Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Hello all!  We have another Pday (preparation day)  because it is not likely for us to have much success teaching on this holiday.  My companion and I are in Funes right now hanging out with Hermana Collins from Oregon and Hermana Tourtillout from Kansas (Tourtillout and I traveled together on the plane here).  We just finished playing some basketball, and later tonight Hermana Gerratt and I are going to watch a church movie and eat dinner with one of our investigators in the chapel.  

This week was pretty spectacular.  We decided to go visit a less active family, whose father we normally chat with, but this time we were able to have the mother open up to us and explain some things she is having a hard time understanding about the church.  We offered to come over on Friday and clean her patio (backyard) and they offered to cook us some asado after!  We LOVE doing service here because it really helps gain trust, and well, service is awesome anyway! Hna Gerratt and I ended up changing our schedule and asked if we could come on Wednesday instead.  When we arrived we discovered someone new had moved in, the mother´s aunt.  We visited with her and after lunch she really opened up to us and said that just the night before she was praying to know the Lord´s camino (path/way) ¨and then I met you!¨  Wow.  I love when people can make the connection that we are sent from the Lord before we tell them that yes, we truly are His messengers!  It was meant to be for us to come on Wednesday, because she was so open with us we felt inspired to ask to come on Friday and explain more about our Church. Yesterday she told us she loves her job as a caretaker because she knows that is what God wants her to do, it is her calling in life.  I asked her what her background is as far as being familiar with the Bible and how often she went to Church, and we were incredibly surprised to hear that she has never read the Bible and she has only gone to a church or two twice.  She sounded like she was born and raised in a Christian home!  It was such a testimony to me that the Lord speaks to his children in so many different ways, and that people can have so much faith and be so prepared to come unto Christ through baptism, and they don´t even know it!  She told us a lot more that was music to our ears, and the smile on her face when we told her that the Book of Mormon was hers to keep was so beautiful.  She thought she had to give it back after she was finished!  

I am loving the way the Lord works, how people cross our path and we help them find exactly what they need.  This way we can reanimate... (ok that is a spanish term... re-excite? re-enthuse? you get the idea)  the less active famliy while teaching their aunt!  I love this work!  

2012... can you believe it?!  I am going to be a missionary for ALL of 2012.  Crazy!  My New Year´s Resolutions are a lot different, and I feel like I have been making goals since September... but this will be good to have a landmark in my horizon to work toward!  I am imagining the type of missionary I would like to be in January 2013, and I hope I can get there!  I hope you all have a lovely New Year´s Eve and a Happy New Year.  It´s always been my favorite holiday.  If you know my family and our crazy tradition with the Rose Parade then you know why.  They are most likely on the route staking out their territory right now.  So proud. 

Feliz Año Nuevo!  I´ll be ringing in the new year with some fireworks (I´ll be watching, not firing them off, just fyi) and hamburgers!!  

xoxo hermana miller 

Monday, December 26, 2011

bah hum bug

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!   Our weekend was so great.  We started off by traveling to Funes on Friday night to stay with four other hermanas so we wouldn{t have to travel as far on early Saturday morning to Rosario for our Christmas Conference.  We Hermanas wanted to make things festive, so we decided to spice up our contacting by going caroling!  Just fyi,  Argentines have NO idea what caroling is, unless they have seen it in an American Christmas movie.  At first we couldn{t believe the number of people who said [No thanks, I don{t want to hear anything from you! We{re not religious[  My companion wouldn{t let that fly, she said something like [dos minutos, nada mas![ (two minutes, nothing more!) and had us start singing.  I think we saw a handful of Scrooges and Grinches turn into happy Buddy the Elf {s that night.  It is incredible how a simple Christmas hymn can put a smile on a face that was pretty grumpy minutes beforehand!  We even had a lady film us on her camera, and another had tears in our eyes.  I know without a doubt that they were feeling more than the spirit of Christmas while we were singing! 

The conference was wonderful.  We heard talks by President and Hermana Giuliani and our Assistants to the President.  I really loved La Hermana{s message about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  In Luke when the angel Gabriel visits Mary, she is told not to have fear.  Hermana Giuliani told us hermanas in a separate meeting that morning to remember to never have fear and never be desanimadas (hmmm... meaning.. defeated/down?).  She knows there are so many things we worry about - our investigators, our number of lessons we teach, the number of people we find and contact, how effective our studies are, how good our castellano (Spanish) is, what kind of missionary we will be when we are finishing our mission, what we will do when we get home... and above all of these preoccupations we need to rely on the Lord.  I am learning the amazing power that comes when one prays to know the will of the Lord.  We have the agency to pray for whatever it is we want, and with our faith and actions we can receive answers - this we all know.. but something even more powerful and humbling is when one asks the Lord to know what is His will, and to pray to have the ability to accept it and do according to it.  To place his desires in front of ours is a miraculous way that the Lord can some day fulfill our biggest dreams. We have to remember to not have fear and to never give up! 

Love you all!  

Hermana Miller 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

seek = find

Hello!!  Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic week.  Here it has been extremely humid and hot, I am quite proud of my farmer{s tan, watch tan, and sister missionary maryjane shoes tan.  

On Saturday we had a baptism!  Jorge, whom I mentioned a few weeks ago when he finally started coming to church, followed his wife{s example and was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church.  Our next goal is to help this wonderful family go to the temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity in one year.  

This week we had some pretty spiritual experiences with a new investigator.  She is a woman who left her husband and moved from Cordoba with her 11 year old son back into her parents{ old home here in Cañada de Gomez.  She lost everything and has so much faith that God will help her get through this.  She has big plans to open up a panaderia or some sort of shop where she can sell comida casera (homemade food) right from her home.  (Something I love about Argentina pueblos, they have kioscos and little negocios right adjacent to people{s homes in the middle of a barrio.  You can get your groceries without having to go all the way into the centro!)  We told her that if she reads the Book of Mormon and prays to our Heavenly Father that she will find a way to pay her bills, feed herself and her son, have furniture, and make her dreams come true.  We taught her how to pray and asked her to offer a prayer.  This is standard for missionaries to do, and I have been anxious to have this experience here in Argentina ever since I watched some examples from the Preach My Gospel DVDs we watch during companion study (The church made a documentary called The District where they followed missionaries in two different missions and captured real teaching experiences.)  The examples in the DVD were really powerful: the missionaries asked their investigators to specifically pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. With this woman we simply told her how we pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and that she can ask for anything specific in the middle.  We let her pray for whatever she felt she should pray for.  When we all knelt and waited for her to begin her prayer, I was expecting her to be a little timid, as most people are when they first offer a vocal prayer in front of us... but she completely blew us away!  I was pleasantly surprised and extremely touched when she said [Please tell me, Lord, if this book is true, and if these hermanas are truly your servants that you have sent to me[   WOW.  She prayed for exactly what we were hoping she would be asking!  I think she has been praying all along to know if what we are teaching is true and was humoring us when we taught her how to pray.  It was a beautiful moment, and I will always remember her sincere pleading, not only for strength, but also her sincere gratitude for what she did have. 

 Prayer is an incredible thing.  I am learning to pray more specifically and more diligently.  The Lord in many ways already knows what are desires are, but once we honestly express to him in vocal prayer with humility and faith, amazing things start to happen.  We may not get our answer right away, but we do come into an alignment with the will of the Lord.  Whatever it is He feels needs to happen in my life, I will feel at peace because I am exercising my faith.  Sometimes I have to learn this principle time and time again, to be patient with the Lord{s timeline.  But when I finally am in accordance with his will, everything around me makes so much sense.  I feel like I can brace myself and bear my trials in a way I never thought I could before. We cannot overcome our obstacles alone.  Another beautiful thing I learned is that the Lord will not allow us to have a trial we cannot overcome!  When a conflict arises and at first it feels overwhelming and too much for us to handle, all we have to do is step back and think, I can do this!  The Lord placed this in front of me for a reason, this will make me stronger in the end.  Then we press forward with faith and even though it will be hard, it will be possible.  It will be more than possible, it will be fulfilling. 

1 Nephi 10:19  For he that diligently seeketh shall find

I love you all so much.  There are times throughout my day when I see something that reminds me of home (which is a stretch, there isn{t too much that does at times.. its often an American song playing from a remis driving by, or an American brand on a T shirt) and I am reminded of how blessed I am to have had such great memories with such wonderful friends and family.  I hope you can step back and look at where you life is right now and remember to rely on the Lord in all things.  Our Savior sacrificed his life so that we can rise to our highest potential!  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!  

xoxo hermana miller 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

El Libro de Mormon, in action!

We had a missionary activity this Saturday which was really fun!  We split everyone up into three different groups and acted out different stories from the Book of Mormon, the story of Nephi and Laban, the story of Moroni and the Title of Liberty, and Samuel the Lamanite.  We dressed up, of course.  Bed sheets can do wonders!

I hope we all remember the reason for the season!  In a lot of the store windows we see Feliz Fiestas! written instead of Feliz Navidad, and it is sad to hear that a lot of the people here just Bbq together on the 25th and shoot off fireworks all night (sounds like the fourth of july!) We must remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He came to this Earth to live and die for us, and I know He lives!  Last night Hermana Gerratt and I watched The Testaments in our pench on our little dvd player.  It was so powerful seeing Christ come to the Americas, walk among the people, invite all the little children to come to him, and heal the sick and weary.  Whenever we explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to people on the street or in lessons, I have the easiest example of how important He is to us, I point to my name tag and say: Mira este nombre aqui! Look at this name right here! It is the largest part of our name tag for a reason, because He is the head of the Church!  We must never forget Him.  I am learning more and more each day the importance of perserverar hasta el fin, or enduring to the end.  It is so important that we rejoice in Christ in all that we do!  Some people that we are teaching do not understand what it means to put God first.  There are blessings waiting for us if we remember to take upon the name of Christ in all that we do.  A lot of people learning about the gospel don{t understand what it means to take upon the name of Christ.  I use a futbol analogy (everything is taught easier with futbol analogies, I learned this in Provo with a handful of Mexican youngsters who didn{t really care for our traditional lessons)  I tell people to imagine that when they get  baptized and take upon the name of Christ, they are putting on an imaginary jersey that says Christ{s name on it, and from that point on they are on Christ{s team and must do all they can everyday to make him proud, to play our hardest in the game of life!  This scripture I think explains it   2 Nephi 31:20

Por tanto, debeis seguir adelante con firmeza en Cristo, teniendo un folgor perfecto de esperanza y amor por Dios y por todos los hombres.  Por tanto, si marchais adelante, deleitandoos en la palabra de Cristo, y perseverais hasta el fin, he aqui, asi dice el Padre: Tendreis la vida eterna.  

PS, I just read this in our weekly newsletter.  Hermana Giuliani, the mission president{s wife, included this fact from the Friend magazine regarding Christmas traditions around the world: 

Las familias en Argentina encienden globos de papel en forma de diamante la Noche de
Navidad y los dejan que se vayan flotando en el aire durante la noche.

If you know castellano and you have seen the movie Tangled, then you should be as excited as I am.  If you don{t know castellano but you have seen the movie Tangled, then you can probably guess what it is that is so exciting!   If you haven{t seen Tangled, regardless of what language you know, shame on you.  Ok ok I{ll tell you... they light lanterns and let them float up in the air!  
Reason #56 why this mission is meant for me.  Thank you, Argentina! 

Besos, Hermana Miller 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nearer My God To Thee

Hola mis queridos amigos y familiares!  I have to say I am sorry I
have more photos of food than I do of the area!  I bring out my camera
every Sunday, so eventually I will have more to show you!  At least
you know that I am well fed : )

My companion and I had two really special experiences this week
regarding the power of the Book of Mormon.  In the past few weeks we
have not had much success while contacting on the street or knocking
(read clapping) on doors. We had a hard day on Wednesday, a lot of our
set citas fell through and I remember praying for us to have our
spirits lifted and begin again the next day.  On Thursday I took with
us an extra Book of Mormon to hand out, usually Hermana Gerratt would
carry one but I decided I needed to carry my own so it would be a
constant reminder that we have a goal to hand one out by the end of
the day!  We met this lady in front of her house who was so friendly,
as many Argentines are, but I had this really distinct feeling to
share more with her even though she told us ¨I am a believer but I
don{t practice.  I worhip God when I have time at home.  She also
mentioned that she didn{t have time to go to church with all the
running errands for her children and cooking and cleaning..  we could
tell she was going through a stressful time.  I asked her if I could
give her something, and I pulled out the Book of Mormon.  I explained
to her that by reading it one can feel so much more peace!  Similar to
the Bible, it testifes of Jesus Christ{s life sacrifce and love for
us.  I showed her the photos in the front, and she had this expression
of curiosity on her face.  She said, ¨Thank you, but I..¨¨ and I told
her it was a gift, a free gift, and she raised her eyebrows with
surprise and grasped it carefully in her hands and said, ¨Thank you so
much. I love literature!  I read everything and everything!¨ I
promised her that she would feel more peace while reading it, and
before I could say more, tears started falling down her face, she
nodded and kept saying thank you thank you thank you, clutching the
book to her heart.

Yesterday we were out contacting a street that Hermana Gerratt had not
been to in a while (she has been serving in Cañada de Gomez since
August) and we passed by a sweet old man sitting on his steps with his
little dog in his lap.  He greeted us and we crossed the street to
visit him, quickly discovering that he could not speak- his vocal
chords were removed (I think) and he had a hole in his neck.  We were
able to understand some things that he mouthed, and everything else he
wrote out whenever our guesses were wrong.  I asked him if he liked to
read, and he mouthed ¨Poco, poco.¨  and made a little pinch sign with
his fingers.  We chatted a little more and I thought ¨We need to give
him a Book of Mormon even if he says he doesn{t like to read, I just
feel it!¨  So I took out a copy and explained to him that Jesus Christ
loves him and feels his pain, and after this life he will be healed
and will be able to speak and talk! (He also suffers from a blood
disease, his blood vessels burst when he walks.)  I handed him the
book and said ¨¨This book is a gift especially for you¨  and he looked
at us in surprise and said thank you and started crying, and then I
started crying!  que verguenza, I have never broke down like that in
front of a stranger.  He hugged the book and kept saying thank you.

I will never forget these experiences, to see complete strangers have
a connection with a book they have never seen before, and in the
instant they hold it, they feel something. Never before have I seen
such a testimony of the power of this Book, these two people hadn{t
even read a single verse from it and they felt its power.  I learned a
lot of things this week, and I{d like to share one more concept that I
find so vital  I feel that you should hear it as well.  In a past zone
conference Elder Arnold of the 70 told the missionaries in the mission
here that Personal Study of the Scriptures is necessary everyday in
our lives. If we want the protection of angels around us, then we have
to do it.  Our salvation depends on it.  Studying the scriptures, I
will be honest, was not something I loved to do growing up or even in
recent years.  I have learned this past year how vital it is to read
the Book of Mormon everyday. It brings us closer to God by abiding by
its precepts than by any other book.  It is more than just reading it
and knowing what commandments to follow and understanding the history
of these ancient prophets.  The act of sincere daily study allows the
window of personal revelation to open to us, and we need that personal
revalation daily.  Powerful stuff right?  I am definitely making
resolutions to study harder every day, even after my mission!

I hope you all are well!  I love and miss you all! It feels like
Christmas in July here!  Even though we don{t hear Christmas songs in
the street, I see fake Christmas trees and Santa statues in random
places... and I{m wearing sunscreen and shortsleeved blouses.  Que

besos y abrazos,  hermana miller

We ate churros in Funes, a city next to Rosario, after our special P
Day last week with the zone.  Funes has nice landscaping, cute little
houses and shops... reminds me a bit of South Pas!  The churros were
fresh with dulce de leche inside, sorry to say they put Disneyland{s
churros to shame!!

I made omelettes for us for our Sunday meal yesterday.. they turned out 
pretty well for having an old pan that burns everything in the middle!

Walking home from church... this dog followed us ALL day.  I named him
Blazer... during a door contact I heard a noise behind me so I turned
around to discover him digging profusely in a pile of sand, and then
jumping around in it and barking.  Easily amused.

Alfajor.  Not the kind found in a wrapper.  This was from the bakery
section in the supermercado.  Tastes like two dry sugar cookies with
dulce de leche in the middle.  Pretty good!