the apartment. haha. 

Funny (or maybe strange is the better word) story of the week was going to contact a referral and being ushered right in to an apartment with a "cageless quail". Oh my goodness. I wish you could've been there. This man had randomly caught this little chicken looking thing a few years back and just lets it freely around roam their apartment. I was dying laughing on the inside. 

Sister VanWie and I also had the chance to go do some service this week. There was a member who recently lived in the ward who probably is best described by the word hoarder. (Like TV worthy hoarder.) I can't begin to describe the amount of stuff that was out in this house/warehouse/place. It was crazy. But it still felt good to be able to help her pack all this stuff before she moved and lost the property. (Another quite funny moment was the Elders taking some of the action figures from the donate pile to keep for themselves). 

Then on Saturday we went to the Mormon Helping Hands Day of Community Service. We were at some park in Fresno (Yes I cover part of Fresno now... how gross! I wish I could have stayed in the boonies/ small towns my whole close!). We were working on a burm (full circle again... made me think back to last year doing burms in LB with Sis VanWagoner). We raked leaves and pulled weeds and then ate pizza. 

I love you so MUCH!! Have a great week! 

Alma 19:7 "infused joy into his soul"

Hermana Miller 

P.S. Picture of the BEST ice-cream truck I've ever seen (my goal is to purchase something from this truck before I leave here!)

Another Mountain in the Range (April 21, 2014)

Dearest Family and Friends,
As you enter beautiful Coalinga you see...
First off Happy Belated Easter!! I recommended watching the Because of Him video on it is fantastic. This year the resurrection has become so much more real and meaningful to me. Without the miracle of the resurrection the rest of the Atonement wouldn't matter... repentance and everything else counts because we truly can live again thanks to our Savior.

What a whirlwind this week has been.  We had Zone Conference and I was reminded of the true definition of a successful missionary. We all pondered on what that meant to us. It helped me go back to the root, that a successful missionary is one who grows closer to Jesus Christ and helps others. I also really loved and appreciated Sister Poston's parting testimony where she said that the Lord sent her to the CFM as a Boot Camp for Life!! So TRUE!!! I have learned so much here that is going to help me be stronger and know how to follow the Lord for the rest of my life. It is intense and hard, but relatively this time is a short training ground for everything that is to come.

Dinner at Zone Conference
I got to go on some more crazy back to back exchanges this week. And a highlight of that was getting to be with my trainer Sister VanWagoner just days before she goes home tomorrow! I love her so so much. She has taught me so much and her example of unrestricted love inspires me. We are truly going to be the best of friends for the rest of our lives. While on that exchange we had a POWERHOUSE lesson with a member. Originally we  had set up a church tour and the member was just supposed to be the fellowship, but when our investigator didn't show we ended up doing the church tour with her as a practice. We made it to the chapel and Sister VanWagoner played "Come Thou Fount" (the song of my mission) and the Spirit just poured on us. We asked an inspired question if this member had ever been to the temple. She said no, and openly explained that not paying tithing was holding her back. Well with the strong spirit there we were able to resolve her concerns and promise blessings as official representatives of Jesus Christ. It was a bold lesson that cut us all to the core. I don't know if I have ever had a lesson that was so full of love, tears, and the Spirit. I would love to have been able to serve with Sister VanWagoner again... she continues to teach me. 

My Companion & I

The Sisterect
We got to play ping pong in an open garage with this random man we contacted on the street. That was pretty awesome. Turns out he had talked to missionaries before in the Philippines. We made a deal that we would teach him the gospel and he could teach us ping pong. win-win for everyone ;)

Funny of the week was Sister Johnson telling me that I could create a new key-indicator (how we measure and track all of our lessons and progress) with "downloaded the gospel library app". haha. I am obsessed with telling people about that and having them get it. But truthfully I have seen a lot of good things come from that. People look at their phones WAY more than anything else, and having someone/thing read the scriptures to them sometimes helps.

Me & Andrea
Transfer calls this weekend were a bit of a shock to me. I thought for sure I would be finishing my mission here in Coalinga. I have come to love this little strange town and all of the people. I won't lie when I heard the news that I was an "outgoing missionary" I was devastated. Instantly the tears came streaming down my cheeks and I sobbed. I will miss it here and my companionship with Sister Johnson. I really love her positive cheery upbeat attitude and all the dynamics of our little duo. But I have come to look at this transfer with hopefully a little more understanding and less gut-reaction. I know that there is a purpose behind all of the things that God has us go through. Kermin East with Sister VanWie will be a good area and a strong finish. I have thought of it as a mountain in a range. All of my mission has been this grand range of mountains (trials and struggles and growing opportunities), and this is just one more last push one more mountain to scale and to summit! I am excited and I know that there are great things that wait. A quote in our emails from President Gelwix this week said, "TRANSFERS. Some transfers and some companions are from what you will do for them, others are for what they will do for you, and still others are for a bit of both. If you start wondering why this or why that, think of Elder Bednar's talk about loading the truck up before it could get traction and how we grow when we carry a heavy load." (All that being said I am feeling the member love as I say goodbye... I think the Coalinga ward is ready to protest this transfer and picket the mission home haha).
I love you all so much. Keep smiling!
Hermana Miller