Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feels Like Home

Hello wonderful friends and family, I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  Although I didn´t have any Turkey on Thursday, my companion and I definitely had a feast of our own. 
I must share with you an amazing experience from this week.  We are teaching a family of four, a young married couple with two children and one on the way.  The mother was recently baptized a few months ago and loves when we come over to visit and re teach her gospel principles.  Her husband has a baptismal date, but we recently felt that he wasn´t too enthused with following through.  He is an extremely hard worker, he works on his house that an organization similar to Habitat for Humanity is helping him build, and because of his hours is not available to hear our lessons very often.  BUT, we are very determined.  We taught him the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and what is so interesting about this man is that he gives us amazing answers, the kind you would hear from a life long member in a gospel doctrine class!  Yet he was not applying these answers to himself.  We kept praying and praying that he would change his hours on the house and come to Church.  Last Sunday we knocked on his door and he didn´t answer.  We later heard from his wife that he was convinced that we were Jehovah´s Witnesses, haha!  We invited him to a family home evening Saturday night in the chapel along with two other brethen in the ward, in hopes that he would feel more comfortable in the building and form some friendships.  We taught an object lesson with cut outs of the Plan of Salvation, and he came right after we finished!  Again, being the determined hermanas we are, we reviewed the lesson again, and I think he really understood how important it is to keep the commandments in order to be with our families forever. We were so happy that he came and prayed that he would come to church the next day.  Sunday came, (yesterday) and we only saw the wife and children sitting in the chapel.  We felt a little down, but still had hope that he would remember the lesson.  A few minutes after the sacrament was passed, my companion whispered in my ear ¨He´s here!¨  He came and sat with his family, and we just watched with beaming faces as he listened to the speakers and sang the hymns with his family.  I will always remember yesterday as the day I first cried in Argentina!  It may seem like no big deal to some; seeing someone come to church.  But it was so amazing seeing all of these priesthood holders go immediately up to him after the meeting to welcome him.  He was smiling and seemed comfortable! 
Our branch is SO small, and we have big goals to help strengthen it little by little.  It was interesting watching everyone after church- it seemed like a slow motion moment, watching families with big smiles hugging and saying goodbye to each other.. sounds like any other Sunday, right? But  I felt like for a brief moment I was seeing every person as Heavenly Father sees us.  And I had this really strong familiar feeling, and I thought ¨This feels like home!  How can this be when I have only been here a week?¨ and then I realized that the Church feels the same all around the world because of the Spirit, and home feels like home because of the Spirit, so that is why Church feels like home!  (sounds like ¨if a=b and b=c then a=c¨, ha)  I am so grateful for the love of these branch members.  They have so much faith amidst their small numbers and have high hopes to edify and build up their kingdom!
I will try to take more photos of the area.  We are counseled not to bring our cameras around as we draw attention to ourselves, but I will try next Sunday to snap some shots of our church building and some other great things around here. 
I love you all so much!  I am sending letters and postcards this week.. they shouldn´t take more than a week or two, but I am sorry to say that I receive mail much after it arrives in ARG because I am an hour and a half away from the mission home.  Dear Elder does work though!!  You can send it via email or have it printed at the mission office for me.  Isn´t technology great?
Alma 7:23 
Love Hermana Miller

Hermana Garrett and I during our Thanksgiving feast! 

We had french toast for breakfast

For dinner we ate a packed lunch Hermana Giuliani made for all the missionaries at our training meeting on Wednesday = two ham and cheese sandwiches (I decided to toast them on the stove!) potato chips, orange juice, m&ms, and Alfejores= the chocolate round piece of goodness.  It´s their popular candy bar here, always in that shape. Lots of different flavors.  The best is the Oreo!

The gelato here is great.  We ordered and they delivered in ten minutes!!  Too convenient!  Must not make this a habit!  We ordered three flavors, dulce de leche, cookies and cream, and strawberry.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cañada de Gomez

¡Hola! ¿Como anda? ¿Que tal? ¿Como le va?
These are the greetings I hear everyday en la calle here in Cañada de Gomez, about an hour and a half west of Rosario.  Sometimes 3 phrases all strung together!  I love it here.  Oh my goodness, it is hard to describe how comfortable I feel in such an unfamiliar place.  It doesn´t feel surreal, finally I feel more like me, well the missionary me, and less of the shock that comes when first becoming a missionary. 
My companion is Hermana Garrett!  She is the sweetest, from Burely Idaho studying at Utah State.  This is her second time training and we are having a blast.  It is such a wonderful thing to work alongside someone who is always smiling and sharing something positive and uplifting!  We´ve had some good laughs already!
Let me tell you what this amazing place is like.  I feel like it´s a tropical East LA with a touch of Italy.  The outskirts of the pueblo have these vast campos/countrysides.  There is so much green here!  We already had one thunderstorm on Saturday, and I loved it.  Unfortunately we didn´t get the chance to walk in the rain because our ward missionary leader insisted on calling a ramis (taxi) for us to take us from his home to our pension (apt). 
This is what our schedule is like, a bit different from the Provo mission as we have to work around the siesta.
6:30 wake.  Go RUNNING OUTSIDE!  Ahhhh!  I am in love with the mornings here!  There are jacaranda trees everywhere, and all along the plaza!
7:00 breakfast, shower, prepare for the day.
8:00 2 hours of companionship study.  We discuss what we should teach the people we are going to see today and review gospel principles and scriptures.
10:30  Contacting (knocking on doors)  and teaching.
12¨30 lunch at a member´s home.  I have had fideos (noodles),  hamburguesa de Soja (soy) with veggies,  milanesa con arroz.  The lunch is the perfect size that we don´t need dinner.
2-4 Siesta, but not for us!  All the shops are closed, all the people go home to rest while we go home and do an hour of personal study and an hour of studying castellano (spanish. no, they don´t call it español here!)
The rest of the evening is spent knocking doors (oh, I mean CLAPPING in front of doors!!  SO COOL. Yup. ) and we don´t stop for dinner.  We might have a snack at home when we return at
9pm.  Return to the pench for planning and in bed by
Repeat.  Insert lots of prayers, small yet powerful miracles, funny chats with old people, dogs following us for hours, friendly youth who will take and read our pamphlets, not so friendly elderly who won´t let us finish our sentences,  half eaten birds on the ground, beautiful palms and oaks, horses tied up to old warehouses, train tracks, tin roofs, holes in walls, muddy roads, swollen feet, smiling faces belonging to two sister missionaries roughin´it in South America.
You guys, this is so awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Argentina Address!!

Here is Hillary's address in Argentina...

Sister Hillary Nicole Miller
Argentina Rosario Mission 
Blvd Argentina 7935
2000 Rosario
Santa Fe

XOXO Cousin Cara :)

Up, Up and Away...

Hello my lovely friends and family!  Here I am on BYU campus on my last P-Day as a Utah Provo missionary, and in a matter of hours I will be an Argentina Rosario missionary!!  I am so incredibly excited.  I was talking with a fellowshipper last night after a lesson and he said "There is a reason you had to wait so long for your Visa, and I think you know why!  You could have been at the MTC this whole time, but instead the Lord needed you here."  I know exactly what he was referring to - this fellowshipper brought along our recent convert Eric, to bear his testimony during our lesson with a soon to be baptized member.  Hearing Eric's testimony for the first time brought tears to my eyes!  Just a month ago he was at the waters of baptism, and now here he is helping out with missionary work!  I kept hearing this week "You were here for a reason!" and it reminds me of a story I heard at the MTC - I may or may not have already mentioned it here, but I think it is worth repeating.  Our choir director told us how Heavenly Father placed a star in orbit at the perfect time so by the time its light reached us on Earth it was the night of our Savior's birth.  He made this an analogy with our lives, our missions.  My companions and I were placed together here at this specific time in place to shine at a specific time to specific people!  Light has always been one of my favorite symbols in life.  "Let your light shine before men!"   I hope you can apply this metaphor to your lives - where are you right now?  What people do you see everyday who don't know of the gospel?  Who needs uplifting and encouragement and love?  We all have specific callings, abilities, and gifts that the Lord gave us in order to help other people realize the endless love He has for them.  He gave us talents in order to build up the kingdom of God!!  On Sunday we had a great lesson about the family, and our teacher shared a woman's personal revelation after days and days of helping out her new step children after just being married.  She heard something in her tell her "What you are doing is more than just cleaning and cooking.  Esta edificando un reino.= You are building a kingdom!"  In the past few days, I have received a greater understanding of the divine nature I have as a woman, and the divine nature my mother and grandmothers have.  They have been building me as a royal daughter of Heavenly Father, and one day I will do the same!  This is something I hope I can share with the people of Argentina - families are the best gift Heavenly Father has given us.  They are the safe haven, the school of learning, the refuge from the world, the place of comfort and love you can't find anywhere else.  I have seen many broken families here as well, and through my companions' testimonies and experiences I know that the Lord finds a way to find father and mother figures for those who do not have a stable family.  The Lord is always looking out for us!  We just have to do our part and believe it - how?  Faith - By keeping the commandments and working our hardest toward our goal to constantly edify ourselves and the people around us through our example. Hope - that amazing blessings are waiting for us, and only come when we believe in them and ask for them. 

I love you all so much.  If I could change anything that is about to come my way it would be that my mail could fly more swiftly into your hands!   Thank you for your love, prayers, and support!
xoxo Hermana Hillary Miller
photos -  the trio in front of the temple - our last temple trip together! 

Tommy's burgers - missionaries eat free!  We only went twice - probably better that way.  Reminded me of LA/NYC - little counter facing out to the window, small menu, one little chef.  Amazing onion rings.  On 100 North a little west of Freedom Blvd.

This family got baptized last month and we have been teaching their 18 year old daughter - she and I are going to keep in touch, she wants to work in the film industry one day in LA : )

(I think Hillary forgot to attach this picture)
The driveway from the house - I will miss these trees!

A Book of Mormon Story...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Anticipation, Take Two!! :)

Greetings from Provo!   Yup, I am still here.  I got a call from the office telling me that the process at the consulate takes longer than the MTC anticipated, so there are 15 other missionaries waiting along with me in the same boat. Sooo maybe this week?  Who knows, my apologies for crying wolf!  I know that things are moving forward at least : ) 
 I have been SO grateful for this last week here. There are a plethora of very vital things I needed to learn before going out to my Rosario.  On Tuesday I was feeling a little under the weather and had the time to reevaluate how I teach and basically the ways that I am a missionary.  I hold dear to my heart the helpful tips and constructive criticism from my companions - it feels like a bit of an awakening!  I hope to continue growing day after day as I have these past two months (exactly two months today!  Crazy!)  
Two more people this week decided they would like to be baptized this month!  I am so incredibly happy for them!!  Especially for one investigator we taught from the beginning, since the first time he came to church about 4 weeks ago.  He has SO much hunger and curiosity for doctrinal knowledge!  He will call us in the middle of the week asking us what certain scriptures mean.  This was particularly funny for us, he one night called with much confusion, "I am reading here in the Book of Mormon and the footnote says there is a scripture in the book of Moses... I have looked everywhere in the Bible and the Book of Mormon for ten minutes and I can't find it!"  I recognized his great enthusiam and remembered Elder Holland's words from a video we watched at the MTC - "Be your first convert. If they need to read the scriptures more deeply, then so do you!"  Hermana Montano challenged me to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon at the end of every one of our lessons. 
My love for the Book of Mormon has grown so much during these two months as a missionary.  I have come to realize how vital it is in strengthening my relationship with Heavenly Father.  I can tell you from experience that the words written in the Introduction are true when Joseph Smith says, "The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."  I now understand why it is so essential to read it every single day, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without it. It is incredible to finally feel a hunger for the scriptures, when I must admit I didn't have that huge drive to really know and understand everything they teach when I was younger.  It is such a wonderful thing to know that our Heavenly Father has given us something on which we can rely every single day - to help us have a more eternal perspective, to teach us how to be more Christ-like, and to give us optimism and excitement for the future that lies ahead if we work our hardest and keep the commandments.  

Photos - frost!  It is snowy off and on but hasn't stuck yet.  Hermana Brignone and I in the van on our way to our Sister's Activity - laser tag at Trifalga.  Hilariously fun.
I love you all!!  With love from Hermana Miller

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


 Hello all!  I am gearing up to go to Argentina, but I am not exactly sure when my departure date is - it could be the 3rd or the 4th!  It was pretty crazy when I finally got the phone call last Monday.  I became really emotional (read: lots of tears, I am still trying to get used to the fact that I am more of a cryer than I have ever been before!) 
Knowing I am leaving soon has caused me to reflect on not only how I have grown in this past month, but also how our investigators have grown.  There are two young men who are no longer interested in having us come over, which really makes me sad because I was hoping one specifically would be baptized after hearing him have a really spiritual experience happen to him.  But we must pick up and move on - I keep hearing that there are sometimes missionaries who plant the seed, and a different set of missionaries might have the chance to harvest something wonderful and fruitful down the road.  Everyone learns about the gospel at a different pace!  We also have new investigators that other Elders handed to us because the investigators preferred Sisters (one is a nine year old girl).  We have new people on date to be baptized which is so exciting!!  I wish I could be here for their baptism, but I am looking forward to being able to write them from Argentina and support them along their way as they strengthen their testimonies.
There were a few hard days for us too - and I learned something SO essential. "Where Can I Turn for Peace? Where is my solace when other sources cease to make me whole?" my solace is prayer to my Heavenly Father.  My prayers have changed SO much recently.  This week I had to pray really hard for our companionship to feel more happiness.  There are some personal conflicts and struggles that we as individuals can only do so much to help each other, and I had to just leave it to the hands of the Lord to help us.  It had to come from somewhere else, and the Lord definitely answered my prayer!  We are so grateful for the power of Priesthood Blessings - the authority given from God to our leaders in the church who by laying on of hands can bless us with amazing words of comfort that come from the Lord!! I wish I could give specifics, but I will just say that while I know there is only so much we can do to heal each other, in the meantime only good can come from LOVE. The answer is always love!  I have learned that I have to keep loving and loving and giving and giving no matter what, even if it hurts.  (Thanks Ryan K for that, you are so right!!)
My companions and I started making a list of things we needed to do before I left. AI lot of that included cooking and baking different things.  There is a really cool Mexican mercado just behind Smith's grocery store where we loaded up on a lot of good things to make.
 "abuelita" hot chocolate with bread for breakfast!  
OH yes, Halloween.  Happy Halloween!  They call it la noche de las brujas, or the night of the witches in Spanish.  We have a full P Day today, so we are watching Tangled (G7- finally I am seeing it!  so stoked!) and another movie tonight because it is not safe for us to go teach in the evening when there could be people dressing up as us! 
 Hopefully by next Monday/P Day I will be writing you from SOUTH AMERICA!!! Hopefully there will be a convenient way for you to send mail to me via SLC- "pouch service" I think is what it is called. I'll send more info when I can!
Shout out to my lovely Cat Card who just got engaged!!  And Congrats to Melanie and Jacob on their wedding! Wish I could be there!  Love you all!! 
Con amor, Hermana hillmill