Monday, January 27, 2014

The week I became posh. (Yeah, you know that's a joke.)

So, this past week was transfers. I didn't mention it last week because I was convinced that I would go. And I didn't want to.
Logically, it made so much more sense that Sister Boots would stay here for her last transfer and I would be moved. But transfers are guided by revelation, just like everything else in the gospel.
My work in Merthyr Tydfil is not done...... and so I stayed!!!! I was just so chuffed. Really.
It was so weird saying goodbye to Sister Boots. We'd been companions for nearly six months. I'm still a little convinced I'm on exchange and that she'll come back. Haha.

But my new comp is Sister Dorado. She's originally from Bolivia, but has lived in London for the past few years. She's been out about the same as me.
She's pretty much the definition of posh, and so I was more than a little nervous. I could just picture myself trotting along after her like an idiot: Where we goin', thunder?
Which is ironic, because I have had more fun with her than I knew was possible. We just laugh all the time.

Like for example. This old man answered his door in just a towel. And stood there talking to us like that was totally normal, even inviting us to come in. I just knew I was going to bust out laughing. There was no way I could talk to him and take it seriously. So I looked at her, hoping she would talk, but I saw that she was about to crack up, too. So I handed him a pass along card, and he FINALLY closed the door. I started to laugh as I told him to check out the website. And then we both sat in the middle of the street and just died laughing. We probably looked like total nutbags.
My favourite quote of the week: Sister Dorado: "It's like a whole different language. It's not English---it's American." :)

Oh yeah, I also spent loads of time in hospital this week.


(Mum, did your heart just stop for a second?)

A sister got ill and needed surgery so we were going on lots of splits with her and her comp.
No worries, Mum. Hey, something has to make my emails more interesting.

Also, I had a new experience this week. We taught a pair of twins (did I mention them before?) for the second time. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, and let me just say that I wish all investigators were as excited as they were. They were literally on their hands and knees begging their grandpa to let them get baptised. I think I could deal with a few more people who felt like that. :)

I just feel so blessed to have stayed in Merthyr. I love this area so much. And that's my week in a nutshell. Changes and consistency. With all the moves and sister in hospital, there isn't too much interesting things to share. Sorry about that.

This week I've studied Alma 7:11-13 almost every day, and have gained so much insight into my Saviour's Atonement. I am just so thankful. He understands each of us so completely because the Atonement wasn't just for our sins. It was for our heartaches and struggles and sorrows. He knows exactly how we feel when we experience things, and we can apply that and find full healing. Full healing is available through the gospel of Jesus Christ. What good news. I would give anything to grasp the magnitude of it, but I am so grateful nonetheless. (Hmm, that just made me think of Alma 22:18. What would you give away to truly know God? I love that question.)


Sister Miller

If you are a HP fan, this should look familiar. :) It's actually Gloucester Cathedral. Gorgeous, eh?

Raglan. I am obsessed with this castle. Someday I'll actually get to go inside.

(I will send a pic of Sister Dorado and I next week.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings!

This week has been one of tender mercies for me. If I didn't know that the Lord was fully aware of me before, I definitely do now. The Plan of Salvation just amazes me. Heavenly Father has a plan that just blesses us so individually and yet as a whole. It kinda blows my mind to think about. Heck, I can't even perfectly coordinate a day (or even an outfit) and somehow He manages the Universe.
Anyhow. Off my random tangents and on to my week.

Last week, we had our first real appointment with Amirah. This little ten year old girl just amazes me. She has single-handedly reactivated her whole family. They've been coming back to church for about two months now. We weren't going to extend the baptismal invitation in the first lesson—she's met with a lot of missionaries before that just saw her as a number and just wanted to dunk her.

It was interesting—the lesson was off to a rocky start. Literally every phone that could ring did. We were trying so hard to set the tone of the lesson, but it just did not happen. And then we actually started teaching. And from there on out the Spirit was just so strong.
I don't understand how you can listen to the Restoration and not feel the Spirit testify to you that it is true.
Anyway. I said we weren't going to invite her to be baptised. At the end of the lesson, Amirah said that she had an announcement. It was: I want to be baptised. And she'd already picked her own date and everything. Which is brilliant. Her family asked if that was okay with us, and I was like, Duh. What do you want me to

I asked her why she wanted to be baptised, and she got a little shy. Do you know why she wants to be baptised? So she can have the Spirit at all times and go to the temple.
Wow. How I wished I'd understood the gospel so well at that age. Her mom practically glowed when she talked about how much happier they'd been since they started going back to church. You cannot tell me that the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn't bless families.

The Lord works so many miracles. I feel so blessed to be His servant and watch my brothers and sisters accept what will bring them so much joy. Can you imagine? That's not just some faceless person on the street. That is a child of the Eternal Father. He knows them perfectly. He knows what worries them, what brings them happiness, and has so many plans to help them grow. And sometimes we are privileged enough to be there to watch them change.
I think that's my favourite part of being a missionary.
Two times this week we went to see someone and we were told that our visit was an answer to their prayers.

Other tender mercies of the week:
*I had my interview with President. I so look forward to those. He has 280 missionaries, and yet he takes fifteen minutes to talk and answer questions. It's fab.
*I was feeling a little down, and called Sister Mueller (for missionary purposes!). She told me that she went on exchange with a sister I went on exchange with a few transfers ago. This sister said that I told her how excited I was each day to pin on my name badge. I guess she thinks about that each day when she gets ready and puts on her name badge, and she gets excited because of that, too. I had no idea I'd ever said that to her. And it's something that she thinks about on a daily basis and has for months. It was just comforting to know that I make a difference, even if it's just in a small way.
*I got to go on exchange with Sister Roscher. Let me tell you. Twenty-four hours of being with one of my best friends who knows me completely? So amazing. We just could not stop talking, I think she and I could talk nonstop for a week. I felt so grateful for it. Training her was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

We've found quite a few good people this week. Most of them are through members—the ward council is finally pointing us towards some good people. And let's be honest. That's the best kind of finding. You can only knock so many doors before you start going a little crazy in the head.

And I realized I've stopped mentioning cultural things. My bad. It's just become so natural that I don't even notice it—I can't even really hear accents anymore. Americans sound funny to me. So. Cultural moment of the week: The Brits don't rinse their dishes.
They wash. And dry.
I'm trying to decide if that is disgusting, or if we are just repetitive.
I honestly cannot decide.

Also: they iron like everything. I think they iron more in a week than most Americans do in ten years. (One time at a service project, this lady even told me iron her pajamas. I may do some things, but I draw the line at insanity.) So tonight, be sure to thank Heavenly Father for your tumble dryer and the dust on your ironing board.

Thanks to my family, for everything you do for me. I see some families here with kids on missions and get a glimpse of what you must do for me. Thank you. Thanks you for each day. Each day matters so much to me. I love you. Oodles and heaps and loads.

Sister Miller
Last Pday, we explored a castle (well, what's left of it) in Abergavenny. Look at the tree stump I'm standing on. It's massive!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Short and sweet.

Are you frozen yet?
Good. Winter just started.
And that's the depressing thought of today. ;) Just kidding. It's now staying light until about 4:30. And I am so thankful for that. Such little things mean so much.

This week, we met bashers and crazies. I think there must have been a requirement that to talk to missionaries this week, you had to be absolutely bonkers. There were so many times when we'd be teaching or finding, and suddenly I would realize that this person has just lost the plot.

Minor example. This one guy really loudly and rudely told us that we were crazy: that in life, we were born to work to die. We tried testifying and teaching and it just did not work. He walked away and we kept GQ'ing. Pretty normal. Then about twenty minutes later we see him coming back up the street. And he sees us, waves him arms, and hollers:” Hey! You've converted me. I came back!”
And then starts giggling like he's the funniest thing ever. So naturally I hollered back: “Good. So you'll be baptised now?”

Funnily enough, he said no.
Next time, maybe.
There's always hope for next time.

And just a random note: I am so thankful for my daily personal study. It is such a protection and a strength. I've been pretty good about reading my scriptures for most of my life, but truly studying has not happened regularly enough. I have felt so blessed by it. Pondering has made the gospel so tangible to me. I just felt like I needed to share that this week.
We are God's children. He created us so that we can act and choose for ourselves, and not just be acted upon. Our covenants with the Lord bind us to use that agency wisely: to go the extra mile and be anxiously engaged in good, not simply passively involved. For me, that begins each day in studying and pondering. Then we are given the chance to apply it, and then to account for it to the Lord. It's a pattern of becoming like Him. Check the pattern you are in.

The gospel just makes so much sense. I love it.

My week's was a little bit crazy. We had Mission Leadership Council in Birmingham, and then three exchanges back-to-back with all the sisters in the Cheltenham Zone. So it's kind of annoying because I can't really clearly remember my week, and my companion can't tell me what I did. Because we were not together. Which I am not used to.

My email is uber short (and scattered!) today because we have a crazy day. We've started taking appointments during P-day on our weeks where we lose a lot of travel time. So, know I love you and that I want you to have a great week.

I love you all!!!

Sister Miller
All of the Midlands are flooded. This is Tewkesbury. Normally the Abbey doesn't have such a pretty reflection in the water. The River Avon and Severn have just overtaken everything!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014: We partied it up. (As in: we went to bed early and loved it. haha.)

Do you know what I love so much as a missionary? Sharing the Book of Mormon. There is not a single doubt in my mind as to the the truth of this book. I know it is scripture. I know that it was written for our day. And as a missionary, I have seen that time and time again. So many concerns can be answered with the Book of Mormon. And this week taught me that even more.

We met a guy named Wayne. He did the “not religious” routine, and was shutting the door, and in passing happened to ask if we were Americans. Let’s just say the horrid weather made a wonderfully ironic backdrop...he looked so confused and asked us what was important enough to bring us to Wales in the middle of winter. Ha! Good question. Let me explain.

And so we shared the First Vision. I love that. Whenever I share it, the Spirit just testifies to me that it is true. And they can feel it. If God spoke to prophets before, why not today? And I love the witness that God and Jesus Christ are real, that they are separate and they are perfect. They know us perfectly and care for us completely. I know that Josep

h Smith saw Them in that grove of trees. I know that They answered his question, and he was called as a prophet of God.

 He just about snatched the Book of Mormon up out of my hands. Because it’s that second witness, that crucial testimony that enabled the full Restoration of truth.

So the man who was about to shut his door invited us back. And that’s just one of the smallest of miracles that comes from the Book of Mormon.

We went to this little town I’ve been wanting to go to since my first day in Merthyr. The first like twenty doors were a fast no and quickly slammed shut. And then we were bashed by a few different people.  Basically, I was quickly wondering why in the world I had always felt so drawn to this town.

 And then we met Gareth. Actually, we met Tina and she was going to shut the door in our faces, but he heard the conversation and came out and asked us some questions.

He’s a psychologist and a conspiracy theorist.

Interesting combination. And his questions were quite direct: “So, what’s your spin on God, then?”

Eventually we started talking about the Great Apostasy, and his eyes lit up. (That I think was the conspiracy theorist coming out.)

And then we talked about the Restoration.

“What’s your proof?”

Again, this is why I love the Book of Mormon! He was pretty excited. He told us he couldn’t promise to read the whole thing by this week when we go back, but that he’ll read at least ten or fifteen chapters.

Uh, okay. I think I could live with that.

Also, in case you were wondering, my companion and I have a Welsh boyfriend. His name is Carl. He was just about falling over himself all morning today while Sister Boots was getting a haircut.

He asked where I was from, and I said America. And he said “Wow, your English is really good.”

I’ll admit, that caught me off guard. What do you say to that?

“Thanks. I’ve been working on it for a long time.”

And then he asked what language we speak in America.


And he just looked so confused.

I told him I was from near New York City.

And he asked if that was were The Fast and The Furious was filmed.

Maybe I don’t actually speak English. There seemed to be quite the language barrier there.

So don’t worry. It’s not going anywhere too fast. Even though he did give us his contact details so we could be sure to get in touch with him once we’ve finished our missions.

Oh the possibilities.

Have a brilliant week! Be sure to work on your English skills, everyone. ;)

Sister Miller

I just love this. Sorry if it seems random.