Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Happy Christmas, everyone!

This has been one of the best weeks. The Spirit has been so strong, and my appreciation for the role of my Saviour has increased so much. I have just loved every minute of it, and am kinda bummed that I only get one Christmas on my mission.

Do you know what I love about the UK? Christmas is like a two-week affair. And in Merthyr, it kicks off with a Christmas Eve carol service. I just loved it. I admit, I didn’t sing that much during it. There were probably about three hundred people there, and I just sat and listened to the Welsh Saints sing. And it isn’t called the Land of Song for nothing. It was beautiful. I don’t think Silent Night will ever be the same for me again.

We then spent Christmas Eve night at the Headingtons (the family who rescued us the night we locked our car in). We sang a few carols there as well—Sister Boots  and I sang an arrangement of Away in a Manger and More Holiness Give Me. The arrangement was beautiful and my companion sounded lovely. (And I was my usual “Scuttle” self. But hey.)

And then I told the story of the Other Wise Man. Grandpa, how do you do it so well? I was so nervous I was fairly shaking. But the Spirit was there and they loved it. So all was well.

For Christmas, we spent the morning with a recent convert, and then went to see the Hutchinsons. I just LOVE their family so much. I am thinking of stealing their three-year-old holy terror, Hannah. She thought we were the best Christmas present. When we knocked on the door, we could hear her shouting “MISSIONWEES! MISSIONWEES!” (If only everyone was that excited to see us!). And then she shouted it at us for the rest of the afternoon. haha.

I think my favourite new part of Christmas was when we opened the “Christams crackers”. They look like a gift gift wrapped tootsie roll kinda thing, and they are so fun! They all have a joke and a little toy inside, as well as a paper crown that everyone wears throughout the meal.

And then we went to the Flocktons, and I talked to my FAMILY! What a good Christmas present. :)

These are just going to be the moments I treasure forever.

And because I am in Wales, Boxing Day is Christmas, Day Two! I think I will bring that tradition home, for sure.

And, a spiritual story to top it off: I was on exchange with Sister Kuykendall, and we were out knocking. This lady opened a door, and did not want to talk. At all. But she gradually stopped closing the door and just opened up. She told us that she nearly lost her faith when she went through a really bad divorce and a few other trials that got pretty ugly.

So I asked her what it was that let her keep her faith in God, even when bad things happen. She stood there, and really thought about it for a bit. You could literally see the emotions and thoughts flitting across her face. Finally, she looked up and at me with tears in her eyes and said the single most beautiful word known to man:


And that is the good news. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.


With Christ, the world revolved from night to day. The hopes and fears of all the years were met in the most humble, holy child of all time.

What a privilege it is to share that.

Nadolig Llawen.

Sister Miller

*I think every child in the world would love to build a fort right next to the Christmas tree and wait for Santa. Because Sister Boots and I are secretly five-year-olds, we did.

As I brought the mattresses down (we sleep in an itty bitty loft), we had a brilliant realization. So then we spent the next hour mattress surfing. My new favourite Christmas tradition.

*The most beautiful little valley we stumbled on this week. It’s on the way to a little village called Llangattock.
Peeking for Santa
Christmas fort

New Tradition for Christmas EVE:mattress surfing
Name tags as ornaments

New Christmas PJ's from Marty

Sister Miller & Sister Boots Christmas in Wales 2013

love valley 

 picturesque valley on the way to Llangattock Village

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfer eight, we are great!

If you were wondering where Sister Miller was this week, the answer is Wales! Still!

Cue happy dance.

I was SO shocked. To be honest, I was half packed when the transfer dodge came. And I didn’t believe my District Leader. But I was more than willing to unpack. (Refold? Yeah that’s a different story.)

Sister Boots and I are still companions! It’ll be our fourth transfer together, which is nearly unheard of. But she’s practically family now so it’ll be great.

It’ll be a happy Christmas indeed! We are so excited. Now Christmas feels real, because I know where I’ll be for it.

 And don’t worry Mum, we have matching jammies and a set of stairs. Christmas traditions will still go on!

I seriously feel like a three year old, I am so excited for Christmas. Some of my favourite families are having us over, and for comp study on Christmas morning I will be telling Sister Boots the story of the other wiseman. Basically it is going to be wonderful.

Last night we watched the Christmas devotional. It was phenomenal.

And on Friday we had the Mission Christmas Conference. Please imagine nearly 300 missionaries packed into Harborne Chapel. (And Sister Rasmussen made “Cafe Rio” burritos for all of us. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.) Fabulous. It was probably one of my favourite days on my mission.

Basically if you couldn’t tell, this girl is excited for the best Christmas of her life.

And there’s not too much exiting about this week. (Well, actually. I’ll been ill for a few weeks and I stopped functioning enough my companion convinced me to go to the doctor. It takes her about thirty seconds... “Yeah, you have a double sinus infection and an ear infection.”     Oh, is that all? No wonder I felt nonfunctional. But, I’m all drugged up and feeling much better. So, we had limited adventures this week.)

I love this ward so much. I just want to share two stories from the week that just show how fabulous they are.

Monday night, we were over at the Llewellyns. ( They are some of my gospel heroes.) As we were heading out the door, Davinia stopped us and said that she’d bought something for us. And she handed us a roll of refrigerated cinnamon rolls.
Let me tell you, we were happier than Scrat finally getting that nut on Ice Age.
Apparently they have only been avail

able in the UK for about a week, and she knew her American sisters would love some. (Her American companions on her mission said that was what they missed most about Christmas.)
Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever?

And then we were over for a DA at the Headingtons. We had never been at their house before, but they told us where to park and everything seemed great. Nothing spectacular happened, it was just a nice quiet meal.

And then we went outside. And we went to walk to the car, and there were these beautiful, big shiny  blue gates there.


And our car was on the other side.


All nice and cozy safe for the night.

See, this is one of those moments that I will watch “on film” in heaven. I’m sure our faces were hilarious. Here we are, late at night and far from home. There is no way to get home safely.

And so I did what I do best. I laughed my head off. We decided the best thing to do would be to go back to the Headingtons and tell them what happened. Mortifying, I know:

“Hi, remember how you thought we were nice, intelligent sisters, and you gave us a golden referral a few minutes ago? Yeah. Our car is padlocked in an industrial warehouse...and we were wondering what we should do about that?”

Luckily they thought it was hilarious. And so her son climbed over the fence (which had spikes and anti-climbing paint on it) and fetched our flat keys. And luckily they had a car and were able to give us a lift home.

And the next day she came and got us before she went to work so we could get the car before it was impounded.

So basically, this ward is willing to break & enter and spoil us.
 And those are the adventures of the Merthyr 1A Sisters.


Sister Miller
Oh Christmas tree. :)
I drive like an American? I don't think so. I am officially a British driver! Yes! Goodbye, learner plates! (And yes, Dad.... hello insurance discounts!)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hedgehogs & Haggus & Santa. (Oh my!)

First off, did I tell you that I had haggus for the first time with Thanksgiving?

And to be honest,  I’ve had worse. Haha. It actually tasted quite good.

(Random, I know. But I couldn’t bear if I forgot to mention that. Heck, I think I told you about eating chicken bones. Haggus is nothing compared to that.)

So. This week was fab.

First things first. Guess what I did. So we were tracting on exchange (I was in Tewkesbury). And I happened to look around, and I saw a rat run out into the middle of the road.

Disgusting. I know. Grandma probably already stopped reading. But we looked closer, and it wasn’t a rat. It was a hedgehog!!!!!!!!!!!! So being the five year old I actually am, I picked it right up. (didn’t even think twice about it.)

I’ve never learned anything about hedgehogs in my life. But I did find out they aren’t dangerous. (Best test ever—it was kinda pass/fail, which I always thought was easier.) (Movie quoting. Still. Some habits are hard to break.)

 And I so held a wild hedgehog for like five minutes. It was the cutest thing of all time. But of course neither of us had our cameras with us. But I held a hedgehog. Fact. Oh I was so chuffed.

There’s a man named Clive who has been coming to church for ten years and hasn’t been baptised.

I know.


He’s been “working towards” his baptism for ten years. (There are some outside factors, but none worth ten years. In my mind.)

Sister Boots and I have been really pushy with him, but he loves it. (Normally if missionaries are pushy he ignores them, but for some reason he loves us.)

Which we of course use to our advantage.

We found out that he was Santa for the ward Christmas party this past weekend. So naturally we got in line to go see him.

(Please picture a line of 3 to 9 year olds, with two misssionaries randomly in the middle. We were getting some strange looks.)

When it was our turn, Santa asked what fancy things we wanted for Christmas. He said he was sure we had a very long list, because missionaries often did.

Sister Boots said “No, we’re pretty easy to please. We just want one thing, and we know you can handle it.”

Santa was intrigued.

So I told Santa that all we really wanted for Christmas was for a man named Clive Harris to be baptised.

For some reason, Santa went bright red! He was speechless. And he then laughed and laughed and said he’d put it on his list, and give Clive a ring about it when he got home.

The ward thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. The sister working Santa’s grotto started laughing so hard she was crying, and went out in the hall and told the Bishop.  All day in church on Sunday members were congratulating us for it.

Personally, I think out of all of the baptismal invitations I’ve extended, that one is my favourite. Probably will be the only one like that.

And in a few weeks we’ll find out how good Santa is. ;)

And Martin came to church. Which was more interesting than good. But it’s too long and frustrating of a story to go into.

And other good things happened. But this is already uber long and rambly. So I will spare you further details.

To top it off though, tonight is transfer dodge. I am so nervous. I do not want to get moved two weeks before Christmas. The flat is trimmed up, the ward is phenomenal, it’s the most beautiful place in the world, and we are finally working with some great people. I will not deal well with leaving right now. I feel like a deer on the first day of hunting season.

Next week I’ll tell you if I got shot or if I made it out alive.

But until then, know I love you!

Sister Miller


They told us the area was dodgy. We didn't find out HOW dodgy it was till we got back to the car. (Just kidding. This is not our car. Although we are sending this pic to the vehicle coordinator for Christmas. haha.)

This house looks like it belongs in a Jane Austen novel. It was in a village where most of the houses were built in the 1700s! Alas, no one was home. Although we are pretty sure Mr. Knightley lived there, so we will be going back.

Long time, no see!

Before ANYTHING else, read this email I got this morning. MADE MY LIFE.

Dear Sister Miller.
                   It's great to be contacting you again. I'm not sure if you will remember or not, but a few weeks ago you and Sister Boots knocked on my door while you were on mission - my mother was reluctant to speak to you but I later caught up with you in another street. .....
                   I remember we spoke about the Church of Jesus Christ that you are currently attending while in the country and you mentioned that there was a youth program on Sunday mornings. I'm really interested in attending, even if it only a few times to start with. Since speaking to you I have researched more about the location of the Church and transportation there - I hope you don't mind that I have a few questions about the Youth Program.
                 Would I need a parent or guardian with me to attend?
                 What time does the service start on Sunday mornings?
                 Do I need to bring my own Book of Mormon?

God is so good. Have I mentioned that before? I love that He lets such imperfect people do His work because it changes us. It lets us grow in ways we couldn’t before. I cannot stop smiling as I think of Charlotte. God is just so good.

These past two weeks have been very....cultural.

 So, Britain attempts to do Halloween. It’ s horrible. Some holidays only work when EVERYONE participates. Some of the kids don’t even dress up, and they just go door to door in normal clothing. Faux pas, kiddos.

But guess what we dressed up as? JW’s. (I know. Wicked. I shouldn’t confess that.)

But then it was Guy Fawkes Day. Um, we should bring Bonfire night to America. It was brilliant. And we were driving to and from Cardiff because of our exchange. So we just got to watch fireworks going off up and down the motorway the whole time. I am a huge fan. Remember remember the 5th of November.

Gunpowder and treason and plot, mister.

And then it was Remembrance Sunday. First of all, BEST Sacrament Meeting I’ve ever been to. The two talks were on Sacrifice and Remembering, so it tied our covenants and Christ’s Atonement in, and just made it so powerful. SO GOOD. And the moment of silence was amazing. The Spirit was so strong .The reverance was almost palpable. I can’t even describe it. I wore my poppy loud and proud. And I will probably continue to do so even at home. J

And in case you were wondering why there were no emails last week, it would be because I sat down to email, and found out my mum was unwell and had been in hospital. So I called my mission president, got permission to call home, and spent the next forty minutes desperately dashing around looking for an international calling card.

When I finally dialled, it was the most wonderful time of my life.
See, when I call home on Mother’s Day and Christmas, my mum is expecting it. I don’t know what ran through her mind when she saw some strange foreign number calling, but she definitely wasn’t expecting me on the other end. I’ve never heard so much joy and happiness before. And then we just kinda sat there and cried for a few minutes and couldn’t talk. But don’t worry. If you know my family, you know silence can only last so long and we can recover quickly. And luckily my dad was nearby and so he came in too. It was just marvelous.
It gave me a glimpse of the joy our Father in Heaven feels when a child unexpectedly “calls” home. I can’t imagine the joy He feels when we reach out for the first time, or even when it’s been a while.

So call Home today.

Other than that, these two weeks have been a strange blur.  But I can so sense the power of the Lord helping me in ways I never imagined possible. I still find so much to say “thank you” for at the end of each day. I love being a missionary. I love getting to know my Father’s children. Because (like Alma says) their souls are precious. They are why I am here.

And the tender mercies of the Lord are just so evident everywhere. The gospel is true. Full happiness is available even in the midst of trials through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Atonement is real. It’s not just a one-time thing. Christ continuously redeems us, not just in a cleansing way, but also in a purifying one. We just have to sit it out a bit and have the tenacity to keep pushing forward. “Faith in God includes faith in His timing” (Neal A Maxwell).

Keep calm, cling to the gospel, and carry on. Onward and upward.

Sister Miller

Look who I GQ'ed. It'll be difficult to find a jumpsuit that'll fit over his head, but we'll figure something out.
 Troedyrhiw. This is my home, for now! (Troy-Duh-Rue)

Also. The Welsh are impossible to commit. "I'll be there now in a minute tomorrow, next week."  (Not exaggerating) It's kinda funny. Makes me think of Brian Regan: Thursday, late. Or Friday. Or sometime in November. (ha. That's not as funny in November)

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Real Thanksgiving!

It’s nearly the end of another transfer, and so my life is MAYHEM. This week, we have two exchanges and a workover. And mission leadership council. No pressure. And no time in my area.

(No matter how perfectly we plan our transfer, somehow the last week ends up being pure madness. I guess that’s what happens with having 9 teams of sisters. Stuff just gets crazy.)

On the other hand, this past week was fab.

We decided to go see Martin again (we had kinda dropped him, hoping that would help him progress.). So we went back, and best miracle ever.

Her name is Juliette.

To be honest, I thought he’d made up his girlfriend.

(I know. Bad Sister Miller.)

 But... she exists and she is brilliant. She asked great questions, and lectured Martin to bits. In a good way. At one point, she turned to him and said: “Martin. You need to just do what they tell you to. These girls glow, and they just GET it.”
Preach it, Juliette.
And we ended up spending most of the lesson talking about eternal marriage. Juliette loved it. (It was really cool because the member we had taken with us is recently reactivated and married to a recent convert. They are going to be sealed on their first wedding anniversary, so it was amazing to have her testimony. She and Juliette were BFFs by the end of the lesson.)

And we met with Max again. He said: “Now, before you teach me, I have some questions for you about this Plan of Salvation. First off, I want to talk about agency.”

Well I guess that’s the perfect place to start.

He asks the most brilliant questions, and he processes everything SO well. He needs to step back and let it click a bit, but he will. He didn’t accept a baptismal date, but he did say he would be baptised. He reminds me of a young version of Dad. He’s incredible.

And last note: Thanksgiving. One of my favourite families in the ward had us over. They made us a “cooked dinner”. (Which is roast meat and veg.) For the ‘spiritual thought’ we each said what we were thankful for. And the Spirit was just so strong. By the time we went around the table we were all pretty teary eyed. It’s amazing how simply being grateful can bring such joy. I think we all overlook that too much.

My mission President sent us this poem. I fell in love with it:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for—but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I am most richly blessed. I have an incredible family, the restored gospel, my mission, and my Saviour.

What more can I ask?


Sister Miller

 random epic sheep.(If it seems like I have become obsessed with sheep, it's just because I'm in Wales. )