Friday, September 5, 2014

Every Book Comes with an Epilogue...

Okay, maybe I'm just being weird and sentimental. But does it annoy anyone else how mission blogs just suddenly end?

"Yay, Mom, I get to see you tomorrow!"
-----silence-----
I guess I always wonder: Soooo, did you see her, or what happened there?

It would be like a Disney movie ending with the line "Hey, I'm looking forward to a happily ever after".

So I thought I'd actually finish sharing my experiences as a missionary.....



That Wednesday flying home was seriously the longest day of my life. On my flight from Paris to Detroit, there was a little monitor that showed a little plane moving across the Atlantic at an agonizingly slow pace.
I kept a close eye on that thing, and let me tell you--I'm pretty sure we went the long way around the earth.

But. I came through the airport, around that stereotypical corner, and my parents were just walking up. Those were the sweetest hugs of my life.

And then the next morning before I was released, I was able to go to the temple one last time as a missionary. I am so grateful to my parents for letting me do that. It was the ending I wanted and needed to my mission. It was such a powerful, revelatory experience. I still feel like I can't quite grasp the scope of what I felt that day.


Basically, it was one of the most spiritually overwhelming days of my life.


And then I went to my house. Dude, did you know that place actually exists?
I guess surreal is the only words I can think of to describe it.
 I ran barefoot down the field road and just stood there and stared at that little valley I love with my whole heart.
You know those weird moments where you just know your soul belongs there and everything is so complete? Man I had so many of those the first few days back.

Which is good, because I needed that reassurance that I was supposed to be there.


And then life hit fast forward and knocked me off my feet. I'm at uni again. Already. Which is crazy.
We took a major road trip out to Utah, stopping to see all of our family who conveniently live along I-70.



It's still so disorienting to wake up and realize where I am.
I still refer to myself as a missionary in my prayers.
And in case you want a good laugh, I am ALL kinds of awkward. I guess it's just payback for me mocking awkward fresh RMs before
Literally.
I just don't know what to do with myself and I find myself attaching to a surrogate companion at all times.
Whenever I've been somewhere or with someone for about an hour, I freak out. I don't even have to look at my watch. My internal clock just screams at me to go.
I have driven on the left side of the road more times than I care to count (Fair warning to all Utah drivers.)
I keep trying to relate every conversation back to the gospel like it's a GQ.


But it will be okay. I know that I was called to serve, and with that came the call to someday return.

In closing, I just want to share a snippet. On my birthday, we stopped this eighteen year old kid. He didn't seem too serious, but we set a return appointment for my last morning in the field.

We stood there and waited until about ten minutes past the appointment. Great. I thought. Exactly what I wanted--my last chance to teach a lesson, and the kid doesn't show.

And then he came.

And I had one of the most perfect lessons of my mission.

Hakim is ready for the gospel. We asked him if he'd looked at the website (we'd only given him a passalong card). He said yes. He loved it. He said he felt good, and every just seemed simply, genuinely happy. And he said that's what he wants. He said he'll do the work to know if that is true.

And he closed with prayer. It was beautiful. First off-- I loved that he started by thanking Heavenly Father for letting him meet the two Mormons. I got a kick out of that. But it was what he said after that that (to me) summed up....everything.

He asked for a happy life.
He said that he knew stability would come as he developed a relationship with God.
He said that he thought maybe he had found the truth and asked God to confirm that to him.

It was so powerful.
I miss that so much--hearing the first prayer an investigator offers. It was straight to God.

And you want to know the best part? Hakim is going to be baptised next weekend.
I know. Miracles still happen.
I am so grateful I was allowed to teach him my last day.

I guess that disproves the point I started with--coming home was not the end.
The work goes on.
Because there are still so many of my brothers and my sisters who don't yet know.
Now hopefully I get to influence them---although in a different way.


Being a missionary has been such a precious, life changing experience. The gospel is perfect, and it is so real. It's the realest thing there is. Sometimes we lose sight of what matters most. My mission cemented these things for me. I am so thankful for that perfect and complete mission my Heavenly Father prepared for me.


Go home, don't go back.

xxxxx

Miranda

Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Call.

I honestly have no clue what to say today. I’ve been procrastinating starting this email.

In two days, I go home. It’s so surreal. I haven’t really grasped that yet—there’s always been another transfer, another week to try harder and to serve better. Up until this point, I haven’t really thought about it. I signed up for classes the same way you’d look at houses you’ll never buy—just for kicks.

Friday, I went to the mission home for my departing interview. It was definitely my favourite interview of my whole mission. The Spirit was so strong, and overall it was just fantastic. But it still wasn’t real that I was going home. It felt more like just a nice chat with President, and then we came back and worked.

Sunday, we were greeting people in the foyer, one of the members asked me (so sweetly!) if I was emotional. Psh, why would I be emotional? And then a thousand reasons to be emotional hit me like a ton of bricks.

 I am really grateful for the chance I had to speak. To be honest, I can’t believe I’ve only been here six weeks. The ward members were so sweet and kind when they said goodbye to me. My favourite were Delma and Peter—they are two of the Deaf members here. Peter told me he would see me in the Resurrection, and Delma told me she would always have a place for me in her heart. It was so simple, but meant so much.

Today, we went for a hike again. We hiked British Camp, where Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff dedicated the British Isles for the preaching the gospel. And then we took the hike along the tops of the hills. We could see a huge storm cloud and rain falling on both sides of us. It was fantastic. Those hills will definitely always hold a piece of my heart.



I am so grateful that I was able to serve a full-time mission. I have learned so much from it. It was like taking a sketch of something, and then seeing the real thing. I can’t put it into words, and that frustrates me. It has been the most humbling, powerful, precious thing I’ve experienced.

I know that God called me here. He knew which of His children I would meet here, and He knew which refiner’s fires I needed to experience. As a whole, it isn’t what I would have chosen, but that simply shows how short-sightedly I would have planned it. I’m grateful that He did—because it was the one that I needed. I wouldn’t trade or give back a single day.

That’s all I have left—one day. Twenty four hours from now, I‘ll be heading to the mission home.

So there isn’t much time left that I can work. But we’re going to make the most of it.

Wednesday, I get to hug my mum and dad. I finally looked at the flight details the mission sent me and realized I’ll have to wait all flipping day for that, but it’ll be worth it.

Thursday, I’ll be in the temple and I don’t really care what comes after that.

Thank you for the support, prayers, and patience. I needed it.

Sister Miller.

xxxx
British Camp is the place Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff went to to dedicate the British Isles for missionary work.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

British Birthday #2!!

Wednesday, I was told that BBC said it was supposed to be ALL sun for the next six weeks. (It’s been hot and beautiful.) So I was excited to hear that was the official report said it would stay like that.

And then it poured on Thursday.

And we had a thunderstorm on Friday.

And it rained on Saturday.

And drizzled a little bit yesterday.



Isn’t it great to know the weathermen are equally accurate all over the world?



But actually, I kinda loved it. There is no better feeling than walking down a street in the pouring rain. I can’t even tell you how much I love it. British rain is fantastic. I’ve noticed people think  you are nutters if you walk down the street smiling in the pouring rain.



I’ve been studying a lot about happiness lately. It’s simply a product of righteous living. We can be happy even in the midst of our trials through living the gospel. God gave us the pattern. He can give/allow us to experience anything. Why? It’s the question I get asked all day by nearly everyone we stop. If God is there, why do bad/hard things happen? This isn’t the complete answer, but I think the biggest part of it is that the refining fire is necessary. We need polishing. It’s why we are here. We agreed to come and be tested.

 It’s okay, because He has given the tools for us to find joy and peace in any circumstance. We cannot pick our trials. But we can choose to use the provided tools. No trial is too great—the resources at our hands can overcome anything. That’s the crux of agency. It’s not the situation or the tools. It’s the reaction. It’s the action.

I spent ages studying and linking all references to happiness in the scriptures. We are meant to be happy.



And in case you were wondering, the Malvern Hills are the best thing in the world to hike. They are just a few feet short of being peaks. The hike is lovely, and the VIEW. Oh my goodness. I didn’t know that there was anything in the world that beautiful. I wish I could bottle it up and send it to you. (One sister I went on exchange with told me her greatest wish was to send her eyeballs home. Haha.)  Basically, I could see all the way to Abergavenny mountain, which is in Merthyr Ward. And I could see all the way to Birmingham as well. So I got to stand up there and see everywhere I was called to serve for the past eighteen months. It was such a sacred experience. We may do it again next week, weather and travel arrangements pending.



And this week I broke my own rule. For six months, I've been telling people that I've been on my mission for "a year". But this week I started telling members that I would be leaving soon (only those that asked). I decided it might be weird if I magically disappeared and then my companion said I’d gone home. Last thing I want is for them to conclude that I am dodgy. Haha.

It felt so odd. And I hated how they are all like “How do you feel?”

Answer: NO idea. I’m so confused by it. And a bit excited. But I know I will be “mission homesick” for the rest of my life.
Basically the whole thing feels so surreal that the question seems pointless.
So I will just keep loving my mission.
 I will procrastinate thinking about it till next week---I'll be older and wiser by that point.

xxxx

Sister Miller



PIC:
Part way down. It took us less than n hour to hike it, but we sat at the top for like two hours. It seriously was mindblowing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Moses....

Hellooooooooooooo family!!!

Okay, this week I had seriously the most hilarious experience of my mission. You are going to hate this, but I am going to say that I am going to save it. It will be SO much better to see your faces when I tell it. So. Wait a month. Xx



This week, we found absolutely amazing people, and taught some of them. Thank you for your prayers. It amazes me how I can feel the power of them.



I seriously love being a missionary. I have learned SO much. I feel like I'm just beginning to grasp how crucial our covenants are. That's what my studies have focused on this week. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father's plan's for us includes them. It's such a privilege.

I will have to cut this off though---sorry to do this the second week in a row. We are going to hiking, and so we want as much time for that as possible. J Hopefully I’ll have some good pictures to send you next week.
Also. I don't really have time to read/reply to any emails today, but rest assured that I took pics of them and will read them.


Xxx

Sister Miller

Okay. I hope you can read this. This is part of the story I'm saving. I could NOT stop laughing when we got this text. How safe do you keep your scriptures?

Finally. A good hug.

Last night, my companion pointed out to me what I had written on the back of half the pamphlets I've handed out this past week. People are probably super bummed when I don't actually show up with Moses.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I like to look for rainbows....

So. Today’s letter will be way brief. Hopefully that’s okay. If not…well, it still will be brief.



This week, we were GQing this woman, who had two little girls. She said something to the effect of how she felt that religions were exclusive to “dissimilar” people.  My companion was answering her question, and started talking about how we are all God’s children.

The one girl’s eyes lit up, she grabbed her sister by the shoulders, and excitedly yelled:

         “I’M RELATED TO THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND!!!”

Probably the highlight of my week. If you are having a bad day, I guess you can just remind yourself that you are related to the Queen of England.



It’s cool when you go to church and the talks are just for you. That’s one of my favourite things. I tell my investigators about that when I tell them about church. We explain to them that if they prayerfully come to church with a question, they will find the answer. That’s how personal revelation works.

We don’t simply ‘go to church’, we go with a purpose. When we do that, it makes the renewal of our covenants much more poignant. When an entire ward does that, the reverence is almost palpable. I love seeing that pattern in my own life. I am so grateful that revelation is ongoing. I know that God is fully aware of us, His children. His plan for us includes a million opportunities for us to realize that for ourselves, and then act with the power that comes from that knowledge.



This week, we got soaked, got burned, got lost, found people, and a million other seeming contradictions that are the backbone of missionary life.

Thank you for all your prayers. I really appreciate it.



I love you all!!!

Xx



Sister Miller

PIC:
Probably one of my favourite things I've seen my whole mission.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Meaning of Happy

This week was a bit rough. We got flogged SO many times, and still haven't found anyone to teach. I'm starting to chop at the bit. Patience has 'always' been a skill of mine. But I'm trying to   be patient with what the Lord is giving me. And I know I am in the right place doing the right things, so things will happen when they are meant to.

I could talk about the 50000 people we met, but I just want to talk about one.

We have about ten formers the elders finally gave us. One was a lady named Andrea. We didn't know anything about her, but we showed up and knocked the door. A teenager answered the door. Usually we would have asked for the lady we were looking for, but we both felt prompted to just talk to this girl.
She didn't seem at all interested, and was kinda of trying to get us to go away. We were about to give up and ask for Andrea, when she started to close the door and then paused and just blurted out:
"I mean, it's something I never even thought about till my mum died a few weeks ago. Now I need to know. I need to understand."

It turns out the lady we were looking for had passed away, but I know the person who needed us then was her daughter. We shared the Plan of Salvation, and you could almost see the worry leave her face.

I love that about the Plan of Salvation. It immediately resonates and is just so comforting.
Hopefully someday Millie can be taught more. But for now, we just taught her what she was ready for. And I love doing that.



One thing I love about the Worcester Ward is the Deaf "community" there. There are three active members who are deaf, and a few less-active ones as well. Most of the ward has at least learned the basics of BSL, and quite a few of them can sign full lessons, which is really cool. So far I've pretty much just learned the alphabet and a few other signs.
Last week, Delma wanted to bear her testimony. She's this little tiny old woman. She just stood up, looked around, and motioned to a random member to come up with her.
She signed her testimony, and he spoke it for her. There were a few times she had to stop and spell things because he didn't know the sign, but it was so powerful. Her face was just so intent, and you could feel her sincerity as she bore her testimony.

I loved that. Then on Saturday, the daughter of one of the deaf men (Antony) was baptized. We helped her get sorted after she came out of the font, and we came out and starting walking back towards the chapel.

Antony was standing there with tears just streaming down his face.
I asked him if he was okay, and he just clapped his hands (they were horizontal, not vertical)three times.

And then he spelled it for me: H-A-P-P-Y.

And then he clapped three more times.


Happy.


That has to be my favourite signs of all time. It's just perfect. Think of how often in the Book of Mormon they clap their hands for joy.

H-A-P-P-Y.

Since then, I have studied little else other than the meaning of happiness in the scriptures.
I am so grateful that we can be happy, and that that is God's intent for us as His children.


Have a good week.

xxxx

Sister Miller

PIC:

The Sisters Miller! There's a new German sister named Sister Miller. She is so flipping cute. It's a big joke to everyone. It feels good to again have Sister America and Sister Deutschland. :)


Worcester Cathedral, England

Monday, July 14, 2014

FRESH START

Goooooooooooooooooooooood morning, everyone!!



So. This past week was transfers.

I was moved. You are going to have to keep reading for a moment though because I like pretending I can leave people in suspense. J

I’ll give you this though…for the first time in nearly a year, I’m not in Wales. (I was gutted to go.)



Leaving Cardiff was a lot harder than I expected. I thought that because I had only been there for four months it would be easy. So not true. I just loved how…vibrant the city was. I could seriously write a book on the people I met and taught and the members there. So many characters it’s unreal.

My last night, I was sung the Welsh goodbye song, made heart-shaped Welsh cakes with a member, and got loads of unexpected sweet goodbyes. Basically, it was perfect. I am so thankful I served there, and know it was definitely called of God. It’s going to be my favourite city for the rest of forever.



And now, I am in….Worcester!!

I know. Go to your cupboard, pull out the sauce and think of me. Try to pronounce it as well.  ;)

Wuss-tur. Wuss-tur-sure.



So, when we got the dodge, I was told I was whitewashing in after elders. Which was cool. And then when we were dropped off at our flat the first night, there was absolutely nothing.

By process of elimination, I found out I’m not just whitewashing—I’m opening!!

Flip. I cannot tell you how UNBELIEVABLY excited I am. I have wanted to open an area my entire mission. AHH!!!

It’s been so great. We had no food or supplies, no map, no Area Book, no ward list, nothing. (Luckily the zone leaders gave us the few copies of the Book of Mormon that were in their car along with some pass-along cards.)

I’ve never been so excited to buy a map.

Basically, this is the best thing that could have happened to me.



Chuffed.
Just so so chuffed.

It’s been an adventure. My companion’s name is Sister Moser. I’m pretty sure she is Aunt Judy’s doppelganger. She’s an absolute doll, and I love working with her. We have just been working like nobody’s business. So far, my time here has consisted of finding. Which probs doesn’t surprise you.


Our area is half of the city of Worcester, and then Great Malvern, about 6 miles away. So, the famed Malvern Hills and Worcester Cathedral are right at my fingertips. This area has SO much potential. There’s a huge uni here (which is dead for the summer but will be amazing in a few months) and then Malvern has hardly been worked over.


So basically, this place is amazing. The ward is all really old people. (in testimony meeting yesterday, there were loads of long pauses. But it was simply travel time for people trying to get up. Haha)

But that’s okay. They were SO excited when we went by and met them our first few days here.

I love this area already. Hopefully I’ll have good things to share for next week.



Oh. Cool story on LDS newsroom. I love the quote from the European Mission Pres.



Xxxx



Sister Miller



PICS






Sister Moser and I!

Worcester Cathedral, England.  The view from the bridge. Can you see why I fell in love with this place?