Friday, December 26, 2014

Skyping with Maryandra was so much fun!!!  She called us on December 24 at 6:30 pm, which was Christmas morning for her!  We all talked to her separately and together, and got to hear about the current miracles she is experiencing, and a little about the missionary conference they held in her mission on Christmas Eve, which had been yesterday for her.  Here is a photo one of the members took of all the missionaries at one time during the conference!  Can you pick out where Maryandra is?  :-)

She is way to the front and right, wearing a tan coat,  and is very close to President and Sister Wada in the photo, but kind of behind a sister in a maroon sweater. 

Anyway, talking to Maryandra was so much better than reading any e-mail, so here are some photos of her, talking to us!!!  That is all we will put in the blog this week.  We know she had a wonderful Christmas, and we will get the e-mail about the details on the weekend.  In the mean time, we hope everyone had a Merry Christmas like we did!!!  

It was certainly hard to say good bye to her!  But, after over an hour of talking to us, she needed to let us go and head off to an appointment!!!  :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 Maryandra had an exhausting but wonderful week of enjoying the holidays as a missionary!  She found that the Spirit is so strong and sweet this time of year! Here are some excerpts:
. . . .
But my favorite part of that time of the day was when we were on the
train going to oizumigakuen, to catch a bus to kichijoji, and who
should we meet, but a Japanese lady who was speaking English with her
daughter. And not just any kind of English. No! This was the
hard-core, refined, dignified English of Great Britain! She said she'd
lived in England for most of her life, and her family lives on
oizumigakuen, and her daughter was going to an English kindergarten,
and they were just on their way home, etc. and she had genuine
interest in the Christmas party, and she liked that we were
missionaries, and wanted to know the name of our church, and where it
was located, and stuff! It was fantastic! We all got off the train
together with bright, happy smiles in our faces, every one of us,
except the lady's daughter, who may have fallen asleep. But it was

Well, so far today, we've done a fun study, and just finished lunch.
During companionships study, we got side tracked, like the typical us,
and started reminiscing about our MTC districts. Sigh. I really miss
them all so much. I still can't believe that was a whole year ago!
Wow! I'm officially an old missionary now! I don't feel like it, not
usually, anyway, but by all standards, I've officially entered the
ranks of the oldies, at least as far as sisters are concerned. Yikes!
It's so crazy! But kind of cool. Know what I mean?
LETTERS FROM THE SCOUTS!!!!! I have all the letters taped up on my
wall! It made me soooo happy! I loooooved the package! Horrocks Shimai
was pleased at getting a present from you as well, and she and the
other sisters gladly accepted when I split the candy spoils with them!
Yay! Since I don't know what any of my presents are yet, I have to say
my favorite part of the package was my AWESOME STOCKING!!!! Oh man, I
looooove it! Too bad it didn't make it here yesterday. Then, I could
have used it for my honbu stocking. But that's okay. I got another one
from Daiso, which will serve just fine. I get two stockings this year!
Yay! I've already bonded well with my lovely purple one. I'll have to
name it or something.

We had great
success at the recycle shop in oizumigakuen! Yay! I got 2 toasty
light-weight coats, and and a warm sweater, all for ¥3500!!! Cool,
huh! And they're pretty stylish, too! And they're excellent quality!
American eagle brand, baby! Yeah! Awesome, in my opinion! Anyway, we
are at the station's bakery after that, and Horrocks Shimai started a
conversation with this lady that was sitting near her (***I'm so proud
of her! She almost never initiates the conversations! She did it, and
did it good!***) and we invited her to eikaiwa, and she actually said
her friend who had passed away used to go to our eikaiwa. Small world,
huh? And the lady got all excited when Horrocks Shimai told her her
first name, Abbie. She asked if it was the same spelling as the title
of her favorite TV show, which is, would you be surprised, Downton
Abbey! And since both Horrocks Shimai and I love that show as well, we
had a pretty good conversation with this lady! It was pretty cool! The
Lord sure has an interesting way of preparing His children, doesn't

When we went caroling,
the original person we wanted to carol wasn't home, so we
went and bang! Bang! Bang! Did four nearby members in under an hour,
singing "away in a manger" to all of them, and they all loved it! We
even got a few thank you presents, such as candy, and
postcard/pictures of temples to use in our dendo! Cool, huh?
But the coolest thing, to me, anyway, is what happened when we were
just finishing the last person, and this random man yells "excuse me!"
To me. Unsure as to whether he was safe to talk to or not, I pretended
not to hear him as I got my bike ready to go. But then he came up to
me, and he said "Would you like some bananas?"
Unbeknownst to everyone else, I had been kind of frustrated that we
had run out of bananas that morning because I did't want to stop
eating them until I was for sure all the way healthy again. And
I'd been feeling kind of depressed because I wanted to just go home
and rest, but I hesitantly
accepted some bananas, and stuttered my thanks, a little weirded out,
but thankful to no end that Heavenly Father was willing to answer to
the whims of one of his complaining, 20 year old brats. It turned out
that this man, is a member of the English Second
Ward, so he knew exactly who we were, and he was happy we were out
doing the work! I was grateful for and humbled by, once again, the
accuracy and perfection of Heavenly Father's timing. It made the bike
ride home more pleasant for me:)

. . .
I wasn't in too great of
a mood before starting out on our last minute errands, because I was
cold and hungry, and really tired but I was feeling great by the time
they were done. Here's the reason why...
So, it turns out that when we visited a certain sister for her birthday,
she hadn't been able to have any sort of fun for herself, and was so
happy and grateful when we gave her a note and a chocolate! I felt a
lot warmer when we left her house than when we had started our journey
by bike, and I get the feeling it wasn't the long bike ride up the
After that, we stopped at the church, took a picture of a hymn we
could sing, and after a discouraging search, found this family's
house. Here's the cool thing about that.
We had literally just decided to quit and go home, and I felt sad,
even though I really wanted to go home, so I looked around...and
realized I recognized this street! And the house we were standing in
front of was one I recognized. I told this to Horrocks Shimai, and she
looked at the kanji. Lo and behold, we had found it! So, we rang the
doorbell, and were, surprisingly, invited in, and got to meet them,
both the husband and wife, and her dad. He is the
funniest, most adorable and genki little ninety year old man either of
us has ever met! And he spoke pretty good English to boot, which was
crazy! And when we sing our carol, Silent Night, he told us he felt
really happy, and in his heart, he could feel it was the true
Christmas season! It just warmed the both of us right up! It was way
cool! We enjoyed our ride home much, much more than we would have had
we given up and just gone home! Yay! Thanks to the spirit, we made a
great memory! It was great!
Okay, but I saved the best part for last! So, while we were at the
church looking up addresses and stuff, I got a surprise phone call
from the Hachioji sisters. Thinking it was probably sister reeves,
Horrocks Shimai had me call, but lo and behold, it was Sister
Brown from New Zealand! And she told me the coolest thing ever! AAHH,
Okay, so do you remember the investigator I had in Hachioji?
He was an eternal investigator, been investigating for fifty
plus years. And recently, he'd been sick and had to go to the
hospital. While there, the elders visited him and gave him a
priesthood blessing. He was healed, and changed from that moment
onward. The next time he saw the missionaries, he told them "okay. I'm
ready! I want to be baptized! I want to feel the spirit like I did
when I got the blessing! I want to hold the priesthood! I, ready! I
want to keep the word of wisdom," etc, etc. and GUESSS
MOOOONNNNTH!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOO!!!!!! I can't tell you how
excited it made me! Oh my gosh, I was speechless when I heard! Holy
cow! No way! YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So from what I put in from the 9 page e-mail Maryandra sent, I hope you can tell
that she is back into the swing of things since being sick, and enjoying 
the Christmas season on her mission now!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finally Maryandra sent her e-mail!!!
We got 3 weeks of e-mail on Sunday night, and when I moved it to her document file, it was 31 pages long!!!  This was the view from her window, and some other flowers that someone brought to Maryandra to brighten her existence in the hospital!
We were pretty shocked by some of the things Maryandra wrote about those first days as she went to the hospital on November 17.  Here is an excerpt that describes her ambulance ride to the hospital, etc:
So, reeves Shimai and I were still feeling as awful as heck, and wondering when we were ever going to feel better. I had managed to eat one Apple slice that day, so I had a tiny bit more energy, and thought I could maybe, finally, go and brush my teeth. As I pulled my self up to reach my toothbrush, and saw my face in the mirror, I nearly soiled my pants!  I looked scary! I looked like death, I thought. Dark purple rings around both eyes, which had become sunken and sore. My cheeks were hollow, my face was pale and colorless, and my lips were red and chapped, because I just couldn't get, let alone keep in enough fluids. I just couldn't believe a living person could look like that. Still, I managed to brush my teeth semi okay, and crawled back to the small couch.  
After some point that day, reeves Shimai and I were feeling just as bad as ever.  We all just got fed up and called sister Wada again. She was surprised that we weren't feeling better and said "Okay. Maybe you need to go to the hospital."  I don't remember exactly how it played out, but we heard an ambulance pull up outside our house. I was once again making my way out of the bathroom, and I saw paramedics standing in our eating/sitting room, talking with the other sisters. After I had once again settled on the couch, they started asking me questions. Due to dehydration, build up of phlegm or whatever in my throat and repeated vomiting, my voice for the last several days had been rather restricted, so I had to struggle to speak, and it was difficult for me to get what they were saying. But in the end, we were all put into the ambulance. Sister reeves made it with some assistance, but I couldn't raise myself off the couch without becoming severely dizzy and exhausted, so they had me scoot onto this mat thing with straps on it, and the three paramedics carried me down the stairs, outside, and put me on a stretcher, which they lifted into the ambulance after strapping me in. I was too weak to do anything but lay there like a rag doll. We had to wait for a few minutes for them to get everything they needed, and the other sisters all in as well, before heading off. It was painful laying flat with my reflux already acting up, and I felt like I was going to throw up, so they elevated me a little bit. Thankfully, I did not throw up. But I just remember that after we were finally underway, at some point thinking "I feel like it's going to be okay. I got a blessing yesterday. And I'm going to the hospital. Whatever happens, I'm going to be okay."

When we got to the hospital, they let out the other sisters, put reeves Shimai in a wheelchair, and took me out on the stretcher. We were brought inside, and I was painstakingly moved from the stretcher to a wheelchair, where we had to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes. It was awful for both of us, and at different points, we each had to be wheeled to the bathroom by Funakura Shimai. I didn't have the capacity to sit up straight, so I spent the time holding my barf bag, and trying to support my head between my knees, or else slouching to one side or the other, with my head resting on my shoulder. But finally, we were brought in, and checked over. They let reeves Shimai lay down, because she was feeling more nauseous and had just thrown up again. They took her blood, and I saw it coming for me as well, and was afraid I would get even more nauseous. But I think I was too feeble to even care. They had to stick my left elbow three or four times, and then gave up and found a suitable vein in my hand. They'd already put an IV in my right hand, before I vaguely remembered that that was the better arm.  They brought us into the next room, which had curtained off beds for us to wait and rest. I settled gratefully onto the bed, and the other sisters sat close by me and reeves Shimai. Eyring Shimai kept telling me I was starting to look better. My eyes were "moving," and looking more normal already. I was starting to get a bit of color back in my cheeks, etc. which was good to hear. I'd noticed in the hospital bathroom that my face looked even scarier than before. But I felt so calm there, in the hospital bed, knowing that, at last, everything was being taken care of. At one point, a doctor came and told me that my companion was going to be able to leave that night, but because my kidney function had dipped so low, if I didn't improve soon, I might have to go on dialysis. Therefore, I would probably be staying at the hospital for a day or two. But I just nodded and said okay. I was too tired to be worried, and I thought, no it doesn't sound pleasant, but Whatever it takes to get me better.  A couple more things were done, and amidst it all, Sister Wada showed up! She just brightened me up with her presence! Oh, that blessed woman is an angel! She was so relieved to see us there, and just asked some questions, talked with the other sisters, etc. She sat with me on my side of the curtain petition until I fell asleep. Then, I think she went to take care of some business items. At some time close to midnight, a nurse came and woke me up so we could go to another floor for some testing, to take a picture of my stomach. Wada Shimai met us as we were coming back, and I was wheeled to my hospital room. After using the bathroom again, I was settled in, poor Wada Shimai stayed to fill out some paperwork, and after saying a prayer with me, she left and I fell asleep. So there, that's the Monday from heck, probably the worst pday I've ever had. And hopefully, the worst one I ever will. Gluh. It really helped to have Wada Shimai there, but I must say, it was really weird to sleep by myself for the first time in almost a year.

So in a matter of days, Maryandra had gone from this photo above, to this photo below.  And that was after some major hydration!  We've never seen her with such sunken in eyes!
At some point on Monday, November 25, it got a little more critical, since Maryandra had not been able to keep anything down for so long. Here is another excerpt:
Well, shoot, I just realized how pessimistic and self centered I've been being! Nobody wants to read a sob story like that! I'd been feeling really homesick the last few days, and perhaps that's what was killing my appetite. I was also feeling like I didn't want to be a missionary anymore, which is a horrible, horrible thing to think. But today, I feel better. I'll tell you what happened. After throwing up again this morning (it's no wonder this time, since I ate dairy, the only thing I was willing to touch) I was feeling a little better, sickness-wise, but then I was hooked up to a second tube that runs through the same IV as my other one, and told that I wasn't eating enough to keep in the nutrients, so they were going to just give it to me through the IV. And then sister Wada popped in! She was amazing as always, but after talking to the doctors, she told me, bluntly and boldly, that I NEEDED TO EAT THE HOSPITAL FOOD OR I WAS GONNA DIE!!!!! Of course it was an exaggeration, but it got my attention, and I determined to try again. She could see it had scared me though, and she told me she was sorry, but the reason she'd used "hard words" was because the missionary medical department was saying that if my condition wasn't improving, I was going to have to be sent home. That sent an icy shaft right into my heart, and I realized right then and there how stupid I was.

Well, Wada Shimai was able to come briefly yesterday, but she was super busy getting ready for things that are coming up, such as transfers, with a bunch of new missionaries coming in, some going out, and elder and sister Yamashita leaving, and their replacements coming. She's such an amazing person! What a trooper! She's the best! I'm so lucky she's my mission mom!
She just came again today, accompanied by Dr. Hansen and his wife. They've said that, yes, I'm getting better. But now they're starting to apply the heat. I have to stop my diarrhea. And I have to build up my strength. In order to do that, here are some things they've committed me to do. They literally committed me, like an investigator. They did it deliberately, and they told me so. They asked me with a "will you...?" Question, which would require, to be honest, a straight yes or no answer. And I said yes. I committed. So I'm gonna have to do it, because I can't break my promise. Here is what they told me to do:
Drink ten cups of water a day.
Eat two bananas a day.
Eat all the bread that's given to me.
Every time I get up to fill my water cup, walk ten laps back and forth across my room, and five more every time I finish going to the bathroom.
I committed, even though it makes me cringe, especially the part about eating bread. Oh my gosh! But I'm trying to get out of this hospital by Monday, which will be Sunday for you guys, so I'm really gonna try hard! I want to get better! I'm gonna do it! I can do this! I can do this! I'm a Miller! I'm tough! I'm gonna do it! Yeeeeeeeeaaaahhhh!!!!!
Elder and sister Hansen said they would be putting my name on the prayer roll again tonight, when they go to the temple, like they do every Friday, which made me feel even better, and I know I can do this now. How can I not, with so much support behind me, so many people cheering me on?

So, a little more descriptive detail about what happened when president Wada visited might be nice, I think. So, I wasn't expecting anyone to visit today, though sister Wada said she would try to get somebody to come and deliver the package for me that had been dropped off at the honbu. I would never have dreamed it would have been president Wada himself! I heard someone speaking in Japanese outside the door that kind of sounded a little familiar. Then, a business-like knock on the door, and "Miller Shimai?" And president Wada opens the door! I just about jumped out of my skin! And I felt embarrassed, because he'd caught me in the middle of eating a banana, so I didn't look remotely dignified, not that I really could have, anyway. But he came in and brought the package and the other things.

This collapsible tree was in the package we sent to Maryandra, and she put it up in her room, along with some gifts from the Spriggs, her friends from the U.S. 

Maryandra got the news that for transfers, she'd be staying in Hibarigaoka, but she would be getting her old companion, Sister Horrocks, back as her next companion! That was fun for Maryandra to hear, since she never felt she had a long enough time with Sister Horrocks, who is so full of fun.  So Sister Horrocks will be her 5th and 7th companion, I think.
They didn't let her go on Monday, which made Maryandra sad, but they did do something that made her happy!  
... But hey, guess what else? They just took out my IV! Yay! I get to sleep without it tonight! I'm so happy! That's a wonderful, marvelous blessing to me! I can move freely about my hospital room now, and not have to drag it along with me, jiggling on its pole when I do my laps, (and the plug not being able to extend more than five feet in any given direction) as Dr. Hansen instructed. It's sooooo nice! Yay! I can now sit at the window for long periods of time, and do basically whatever I want! Heck, I can shower! In fact, since they're keeping me here another night, I think I might just do that. Get myself looking as nice as possible for when I leave tomorrow! Ah, things are just getting so much better, with every passing hour, save my reflux, which has been persistently bugging me since this morning. But I can deal with that no problem! Yay! I'm so happy now! I could sing! I could dance! I bet I could even fly! I'm so excited! I just wanna get up and jump and run around the whole hospital! I feel so free! Even though I can't even run, cuz my legs are so weak, and the muscles are horribly atrophied. Yikes. But I still feel great! Yay!!!!!!!.........

Well, I don't leave until nine, but here I am at 7:23 in the morning, all prepped and ready to leave the hospital. I was able to take a few good photos of the view outside, too, and in fact, just after I got the very last one I wanted, my iPad freaked out and said it couldn't take any more photos, so that was lucky! I can't wait to send them to you! And I can't wait to finally send this mail off to you, either, and receive and read three pdays worth of emails!!! Ooooooooh, I'm so excited!
Haha, my iPad will be glad to be rid of this awfully long email, too. It's sooooooooo long! I hope you can enjoy it. . . . 
Oh my gosh, I'm FIIIIIIINAAAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYYY OUT OF THE HOSPITALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! YEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! It was almost surreal to finally walk out of the doors, put everything in sister Wada's car, and drive away, and to call Dr. Hansen and let him know so he could call you. The whole drive, I was just thinking "wow! It's done! It's over! Woohoo!!!!!

The rest of the 31 pages were of Maryandra's 1st week out of the hospital, and her reunion with Sister Horrocks at transfers.  She will miss Sister Reeves, who has also made a full recovery.  Maryandra enjoyed a great week back in the mission field, but sent no photos of herself, so we couldn't see the improvement in her appearance, but there's always next week!  Sorry for such a long blog, but it is a lot shorter than 31 pages would have been!  :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

These flowers were sent to the mission home for Maryandra from a sweet lady living in the Tokyo South Mission area that is one of Maryandra's mom's favorite friends from her mission!!!  Thank you Michiko-chan!!!  We have appreciated the kind thoughts and prayers for her quick recovery, and know that Maryandra could feel the effects of everyone's love, prayers and concern as well!  :-)

Since we have not gotten an e-mail from Maryandra, we can only assume that since she was finally released from the hospital on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, instead of Monday, her P-day, that she has not had any time or ability to let us know how she is adjusting.  We did get a phone call from the medical specialist in Tokyo telling us that she had been released, and that her phone call to him from the car that was taking her back to her house in Hibarigaoka, was one of excitement to be out at last!!!  We look forward to our own phone call from her at Christmas time!!!
We know she will be taking it easy for a few days while getting her strength back, and hope for a nice newsy e-mail this coming weekend.  We know she'll be back to normal soon, and we just have to patient!!! :-)