Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

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

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