Wednesday, June 26, 2013
This was SUCH a good week. In so many ways. For one,we taught a ton of people and saw changes in them. For another, Sister Roscher and I met all our transfer goals! For another, we got soaking wet all week. It was brillliant.
I don't even know where to start. As usual. Haha. Sorry I'm so scattered sometimes! But hey, that's typical Miranda shining through Sister Miller. This week, I may have lost the phone approximately five hundred times.
And the keys.
And my bag.
And my scripture markers.
And some of my clothing.
And some important papers.
And all our chocolate.
(And of the above, we all know losing the chocolate caused the most desperate searches. Haha.)But hey, still haven't lost my companion so we are in GOOD shape.
This week, I just felt the Spirit SO MUCH when we taught. It was so incredible. I LOVE how suddenly a question will come to my mind, and it changes everything. And a lot of times they are questions I never would have thought of on my own, or would not have had the courage to actually voice. We had a lesson with a less active family. We were going to talk about the Plan of Salvation, but we felt like we needed to ask them what their “gospel vision” was...how they saw the gospel empowering and enabling them. And they had no answer! I was floored. We can't progress if we don't have a goal. My daddy taught me the only way to plant in straight lines is to pick a point and head towards it. And so we did. Hopefully progress can actually occur now. :)
And so I've thought a lot this week about how I see the gospel changing me for forever. And basically without writing a ridiculously long email, let's just say that there is no way I could be fully happy without the gospel in my life. And right now I get to tell that to others all day, every day. It's the bomb.
And some days, you just hear heartbreaking stories all day long. People trust missionaries because they can feel the Spirit, and so they tell us everything (I can't count how many times I've been told that they've never shared what they've told us before), and my heart just breaks with everything they've experienced. But I'm able to deal with the heartache because of the Atonement. Truly knowing Christ will lift us and change everything.
We met with Steven again. He's quickly becoming one of my favourite people I've met here. Each time we meet, I see even more clearly that the gospel is the only way for lasting peace. He told us that he's prayed to the Virgin Mary his whole life, but because of what we taught him, he prayed to God for the first time this week!
He said he begged Heavenly Father to show him how to find the peace that he was searching for. And then he opened up his Book of Mormon, and he started reading. About baptism. When he shared that, my companion and I kind of stopped breathing. And then we bore testimony that that would be the one way he would find peace, and finally be able to recover from his past. Because only by making this covenant can we truly leave EVERYTHING behind. Then, as far as God is concerned, our mistakes never even happened. So we'll see with Steven. :) But he can feel the Spirit and he has the desire to change. And that's all we can start with!
Also, we FINALLY met up with this man who we received as a Temple Square referral two months ago. (I know! Someone from Weoley Castle went to SLC. Whaaattt!!) And he is so prepared. He's a Greek Orthodox, and he's a professor. When we told him about the First Vision and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, he held it like it was a precious child. And then opened it up and began reading it. Right in the middle of the lesson. I have to say, I did not mind one bit!
This week, we taught OT about Patriarchal Blessings. He was SO excited. And he invited us to come with him! I feel so privileged that Heavenly Father let me find this incredible man, teach him, and see him make that crucial covenant. Now, I'll get to see him receive personal scripture. We are just so blessed! Oh. And he TOTALLY melted my heart. He told me that if I invite him to my wedding, he'll come and bring his wife and daughters. And then he said that he'd pray for me to have a boyfriend. Hahahaha.
Can I just say I love my Brummies with my whole heart? I never thought that I could love as much as I love these people. I feel like I've been given this precious gift where I can get a glimpse of their eternal potential. And it's incredible... I am able to help them so much more because I can see how they truly are so loved by our Heavenly Father.
Anyway. Enough rambling. :) I LOVE you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I need it, and I can feel it!
Have a great week!
The QE at night. I love this hospital! I don't want to think of how much time I've spent inside, though. haha. Lots of visits!
A little bit soaked. We were five minutes from home and it started pouring.
Meet my Grandma! :) In a mission (because it's like a mini life), your trainer is your mother. So this is my trainer's trainer, along with her great-granddaughter. She's here visiting before she spends her summer at Cambridge.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Happy Monday! I've realized that as a missionary will be the only time in my life where I will love Mondays. So I'm trying to savour it. :)
Something I am learning how to see is the Lord's tender mercies. I have loved noticing them, but at the same time, it makes me wonder how many I've missed when I've been blessed by the Lord and just missed it, ya know? Remember how Sister Müller lost her planner and got it back? I had like the same thing happen this week. I had it at an appointment, but then didn't have it five minutes later when we GQ'ed a lady on the street. Obviously, I was super upset. Losing your planner is nearly as bad as losing your companion. Actually, it's kinda worse. And so for like three days I felt like I was Lehi in the mists of darkness.
And then, last night, we were walking home, and I saw something sitting on the bushes......my sopping wet planner! I stood there and stared at it for five minutes. How the heck did it get there?? I had lost it about two miles away. There's no way it just randomly appeared there on our street. I still can't get over it.
Heavenly Father knew I cared about something so simple, and so He answered my prayer. Not because I couldn't have survived without this blessing, but because it testified to me of the love of my Heavenly Father. He cares about every simple aspect of our lives, and when we are willing to give Him our hearts and our wills, He can magnify us beyond our imagination.
And speaking of fathers, Happy Father's Day to my INCREDIBLE Dad. If you want to know how awesome my father is, just try keeping up with him for a day. He has so many talents, and is so good and truly knows how to love and serve others. I kinda already told him all this in my Father's Day card to him, but let's face it. That's insufficient. Everyone should know. One time a lady told my mum that my father had the most Christ-like eyes and demeanour she'd ever seen. And that is so true! My father has taught me how to love and serve others. Without my father's example, I'd be the world's worst missionary. Because he taught me by example, I know what I should be, and what I should become.
And if I write any more about him, my humble father will be slightly irate with me. :) Love you, Daddy!
We met with Steven again. Turns out he's not homeless. Whoops. (It kinda felt a little like Robots: Excuse me sir.... I'm a woman. Uhh....You too!) When we called him yesterday to see how he was doing, he said that he'd been reading in the Book of Mormon and that he found it “very satisfying”. For a man who has been hungering his whole life, who lost his family, and who can't move past his tragedies.... to find something very satisfying is a miracle!!!!!!!! But of course it is!! The Book of Mormon answers the questions of our souls. And if it hasn't answered one of yours recently, go pick it up and truly read it. No skimming, missy.
Enough lecturing. Want to hear about my crazies of the week? :) Admit it. Best part of emails from missionaries: the crazy and the spiritual.
A homeless man spit all over my face. My mother would be proud of me because I held my composure. I was feeling pretty bad for myself until one of the other sisters said one kissed her in Nottingham one time.
I got asked: What do you say to a man who prays on the ashes of his family members? Uhhhhh....goodbye?
We have this dirty (as in inappropriate) old man who calls us and asks us to “come teach him a lesson”. We tried blocking his number, but he kept calling us (and he called the mission home!). So we gave in and set up an appointment. He told us he would fix us a “special meal”. Whelp, I hope the Elders like it. I wish I could see his face when he opens the door not to Sister Texas and Sister Sassy, but to Elders Stern and Sterner! :)
Apparently my comp has a love of snails. So we brought home pet snails. They ran away (super fast of course. ;) ) But this is Aladdin.
MY PLANNER!!!!! Oh I was so happy.
Sometimes we randomly come across these streets that I'm pretty sure are Privet Drive. Uncle Vernon wasn't home, though.
Love you loads!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
This past week, we've been blessed with sun, beautiful BEAUTIFUL sun. We've loved it. And next week I'll send you a pic of our foot tan lines. They are pretty fashionable, if I do say so myself.
This week, my companion and I were so blessed. As usual. :) We've started keeping a gratitude journal. Each night during nightly planning, we write down five tender mercies of the Lord that we've seen that day. We've been doing it for about two weeks, and I really realize the blessings of the Lord SO much more during the day!! In D&C 59:21, we are told the two ways we offend the Lord: ingratitude, and disobedience. And I've literally felt how being more grateful makes us more obedient. When we thank the Lord, it changes our hearts. When we record how He's blessed us, we notice even more just how much He cares about the little details.
Anyway. Just my little musing of the week. :)
Can I just say (again) how much I love being a missionary? It's been a rough couple of weeks. I never imagined that I would be required to train after only three months. In some ways, it's like the blind leading the blind. You don't know what to do? Me either! And I'm supposed to! Ahhhh!! But it has been such a blessing. There is so much I don't know. The only way I literally get through each day is by relying in the Saviour, and following the Spirit. And I've felt so carried. Some days I get home, lie in bed, and realize how truly miraculous our day has been. There's no way I would've ever done it alone. I never understood the Atonement as fully as I do now. Even when I do my absolute best, it will never be enough, without the Saviour making up my shortcomings, and lifting me higher. And He promised to do that since before the foundation of the world. His plan has always been to lift and exalt us, far beyond anything we can accomplish or even imagine.
Last week, we were standing at a bus stop, and there was a homeless man sitting there. We started talking to him, and it was probably one of the most uplifting conversations of my life. I don't know all he's been through, but Steven was so kind and soft spoken. He said that he'd begun to wonder if God truly cared about him and his struggles. My companion and I simply testified that He did. And we could know that God cared about us because of Christ. And then he asked a question that I know he's been pondering for YEARS. He said: "In all seriousness, what are we all really here to do? And I don't want a trite answer."
Well, folks, the BEST answer to the questions of our souls is the Book of Mormon. I love answering questions with scripture on the street. It's hard on us sometimes to "treasure up" enough to be ready with a scripture, but the Spirit is there to testify. And hopefully you all know the answer. Alma 34: This life is the time for us to prepare to meet God! We are here to progress. And we knew that from the start.
We teach Steven tomorrow. I am BEYOND excited. He is so ready for the gospel. And we can literally picture him changing. I can't find the quote, but it keeps running through my mind each time I think about Steven: The world would take the slums out of the people. Christ, however, takes the "slums" out of people, and then they are empowered to take themselves out of the slums.
That's been seriously the highlight of my week. Oh! also. Remember me briefly mentioning an investigator who called me from jail? Guess who has another investigator going to jail?? This girl!!! Man. It's like some secret talent I have of teaching people about ready to go to jail. Do you thin k there's a key indicator for that? ;) It would be funny if it weren't so painful to see how people are ready to accept the gospel and then watch then go to jail. (He did it over a year ago, and has really changed since then. Like, truly, Alma the Younger sort of changes.) Although it was pretty hilarious: We are sitting there testifying and having an incredible lesson, and then he just tells us he wants to know more, but that he'll be going to jail next week. For stabbing someone. (I know, right? What does normal social etiquette say about how you should respond to that???)
In the MTC, I found an "awesome" scripture: Alma 36:27. Never would've guessed that I would use it LITERALLY with two investigators in the space of a month. But it's all good!
And I haven't told you that much about Sister Roscher. Pretty much she's the bomb. We laugh all the time. And we work literally as one. For example, this morning:
Sister Roscher and I had planned to teach a less-active family about building their foundation on Christ. My entire personal study, it was nagging me. Something was just not quite right. So I followed every cross reference associated with Helaman 5:12, and still I didn't think it would be a good lesson for them. I kinda started meandering through my study notes, and found a scripture chain I'd built about developing a testimony.
When it came time for companion study, I was a little worried about telling my companion I didn't want to do the planned lesson, but rather start from scratch. And she'd had the same feeling! And she too felt like we should teach about the basic principles of gaining a testimony. I LOVE how the Spirit told both of us we needed to change, and we both felt inspired to study the same thing anyway! The Lord will bless his missionaries, if we give Him the opportunity.
BAM. Blessing. Blessing. Blessing.
And now pictures. :)
In case I haven't mentioned it, we work a TON with Chinese Uni students in Harborne. There are three Chinese speaking Elders in my ward. So how do you celebrate that? Chopsticks! and this picture is like, the epitome of my district. :) We are pretty much the Cistrict 3, in case you were wondering.
I love my Brummies!
The day I gave in and became a cutesy Sister missionary. Crafty planner, cutesy object lessons, and a bomb of a tracting BOM. I'm a little embarassed, but super proud. Sister Crafty. That's pretty much my name now.
Monday, June 3, 2013
That's got to be my favorite thing about England. No "How are you doing" junk. They all just say alright?
So are you? :)
This week, my companion and I toyed with building an ark. Seriously. It POURED all day for four days straight. And I discovered a few things:
1. My coat may be a raincoat in the US, but it's not waterproof here.
2. No one wants to talk in the rain. They all just magically disappear...they aren't outside, they aren't at home.
3. Even the crazy homeless man didn't come out in the rain.
But it was so cool. Picture this. You are out in the rain for like four hours. You have been completely drenched for about three and a half. Your longest conversation is about 4 seconds. You finally head home, and decide just to ring the buzzers in a building on the way home...usually super ineffective, but hey, it got you out of the rain for ten seconds.
Anyway. So we were ringing up and not actually expecting an answer. And suddenly this lady goes: Is ten minutes enough? Umm, okay. I think we can deal with that.
We ended up having an hour long conversation about the Book of Mormon. And she said like my favorite thing ever: "Of course I want to know if it's true. I've always wondered why God loved everyone but only spoke to people in Jerusalem. It just makes sense to me that He would give us another book of scripture so the two witness of each other."
AHHHHHHH. Best storm EVER! Unfortunately, Ania is going back to Poland soon. But hey, the church is true in Poland too. :)
A few weeks ago, Sister Mueller and I ran into this guy on the street. We were SO excited, he seemed perfect. And then his bus came and we only had half of his number. Guess who Sister Roscher and I found again on Saturday??? It just blows my mind how good Heavenly Father is. In a city of a million people, we randomly happened to stop the same guy twice. We invited him to church. And HE CAME!!! = He loved it. He's coming to the YSA FHE tonight, and we teach him on Wednesday. He said it's the first time he's felt at home since he came here. In case you aren't sick of me always saying this, it's a miracle!!!!!! I feel like I say that 20 times a day.
And OT recieved the priesthood yesterday. He was so excited. You could just see him glowing. He told us he can't wait to serve others, and go home and baptise his wife. :)
And one more miracle.
There's a lady in our ward named Beate, and her son and his family went inactive about three years ago. We stopped by, and invited them to come back to church and let us reteach their family the missionary lessons. They accepted, and came yesterday. I've never seen anyone look so radiant as Beate did. She just grabbed me and hugged me and cried. It was so fulfilling. I think that's why my setting apart talked about less-actives a lot. Because working with and reactivating a family can be as rewarding as finding a family to teach.
And actually, one more.
I just love Harborne so much. It's so diverse. I never imagined that the minority of people I'd work with here would be English. Yesterday, we had an appointment with the coolest family. I'll tell you the story in full when I come home because I can't do it justice here. In 1988, a 17 year old boy wrote his testimony in the front of a Book of Mormon (following Pres Benson's direction). Somehow, it ended up in Brother Anjum's hands in PAKISTAN. He read it, and KNEW it was true. He wrote Shaun, but because there were no missionaries in Pakistan, Shaun gave him the missionary discussions via LETTER. They corresponded for about 8 years before they got permission to have Brother Anjum baptized (for political reasons). Meanwhile, Bro Anjum shared the Book of Mormon discreetly with his friends. There were 32 families he met with each week and they studied the gospel together. Because of this single boy's testimony, there are now 5000 members in Pakistan. Bro Anjum and his family actually had to flee the country for their own protection, and are now refugees in the UK. I felt so privileged to sit at the table with this man and his family. They brought out files and pictures and letters. You could tell it was just so precious to them that they had the opportunity to live the gospel. It will probably be one of the most precious experiences of my life.
So go home and read your scriptures, and appreciate your freedom in living the gospel.
Love you all!
xxx (Sorry. They all do that here. Love it.)
And the pics....
Brother Anjum's first letter after he read the Book of Mormon.
Were you wondering what Sister Roscher looked like? :) thanks for telling me our mutual friends, btw. And piece of advice: don't go in the phone booths. Stinky. I love being her trainer. It's a huge test of my faith, but it's changed how I rely on my Heavenly Father.
Mind that slow child. hahahahaha. My companion misread it, and was horrified.