Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Maryandra and Sister Smith are still getting along splendidly!
 In fact, they all tended to have too much fun with their new iPads this past week!
 Way too much fun!


 Maryandra did happen to have some good experiences as well!  In her own words:
Wednesday, we had the two mission
conference in kochi mojo with Elder Russell M. Nelson. It was pretty good. I got to shake his and Elder Evans' hand, too, which was pretty cool. I really like elder Nelson. He's so nice and grandfatherly looking. We were told that yes, we are for sure getting new iPads. Or, now that it's realtime, we did. Yes, that's right. I'm typing this note to you all on a brand new, freshly setup, 32GB iPad mini. I can't really do anything with it, though. And, since we can't use Facebook for dendo anymore, I feel like it just lightens the load of having to carry scriptures and stuff around everywhere. But it's still cool. I'm sure I'll find a good way to use it in missionary work someday, with what little time I have left. Sigh. Well, it's still cool.

Maryandra took the chance to give us all some great advice:

You guys, Satan can get ahold of anyone, even you! Don't thing you're
immune to it! It's dangerous! You need to exercise your faith in the
Lord an apply the atonement in order to keep yourself in a condition
to fight back against Satan.
So, basically, immediate perfection is impossible, and should never be
the expectation. Such will only bring misery and self punishment. It's
the dedication to keep gradually improving in which we find true
happiness. I urge every one of you to apply this in your lives. It
will bring you relief and peace in even the worst times of your life
here on earth. It's a promise I've discovered to be true many times
for me. Also, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, or for a long
time, I want you to watch "Mountains to Climb." It gives some great
examples of scenarios and what to do to exercise faith.
Well, I should go for now. I hope to write some more before Monday.
Sorry this week has been so weird as far as emails go!...

We think it was weird as far as photos went!!! Here are a few more silly ones!

Maryandra and Sister Horrocks!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Maryandra had a great week!  Here she is at a yummy ramen shop!!!

 From Maryandra's e-mail:

 Gosh dang it, time! Why does it have to keep running away from me? I
 feel like I haven't even written anything cool. But I do have a few
 things to tell you today!
 First, we were chosen to go to kichijoji for a special digital media
, which means that we got to go and stand around at booths and go
 to workshops where members who are good at using social media for
 dendo(proselyting) teach other members who want to learn or are maybe
 not so good yet how to get better. It was all right, but really we
 didn't do anything besides take a bunch of silly selfies with the
 elders. We were lucky to get out with the kichijoji zone leaders.
They were way fun to talk with and
 laugh with for the first time in what felt like forever! Those two are
 both some of my favorite past zone leaders!
 But we took some good pictures. I'll send you them on p-day!

 After the fair was over, a dear member, who was one of the members
 who attended, took us to this restaurant I'd eaten at on splits once
 with Wilde Shimai a year ago, when we'd just barely come to Japan and
 still didn't know our way around. Ah, natsukashii, na! Anyway, this
 place is crazy! It serves you five ginormous gyouzas, and they are
 crazy good! It's only five dollars or so for the gyouzas, but they
 fill your whole plate, and you get soup too! Yummy!

We will be having another two mission conference on Wednesday
 this week, in kichijoji. Elder Nelson will be there! Do you wanna know
 something cool? I even know why he's coming. You wanna know why!.....
 WE'RE GETTING NEW IPADS! Yep, you heard right! So, we are the test
 mission for a good many of the various things
just the Brethren are
 trying out, probably because we're so new, and so small, so it's
 easier. Anyway, we passed the test with the iPads and their use for
 missionary work. So, we are going to be getting newer, better ones!
 So, to put in in perspective, we are migrating from 12GB iPads to 32GB iPads! Holy cow! That's a lot of power, a lot of trust! They must
 really have been impressed, or something. But here's the cool thing.
 Most of the other Japan missions are getting iPads at this time,
 including Kobe! Yay! That's where the other half of my MTC district
 went, for those of you who don't know. This means that they will get
 to spread the gospel through digital media in the near future, like
 what I get to do now! That's why we've been pushing for it so much
 lately. Now, instead of being able to only share the happy news of the
 gospel with a few people at a time, we can share it with hundreds,
 even thousands, of people, at the touch of a finger!
It's amazing! I
 urge all of you who can to try it out! If I or other missionaries who
 have this privilege post anything on facebook, I invite you all to
 like and share it, to spread the news of the gospel to all of your
 friends in a simple, friendly, natural way! This is going to sweep the
 earn as with a flood, according to elder Bednar, in a recent address
 given at BYU. I fully agree with him. This is one of the many ways we
 can all do member missionary work. And it's easy! It can even be fun!
 I urge all of you once again to try it out! I promise you, nothing bad
 can come from sharing something uplifting on facebook.
:) give it a
 shot, and let me know if you see any cool miracles in the near future!

A member gave Maryandra this chocolate with the kanji for "hope"
written on it!  What a great and yummy message!

 The devotional was awesome last night! We got to watch it at our
 church building, so no traveling was required! The coolest thing was
 that they said that for the first time in history, this was being made
 available by broadcast to all the saints I Japan at once, from Okinawa
 to Hokkaido! Cool, huh? The whole of Japan got to watch this historic
 broadcast! And it was way good! I love elder Nelson!
 Well, love you all! I love Japan! See you next week!
 Sister Miller

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Maryandra got some letters and not just e-mail this week!!!  But she does love both e-mails and letters, of course!  In fact, her e-mail address is maryandra.miller@myldsmail.net in case anybody has wanted to know that! 
Judging by the photo below, I think they have been having some pretty steady rain the last few days!  Her caption for this photo went like this:

Me, having just come in from the rainstorm that's been going on all day.

One of her friends did this one,
a screen shot on her ipad's photo booth app!

This week, after mentioning an article about service from the Liahona, Maryandra issued a challenge to us all:
This week, I want everyone to find a way to serve someone they love,
and to continue to do this act of service, even if nothing seems to
come of it at first. It can be something small, from doing their chore
for them to listening to them if they need to talk. Make this a habit,
and see how it helps your love for this person increase!

So lately we've been "egging" members' houses. By "egging,"
I mean taping paper Easter eggs to their doors, with little messages written on them. Scriptures, because of him quotes, lines from hymns, etc. and it's been really fun. For some reason, people are finally starting to notice that there are two sister companionships, and they come up to us and thank us all the time at church, or whenever they happen to see us. We've had a few interesting experiences with that, actually!

The mission president came to our church today to speak in sacrament meeting and give a presentation during a combined priesthood and relief society hour. It was a great presentation about member missionary work, and about some ways the members can do missionary work. It was a great boost! It was great! It makes me so happy, because really, finding is getting more and more difficult in Japan, and I'm sure all over the world as well. It's hard to street, it's hard to house, and have success here. It exits, but working with referrals given by members is where we see the biggest amount of success. This is how missionary work will end up developing, at least in Japan, I think. So, since it's difficult to approach people on the street or in their homes, and it's scary or weird to them coming from total strangers, there is a lack of trust on the part of the person. However, if they talk with their friend about religion, maybe get to come to some fun activities, and then realize they're curious about this church, and they like what they've seen so far, they want to learn more, and they ask their friend. The friend introduces the missionaries ,sits in for lessons, helps to explain what the person can't understand, and when this person receives the gospel, they have a solid friend at church, someone they can rely on. Because if someone joins just because they like the missionaries, odds are they will have a hard time when that missionaries transfers or goes home, and who knows what will happen? So there, that's what our vision is, as far as I know. I can't wait to finally start working more with members! This is going to be a great period in the church history of Japan, when it finally clicks, and the members and missionaries both understand their duty, their purpose! What a golden time that will be!
Night view of Tokyo and Sister Smith!

Maryandra also cleared up the mystery about the artwork she was pointing to last e-mail:

I forgot to tell you in my weekly, but that Osaka castle picture is
definitely not my hands work, nor my companion's, but one that an
eikaiwa (English class) student kindly made for me, by my request.
He's really good at spray painting. I thought I'd said who did it
before, but maybe I forgot. Sorry about that!

Maryandra often makes suggestions for church videos for us to watch, etc.  Here's this week's suggestion from her:
Now, for the video lessons. I'm trying to get you guys thinking of
Easter, so what I want you to watch this week is called "None Were
With Him." And then talk about the atonement, and why we truly
celebrate Easter, and think of ways you could all stay focused on
Christ, rather than candy, this year.
There, that's my suggestion. I leave you all my fondest farewells!
Love you!
Sister Miller

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

 Maryandra has had another great week, with more great views of the city of Hibarigaoka!
 We think this is a pastel of that Maryandra may have done herself during
 some p-day time!  We were unable to get her to either deny
or confirm that is was her artwork, but maybe by
next week she will tell us if it was her art or just who the creator
was! Japanese people are very artistic, so it may have been
 a gift from someone, but there is something
about it that is Maryandra-ish!!!
 From Maryandra's e-mail:

To make Wednesday even cooler, there were almost ten new students at
eikaiwa! That's never happened since I've come to Hibarigaoka, and I'm
sure for a good while before I came as well. It was sooo cool, and
they were all beginners class, too, which made it huge. And half of
those students were children, under age 12. So, we improvised and
created a mini kids class at the back of the regular classroom, and
just conducted it like we do with kids eikaiwa on Sunday mornings,
while Horrocks Shimai taught regular beginners class with elder
Lundberg and elder Mukai. It was really fun!  Two of our students were our favorites. They were the oldest, and the best behaved. They actually reminded me of Liam and Hyrum!
But on Sunday morning, they both came to kids eikaiwa! They
were so cute! I think I know why they remind me of Liam and Hyrum.
They are the same age as those two were when I left on my mission, and
they have similar appearances, only Asian.
We showed them the 'He is The Gift' video from christmas and told them
that Jesus did a lot of things for us, and He was the first gift of
Christmas. Even though it isn't Christmas, we can still think of
Jesus. We asked what they knew, which isn't much, but they seemed to
enjoy the video, like it was a cool new concept to them. It was cool.
They looked like they wanted to see what church was like, but their
moms had other things going on, and such. Oh well. Maybe next time!
They're so cute! I can't wait to see them again!
 Here they are, on the front row!
 More from Maryandra's e-mail:

And now, here we are again at the weekly Monday checkpoint. Here are a
few cool things I've recently found while doing personal study:

17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every
tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their
righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
3 Nephi 22:17
Isn't that the coolest promise we all have, as servants of the lord?
I'm not just talking missionaries here, and I'm pretty sure that's not
what the scripture is saying either. I'm talkogm everyone who has
entered the waters of baptism, and made that covenant with the Lord to
do His will and follow Him. That includes bringing others with you, am
I right? Will you all commit to live this teaching?  It will bring you
immense joy, I promise!

 Having fun with her iPad mini!!!