Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tomorrow is transfers, and as of now we still do not know the details!  I am going to miss Hermana Gerratt so much... but we both know that this next transfer is inspired by the Lord, and whomever we are placed to work with next will bring a lot of great learning experiences!  It is a really special thing to have the Lord help me recognize the specific reasons why I was placed with all the companions I have had thus far. Let the adventure continue! 

  Yesterday gave me a lot of things to think about.  We visited some member families and recent converts to say goodbye even though we do not know which one of us is leaving.. quite the awkward circumstance because one of us will be seeing them again, but nevertheless still very necessary por la duda (just in case).  It ended up being a really beautiful experience for me.  My companion Hermana Gerratt has been here for six months, and she has such a great love for the people here. There is something very special about the way people send you off with love-  instead of just a hug and a [good luck with everything![ they will hold you and say the most sincere and beautiful words while our cheek touches theirs.  One couple, the Gomez family, gave us a parting gift after we took pictures with them.  Hermana Gomez held me tight and wished me to be safe, to have blessings in all my days, and to have the Lord protect me and give me happiness.  Her husband was in tears and couldn{t even speak, and she soon after started to cry.  I also saw a really sweet connection between one of my favorite member families here, the Bustamante{s, and two elders who just ended their mission and came to visit yesterday before flying home. Hermana Bustamante told us she sees them as her own sons, and cried and cried when they came and left.  I especially loved hearing hear express such great appreciation for one of the elders who when serving here could barely speak the language, [even though he couldn{t understand us you could see he had such a sweet spirit and a good heart![  That meant a lot to me, and I especially loved seeing their excitement hearing this elder speak beautiful castellano with an awesome accent.  It really gave me something to think about, seeing the connection between these people and these wonderful missionaries who have year(s) more experience in the mission than me.  It gave me a bit of a preview of what it might be like when I will leave an area or go home, and how much the people really love missionaries.

xoxo hermana miller 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Right now Hermana Gerratt and I are in Rosario at a cyber (internet café) a few blocks away from el monumento de la bandera, the monument of the Argentina Flag! It is beautiful, and we walked along the Paraná river for a bit as well.
We found out last week that she is training again and that I will have a new companion next transfer (Feb 1) but we don´t know who is staying in Cañada de Gómez.  It is a bit nerve racking and we are trying to make the most of our last weeks together, so we decided to live it up and come out here to see the city!
A little food for thought;  we just received the January revista of the Liahona (a church magazine that publishes inspiring talks by our church leaders, including our prophet and president of the church Thomas S Monson and the 12 Apostles)  and Hermana Gerratt and I were so excited to finally read it!  As we flipped through the pages during our personal study after church, we were pleasantly surprised to find page after page filled with inspiring words perfect for our investigator who has been going through a rough bit struggling with having a positive attitude during some struggles.  We read the talk by President Monson about living the abundant life, as well as the talk about the Book of Mormon, ¨giving us our daily bread¨, and finding the hand of the Lord in the blessings we are given each day. These were all themes we had discussed with this woman, and she also expressed having a hard time believing in a latter day prophet, so this was a speedy answer to our prayers to show her an example that the prophet gives us inspired words of comfort from the Lord, specifically to help us in the here and now in the last days.  We were pretty stoked to hand her tangible evidence of a true and living prophet just hours after reading his words.  The hands of the Lord are in this work!  He is looking out for each of his children, and it is my responsibilty as a missionary to recognize it so we can help the people here see that He loves them and wants them to endure to the end during their struggles.   
By the way,  thank you so much for the Christmas cards!  I have put all of your photos on my wall to give me a daily reminder of some of the beautiful friends and family I have!!
Chau!  xoxo  hermana miller

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Worth It

Today we had a special PDay with our zone.  Here we are wearing the shirts one elder made for us.  We ate asado (bbq) with some homemade bbq sauce  and ranch dressing too!  I am quite impressed with what these Elders can cook and make out here on the mission.  We played some volleyball and did an egg toss.  Pretty hilarious!  

On Sunday yesterday we had an investigator come to church for her first time!  Hermana Gerratt first found her back in October, and she was never able to come to the chapel because she was always out of town working Sundays-Fridays.  Luckily she is off work this week, so we are taking the advantage of teaching her more than just on Saturday mornings!  I was not able to hear this personally because I was sitting with our other investigators (it´s always a wonderful victorious feeling for a companionship when we have to split up and sit with different people during sacrament meeting!!)  but Hermana Gerratt told me that this lady said ¨I woke up with a stomach ache this morning and almost didn´t come, but then I remembered you missionaries and knew I had to come!  And now that I am sitting here I can feel that sick feeling going away!  I feel better already!¨ Look how the Lord works and blesses us when we follow the commandments!  I have a testimony of my own experiences from having a lot of work during college that when you put the Lord first he will make your day and your week so much better.  

Sidenote- we also had TWICE as many people in our chapel today than we usually do.  It felt so wonderful to see almost all of the benches occupied.  It´s been interesting to see the different things that make me feel joyful now which would have given me a little bit of gladness if I had noticed them before being a missionary. My perspective is growing and it never ceases to amaze me.  It´s a HUGE feeling of joy when I see baby steps closer to our goals for this branch!

I also am coming to understand why missionary work is hard.  I´m not referring to the sweaty achy days with humidity and bug bites with no contacts or no Book of Mormons passed out or no lessons taught.  I´m referring to the hard days when we see people make wrong choices, the days when people can´t see the love God has for them, the days when they don´t understand why this gospel is not only important but is so incredibly worth it.  Sometimes people want life to be all roses and no thorns, some don´t want to endure to the end because they don´t think they will make it to the happiness at the end of the finish line, or they don´t think the happiness exists at all.  I learned this from reading an amazing talk by Elder Holland, the title of which I cannot think of at the moment, but he says something along the lines of ¨a mission is not easy because salvation is not easy either.¨  All the disappointment and heartache is part of life.  Every life holds challenges, ugly surprises, trials, disappointments, and sadness.  I´ve realized that being a missionary you get a lot of looks into other people´s ¨stuff¨ in life, so it´s highly saturated for us... but the amazing thing about it all is that at the end of a hard day I can still end up feeling love from my Heavenly Father that he has for me, for my companion, and for our investigators, whether it be in a beautiful sunset over the campo, a silly joke from my awesome companion, or a little miracle in a investigator´s life that reminds me that everything we do here in Cañada de Gomez is so incredibly worth it

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  As of yesterday I have been here for two whole months.  I can´t believe it!  It feels like it has been one month.  Is the time flying for you?  Are you taking up every moment to make 2012 the best year yet?  I hope you are.  I hope you are enduring to the end and not giving up and remembering to keep looking toward that happiness that lies ahead if the thorns of life scratch you up every once in a while.  The roses are still there.  I promise you. 

con gran amor,  hermana miller : ) 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy 2012

Happy 2012!!  

I don{t know where to start, there are so many things to talk about!  I can{t stop thinking about our two investigators, a single mom and her eleven year old son, who are progressing so much. This woman{s attitude has changed so much since she has learned to have more faith and look for the good things around her amidst her heavy burdens she is enduring right now.  I feel so incredibly happy when I see her smiling and laughing, because for a while it was hard for her to feel anything but frustrated and angered.  I am seeing before my eyes someone being changed from the gospel.  She is coming to Christ through her faith, which is not only believing, but actively searching through the scriptures and praying and coming to Church!  This past week is filled with little yet powerful things that she has either said or done that has really fortified my testimony of conversion.  One of my favorite things she told us was when she finished reading Alma 40 in the Book of Mormon which talks about where we go after we die... and she told us that this chapter would be perfect for her friend who is going through a hard time having lost both of her parents, and she is thinking of photocopying the chapter and sending it to her!  My companion and I cheer her on for her desire to share the gospel with others.  Hermana Garrett and I sometimes chuckle thinking how this woman with her little doubts and questions doesn{t realize how she is basically helping us do missionary work- she even defended our Church when she went to the municiplidad (the city) and was chatting with some workers.

There is so much more I could say about this woman, but typing it out cannot do it justice! My apologies.  

It has been incredibly hot these past couple of days, and yet my companion and I continue to walk out with strength and energy.  If you know me pretty well then you know that I don{t function very well in the heat.. correction:  before my mission and before being set apart as a missionary I didn{t function very well in heat.  I am constantly reminded of the great power of our Heavenly Father and his ability to help us do the work, and we in return try to help Him find the souls that need to recognize His grand love!  I am constantly blessed.

Here are some other photos from last week, playing ball in Funes (the other sister missionary with me is Hermana Collins, her name is Hilary!  She and her comp are a blast.)  And our view of the fireworks from the roof!  

Love you all.  Thank you for your letters.  They mean the world to me.  

xoxo hermana miller