Wednesday, April 29, 2015

 We finally got a photo of Maryandra's new companion, Sister Foutz! 
She is the one closest to Maryandra!
 For P-day, they went to the aquarium and had a wonderful time!!!

From Maryandra's e-mail, we got that she had a wonderful week of proselyting before this P-day!  They even have a baptism scheduled now!!!  In her own words:
Sunday . . .
Anyway, so right after that, we sat her down in the chapel, and
taught her the restoration right there, with her member friend helping to teach,
and she is basically golden. So, after we taught, we asked if she
believed what we taught, and she said yes with the cutest, sincere
smile on her face! And then, Foutz Shimai extended the baptimal
the coolest moment ever! Oh my gosh! That's not happened to me in such
a long time! Oh my gosh! I can't even believe all the miracles
Heavenly Father has given us this entire week! Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!

Sigh. Well, I'm so happy. Well, I'll see you tomorrow. We are going to celebrate by going to the famous aquarium in Enoshima, which, I've been told, is better than sea world, for nearly a quarter of the price. Crazy, right?! Well, gotta go now. See you tomorrow! I'll send the pictures later!....

We put about 1/10 of the photos in that she sent us!!!  :-)

See Maryandra's face!!!   See the sting ray's face!!!  So cute!!! 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

  Maryandra's companion has been sick for so long now that Maryandra
has time to have fun with her ipad mini!!!

So, Foutz Shimai was able to do about an hour and a half of study time, but then she had to go back to bed, because she was exhausted. Poor thing, I swear this has got to be more than just a cold. It's crazy! But I still appear not to have caught it, so I'm thanking Heavenly Father that I can still function, and I'm also being super careful, to make sure that it won't happen. I don't want to get incapacitated like that. Let alone get food poisoning again. That one was a nightmare, let me tell you! Scariest two weeks of my life! But I learned about Columbus and the creation and distribution of the bible today as I read first Nephi 13, so that was a pretty entertaining study time!


So, here is a little challenge I have for my brothers. I know they all participate in family scripture study, but are they all doing their own daily personal scripture study? I would like to know, and if they are not, I challenge them to start, because I know it's best to establish good habits earlier on in your life. I was blessed in the years before I served a mission by reading from the Book of Mormon every day. It made it easier to keep going through my mission, and the habit will be all the easier to maintain after I return home. So, because the Book of Mormon has blessed me so much, and I want my brothers (and anyone else who is interested, of course) to have that same blessing in their lives, I challenge them to start reading it every day, and to make sure they are getting it done, I want a weekly report of the things they have learned so far as they progress, insights, new knowledge, testimonies, etc. and I want them to type it to me personally. Can you boys all do that for me? Awesome! I expect to hear from you very soon! Don't slack off here, okay?

Wow, I actually really enjoyed my first real Sunday in Machida. The
members seem pretty nice. We got to hear from a
member in the Machida stake presidency, and when we were talking to
him after church, I found out he had served in the Sapporo mission
about twenty years ago. That would be cool if he served at the same
time as dad, wouldn't it? But I think he either served at the very end
of, or just after dad's time. Cool, though.
Anyway, after that, we had to come home, and Foutz Shimai slept after
a late lunch, and I did a bunch of things on the to-do list she had
given me, much of which was calling people. It turned out good though,
because I was able to make two appointments with people, and as I
finish the list, I should be able to make more.

Maryandra should have more to say once her companion gets better
and they can get out and do more!!!
These are photos of some flowers Maryandra was admiring!!!  Lovely!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

This is a beautiful card that Maryandra made or that someone gave
Maryandra before she left Hibarigaoka!

One more shot of Sister Horrocks, Sister Smith, Sister Funakara and Maryandra
before Sister Horrocks left to go home and Maryandra left to go to Machida!
In Maryandra's own words:
This morning, we finished all the prepping and everything. Funakura Shimai and Horrocks Shimai cried together as they said goodbye, and then they separated. Funakura Shimai and Smith Shimai went to the airport to pick up Smith Shimai's new companion, a sister returning from going home for a bit due to an injury. I stayed with Horrocks Shimai at the house until we were scheduled to go, at around 10:00am. We rode the bus and the train together to Kichijoji, and then we met with Yoshida Shimai, and headed out again to return to the eki. We left at the same time as a bunch of elders, including elder Hadlock and elder Gammon, who were both transferring to Yamato. It turns out, that their transfer route was the same as mine, just one or two stops longer. So, I ended up riding the train the whole way with them, and it was helpful, because I would have gotten totally lost without elder Hadlock's help. Boy, was I glad for my old zone leader! Phew! I finally arrived safely in Machida, and was brought to the Machida Two sisters' apartment, and I'm gradually beginning to get used to things. I had time to unpack, because sister Foutz is sick and felt like garbage, so she had to sleep. We have since, however, had district meeting. I'm not sure how I'll like it, but there are a few people who seem like they're pretty cool. But it'll take time to tell for sure how things will turn out. So, that is the report for this week so far!


So, this morning during personal study, I watched the announcement made about two and a half years ago where the change in age was made for missionaries. It was amazing to remember how I felt as I heard president Monson speak. I remember that that announcement was an answer to my prayers. I had been feeling like something I was unaware of would be happening in my life in the near future, and I wanted to find peace and know what I should do with the first few years of my young adult life. I already had college planned out, and I thought they it seems right, but just not right now. And I wasn't sure why. I was planning on going to college until I was twenty one, and then serving a mission, and I had about a year and a half or two year space of time from graduating college and when I thought I would leave on my mission. It seemed at the time like that was the only way things could really work out. But I still felt troubled by it, and that, although this was a good thing, it wouldn't be happening in quite that way. I became frustrated, and scared by this feeling that something unknown was ahead of me, and I prayed to Heavenly Father many times for help, guidance and peace. He sure answered the prayer, but in a different way than I thought He might. When I heard that I could be going on a mission in a year or less, I felt at peace, and I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. I knew it would be the most important decision I could make at that point in my life. And it has been. Today marks my sixteenth month as a missionary. I can honestly say that I would never have received the blessings I have received, grow in the way I have grown, made the friends I have made, or received the testimony I have received, had I not come on a mission. That one moment changed my whole life. Forever. I can't even begin to describe. Or even try to describe, the amazing things that have happened in my life. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me this chance to serve a mission at a younger age. I came when I needed to come. I will be returning home in just under three months, and begin the next stage of my life. I can now approach that next step with more confidence, faith and reassurance than I ever could have before. I am eternally grateful to my father in heaven for the blessing He has given me, this chance to serve a mission. And I will do my best to always carry out His divine purpose, even when I have returned home from service as a full time missionary.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wednesday brought a new month, and a new, fresh atmosphere to the
whole area! I love spring, especially here in Japan! It's so
beautiful! I love seeing the huuuuge variety of flowers and trees and
hearing the birds you can only hear in the land of the rising sun!
It's sooooo gorgeous! I'm really gonna miss it!
Anyway, we biked all the way to keep part of our area called Kiyose,
the second farthest in the area or something like that. Phew! We egged
the a couple's door, and left our bikes there to go do some
park dendo and some housing after that. We took some pictures of the
gorgeous Sakura blossoms that are out now! It's soooooo pretty!
When we came back to where our bikes were, we discovered someone had
put treats into our bike helmets. They must have come home
shortly after we egged them, and found out bikes. It was really cute!

I want to mention one funny moment, after the game. We were
discussing handshakes and stuff, and high fives, and demonstrating them. After inventing a few to use in the future among smith Shimai, Horrocks Shimai, me, and any elders who want to join, smith and Horrocks Shimai were talking about all the old ones they knew, and showing each other. Smith Shimai had a flashback of one that our MTC teacher, brother Clark, had showed us one day. They went back for a high five, and as they came in, instead of doing a five, smith Shimai grabbed Horrocks Shimai's wrist and spoke into it like a microphone, saying "I'd like to bear my testimony..." And she got no further than that before Horrocks Shimai collapsed onto the ground in laughter and surprise. I'd forgotten it up until that moment, and then I couldn't stop laughing for about ten minutes. It was the best memory ever!

Wow, I'm so tired! But today was so fun! We got a spot by the river
for the ward hanami, which was basically a barbecue! An investigator
from Eikaiwa came with her kids, and she made everyone hotdogs using a fire pit and milk cartons! It was so cool! And they were delicious! Nothing like American hot dogs, but still pretty good. I gave some of the kids my Swedish fish from the package I got from mom yesterday, and they loved it! They probably never had eaten something so sweet in their life. They said "Are?! Mecha oishii, kore!" (Whoa! This is super delicious!)
Anyway, we had to hurry home to district meeting, and everyone smelled
like sweat and smoke. It was nasty, but also kind of natsukashii, (the
closest equivalent to this word in English is nostalgic, but it's kind
of different. I personally like it better) because it reminded me of
girls camp and family reunions and such. But we had a pretty good time. Horrocks Shimai gave a great final training about the motto our mission has, and why each point is important. Our mission motto is "Obedience is the price. Faith is the power. Love is the motive. The spirit is the key. Christ is the reason." And I've always loved it and tried to model it for my whole life, rather than just my mission, and it was great to hear her insights on it as well. Later in the evening, all of the sisters went and had a great time at a member's house, and Horrocks Shimai shared a very spiritual message. I can't believe she's going to be done in just five days! Crazy! And then it's my turn, in less than twelve weeks. No! Anyway, gotta think of happier things. So, basically, I hope I never transfer. I love this area. It may not be my best, but it's definitely the one where I've experience, learned, and grown the most on my mission. And I love the ward and their desire to help, all their cute babies, etc. I really don't want to transfer! But I will find out on Monday what my fate is to be. I'm nervous, but praying really hard that I get to stay!...

Today was pretty good so far! I just finished studying my patriarchal
blessing, and breaking my fast. I loved church, even though it's been
raining pretty much all day. But hey, as long as it didn't rain on the
hanami, I'm happy!
Fast and testimony meeting was great, and then we had a really good
lesson in Sunday school about the atonement and resurrection of Jesus
Christ, and it went really well! We have a great teacher!
After the three hour block was over, we did another two hours of
sitting, because we got to see the general women's broadcast, in our
own church building rather than the stake center for some reason. But
it was just as well. I would have hated biking all the way to
Kichijoji in the rain! And even though it was in Japanese, I did get
some good things out of it! I loved the emphasis on families!

  The "My Neighbor Totoro" store near Kamakura!

Tomorrow, we have a really
fun plan, to go all the way to Kamakura! I'm really excited!
There's lots of shrines and stuff in Kamakura! Woohoo! I'll be sure
to take a lot of pictures, and send you the news of transfer calls.



Maryandra was in too much shock to write much about her transfer call.  She will be
transferring to Machida and become senior companion to Sister Foutz, another one
from her MTC times, and though she is excited to be back closer to her bean
area, she is disappointed.  She said in an e-mail the next day:
I actually really wanted to finish in Hibarigaoka, because one of my mission bucket list items was to spend half of my mission in one area. Sigh. I guess it's not meant to be. 
Transfer days are Thursday's, so I'll arrive there just before we watch general conference. Poo, I wanted to watch it in Hibarigaoka! 
(Well, we know Maryandra will survive!  In case you are confused, because of the time difference, they watch General Conference, and everything like it one week later in Japan!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

 It's that beautiful time of year again in Japan!!!
 Lot's of things are blossoming, including young sister missionaries!
Here is Maryandra's explanation of why she is with Sister Hapbipour:

Man, I needed Tuesday! It was sooooo good! I loved our zone conference
this time!  I also loved the things I learned! There was a really good musical
number by the host district, Fuchu, which is the area we held zone
conference at this time. They made everyone laugh, and their song
was really happy and energetic. It was about families, and how we
support each other. There was a lot of clapping and moving around, and
we all forgot we were in a church and applauded at the end. You should
have seen president Wada's face! It was priceless! I don't know if
I've seen him laugh as much as I did that day, what a great time!
We had a lot of great trainings, which were exactly what I needed to
hear! I learned how I can improve in many places I had wanted to, and
the returning missionaries bore great testimonies!

Later, we had a zone "super split," which means that every single
missionary goes on exchanges to another area, and I loved it! I got to
go with sister Hapbipour! I'd really missed her since I transferred
out of Sagamihara while she was in Tama, and I was so happy that she
transferred to Tokorozawa recently. It was great being with her, and
we went first to Tokorozawa for a dinner appointment with none other
than Watanabe Shimai, the one who was your doki (entered mission
field same time), Mom! She talked about
your trainer, and how you were in the same apartment together as bean
chans, and it was fun to hear her as she talked about you a lot, and
it was so fun! She brought her adorable niece, who we got to
meet, and talk to.
Wednesday, we did a bit of dendo at the park and some housing (got
some cool pictures at the park, of the peach blossoms and trees and
other stuff as well!)
 Maryandra took several photos of this huge ladybug at the park!!!
We went to zone meeting in Tokorozawa today, and everyone had a great
time, with wonderful, funny trainings, and wonderful, hilarious
people! For the most part, our little musashino north zone is like a
big family!
On the way
home, I felt like I needed to talk to someone on the train, and I was
just praying for the courage to be able to do so, because it's been
really hard for me to do it lately. So, when this young girl sat down
next to me, I started up a conversation, and when I needed it, Smith
Shimai stepped in and somehow, we got to talking about the Book of
Mormon, and we ended up giving this girl a Book of Mormon, but unlike
some of the ones I've done in the past,t I feel like she will accept
this one! She looked like she really wanted it, even before I offered
it to her! It was so cool! And I feel like something will come out of
it, even though I don't know what. It just reinforces my personal
mission motto, "by small and simple things are great things brought to
pass." We both felt so good from that experience!

 This is the first time Maryandra sent us photos of her in her bike helmet!!!

Well, we are off to the temple today! I'll write more after to you
mom, but while I have the chance, I'll just go ahead and send this
off. To all of you who read this, the church is true! You will never
be happier than when you embrace this gospel and its teachings! I
promise you that! I hope you all have a great week!
Sister Miller