Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 2 In Alaska, Fairbanks

Reporting on the week,

Okay so I just typed out this huge message I was going to send then accidentally deleted it like an idiot. And for that reason I'll condense everything more. 

Tuesday through Thursday we had no success. It was rough.

Friday got a whole lot better. We taught 6 lessons in 1 day. We met a woman named Alina, who's literally a 35 year old version of Meg. She even set up a return appointment, which was crazy cause she totally destroyed us at every approach we tried to take. Then we taught Marvin the second lesson, the Plan of Salvation, and at the end Elder Jesperson turns to me and gives me the look, so I turn to Marvin and I'm like "Marvin, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority?" And then he said yes. So we freaked the freak out. So now he's on date for October 16th which is awesome! But we also have to hand him over to the YSA sisters because he's 24 which is really sad. We've had to give them a couple of investigators. But the systems are in place for a reason.

Saturday was also crazy. We taught a lesson to a rich guy named Charles who has a bunch of Mormon friends, we got a spell put on us by a witch (who's also an inactive member, even better), and we got a gun pulled on us. We knocked on the door of a shop because we were looking for the owner who's less active. He wasn't there, so this guy who works for him totally thinks we're thugs. I hear a gun cock on the other side of the door and start backing away slowly and looking for cover, but Elder Jesperson who didn't hear the gun just yells "it's the missionaries!" The guy opened the door holding a loaded .45 and is like "c'mon in guys" so needless to say, we went in.

Then Sunday was awesome. President Duval, the stake president, spoke in ward conference and it was super powerful.church was great, then we taught four lessons to less active members in one afternoon. We met a family (the Queenos) where the mom was less active, the dad was an aethiest, and the had two young children, who the mom took to church every Sunday that she could. Does that remind you of anyone? We also met an old version of Jake. We walked into his house and all his Dungeons and Dragons stuff was on the table and he was messing around with an Atari. It was awesome.

So the moral of the story is that weeks have highs and lows, and it's easy to be discouraged. But if you smile and try to remain optimistic everything will turn out good in the end. It turned out to be a good week after all.

I'll just buy my winter stuff up here then, that's fine, and easier. I'll also get some sheets for my bed. I have an allotment card yes, but I keep forgetting to activate it so I need to do that. That's what I'll use for food from now on. 

I can't handle the music we have anymore. It's all people playing ukulele and singing renditions of church songs. Only like four of them are any good. Please make me some CDs that have good music on them. Just burn the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and I'll be happy.

Coincidently, I started learning how to play the ukulele. Don't tell Abby. Yes, it's still a stupid instrument. I also started learning how to speak French. So that's fun too.

I hope everything is going good back home. I pray for you guys todos los dias.

The sad things we do when people don't answer the door

I was on exchanges and we found these crazy fur hats at a members house. I'll try and get one to send home, but they're super expensive.

Monday, August 24, 2015

First week in Alaska, Fairbanks

Dear Family

You are putting these on my Facebook right? That way my friends can
see them. I gave you the password so you could.

Yes, it is true. I'm in the great city of Fairbanks. There are 5 wards
here. 1, 2. 3, 5, and 6. Funny how that works. My companions name is
Elder Jesperson. We're in 1st ward. It's good here. You can tell Dad
he was dead wrong on the people we would be teaching. We picked up 6
investigators in 4 days. Alaska has been prepared for the Gospel so
we're rolling through picking people up. My first baptism is scheduled
for late September. Hopefully that's when it happens. The mission goal
is for 3 baptisms per missionary a year, but if The Lord keeps
preparing people like this we'll have a good chunk more than that.

I got into Alaska on Monday. We went to the mission office, got our
iPads, filled out all the paperwork, and did interviews. Then we went
to the mission home. That house is so nice. It's awesome. We learned a
lot about Alaska and the work we do here that night. I'm what's called
a Cheechako, or "stranger who probably won't survive." The Inuits have
funny terms for us white folk. Basically I'm a greenhorn. There are a
lot of Polynesian people in Alaska, so we have a bunch of Samoan
elders. They're great. Apparently if you get put in a Samoan ward you
get super fat because of how much they feed you. Something else that's
interesting is how the missionaries have kind of adopted some of the
native culture. Everyone calls their companion "my brother" or "my
sister" because they're their sibling in purpose and spirit. It's fun.

Tuesday we got our trainers and training areas assigned. I met Elder
Jesperson and we got put in Fairbanks 1st. He's awesome. He's laid
back enough to be fun, but also serious enough that we go out and work
really hard. I've learned a lot from him in just 6 days. That day we
stayed at the mission home again and prepped for the drive to

Wednesday was a long day of driving. It's a 7 hour drive from
Anchorage to Fairbanks, but we did it in 5 and a half because we were
pressed for time and Elder Jesperson likes to drive 100 miles per
hour. 5 guys piled into a Subaru Legacy and made the drive. Not the
most comfortable. All our mission vehicles up here are trucks and
Jeeps. It's great for off-roading.

Thursday was my first real day as an infield missionary. It was kind
of scary, but we had a lot of appointments so it was all good. Then we
went tracting. Tracting is scary. Or at least I thought it would be.
But we've tracted into a couple of our investigators. Getting the ward
to help out can be difficult. Fair 1st has a history of struggling
missionaries so the members don't really want to help us. We'll prove
our faith and diligence though. Even if it takes all 12 weeks.

Friday was basically the same as Thursday. We play disc golf every
morning as our morning sport. I love you Dad, sorry I never went out
with you. Now I see it may have been useful. I'm getting better
though. Maybe when I get home I'll be able to not be a complete noob
when I go out with you.

Saturday was a party. We had a correlation meeting with the ward
mission leader who is an Alaskan version of Brother Duffin before we
went out. We were talking to this nice woman on her porch when this
guy pulls up in a truck and comes and pulls her inside. Long story
short, I got my first death threat! That was interesting. It was a
little discouraging. But later that day as we were half heartedly
tracting we found a First Nation man named Marvin, taught him the
first lesson, and then he volunteered to come to church with us. We
didn't even ask, he just wanted to come. It was awesome. That was a
confidence booster. There was also a less active man and his non
member very Russian wife who we talked to about the temple, and they
really want to go to get sealed. It was a great day.

Sunday was also good. We took Marvin to church and he really enjoyed
it. We went out tracting that night and found more people and taught
them a lesson. Like I said, in four days we've picked up 6
investigators. I also had my first dinner with members. We had chicken
pot pie. It was great.

That's how my week has been. I know most weeks won't be as great but
it's nice to have a good start. I found a winter coat that was left in
our apartment by another elder that I can have so I just need a hat
and gloves. It would also be great if you could send me a bunch of
recipes so I can no how to cook things. Especially fish and game. I've
eaten moose and caribou so far. Also music. This is not a MoTab
mission. If you could send me church appropriate music on CDs that
would be amazing. Movie scores, classical orchestral music, and
acoustic arrangements are all approved. It takes 6 days for letters to
get here and 15 days for packages.

I'm wearing sweaters. That's what the weather is like.

I love you guys, stay safe. Stay warm. I have two hours to email on Mondays.

Elder (John) Miller

Monday, August 17, 2015

Arrival in Alaska

You can forward this or put it on Facebook or whatever.

So I've arrived in Alaska. This place is great. It's raining and like 60 degrees out here in Anchorage. Feels like Oregon. We haven't received our assignments yet so I don't know where I'll be heading. I'll send a letter home with the address or something.

Finishing the MTC was fun. We had to get up at 2 30. Again. Last week was good. We sand with a gospel rock band in the choir. It was the first time the MTC ever did anything like that. It was fun. I didn't see any apostles, but that's okay. There's still time.

The mission president here is the nicest person I've ever met. Everyone else is super gruff though. They're all exactly how I imagined Alaskans would be.

So it turns out we can go to Barrow! That would be fun, but since I don't have all my mission gear that won't happen. We can also go fishing. That's right. I can go fishing in Alaska. This is the best mission of all time.

Everything is going good. Nothing much happened this week, hopefully I'll have some stories to share next time. ANyways, I hope you're all doing great. I love you guys.

Elder (John) Miller

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mission Training Center

Family people

This is the weekly update so you can copy and paste it to Facebook so all the kiddies can see it.

Things are going good here. The days are super long, like 16-17 hours, but I'm learning a lot and feeling the Spirit. All the teachers are great and I did not know there was this much stuff for missionaries to do. It just never stops. Then I go to bed and it's the fastest time of the day. I'm exhausted.

The gym is being reconstructed right now, it won't be finished until next Monday, which is the day I leave. I got my itinerary and I'm flying to Alaska on the 17th. My plane actually stops in Portland, so I'll be home for about an hour. I can call home from the airport to tell you that I'm safe so I'll probably do that. I won't be able to email you next week because I'll be flying. Just how it goes I guess.

My companion is great. His name is Elder (Jeremy) Rogers. We call him Captain Rogers sometimes. IT's a party. He's going to Alaska with me. So are Elder Christenson and Sister Webster. My district has 9 people in it. Those people are going to Alaska with me, but the other five are going to the Salem, Oregon mission. I thought that was hilarious. They keep trying to tell me fun facts about Salem. Noobs. Their names are Elder Tayko, Elder Combs, Elder Kunkle, Elder Barns, and Sister Munford. I'm in a dorm with Kunkle and Barns. They're great. If any of those missionaries end up in Newberg 1st I told them you would feed them. I also said it would be amazing, so they have high expectations.

Yesterday we watched a video by Elder Bednar from the Quorum of the Twelve called "The Character of Christ." It's only shown at MTCs, but they should really release to everyone. It's the best devotional I've ever seen in my life. We also got to go to the temple today. The Provo temple is amazing. You should try it out sometime. I've also prayed more this week than I think I ever have in my life. I kid you not, I think I say 25 prayers a day. The level of spirituality that you can feel in a place like this is amazing.

They also made me district leader. The second day I was here. So I get to be in charge of those 9 missionaries in my district. They didn't train me at all so I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm doing my best and everyone seems like they're doing good.

I'm ready to get out into Alaska. Well, maybe I'm not ready, but this place is very boring. There's so much to do, but everything is in the same square mile. I want to get out and teach people, but training is still something I gotta do. 

After all of that, I want you to know I'm having a ton of fun here. This place is awesome and the Elders in my room and I are great friends. I think Elder Kunkle can replace Tate (that's a joke). We're all excited to leave and get out into the field, but we're going to miss each other. Sure there are a bunch of party elders here, but they're outnumbered by the missionaries who are here on the Lord's errand. This experience so far is really building and strengthening me and my testimony.

And a little bit on the food. To anyone it may concern, don't drink the chocolate milk here for every meal. I did that for two days. It hurt so bad. Also, the orange juice does not have laxatives in it. It's just really bad orange juice and gives you diarrhea. Watch out. Everyone said the food here was going to be amazing. But remember they feed thousands of people everyday. So the quality of food here is the quality that can feed thousands of people everyday. Which, I guess, is like two loaves and five fishes or something.

I love you all, and I hope you're having a great time. Try not to miss me too much.

Elder Miller

P.S. These computers don't have functioning card readers right now so I'll have to send pictures later. Send me a micro USB cable so I can plug my camera into things too.