Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 8 in Alaska, Fairbanks

Dear family,

Yay, boxes. I already have a flashlight, but I can use another. Hats are good too. I think I'll need a better scarf soon too. But that can come later. ( I told John in my letter to him that I just sent a box last Friday and there were flashlights and hats in it. )

We have a couple investigators who are progressing. The first is Lorinda. She's really awesome, but she's got a lot of troubles. She's twenty, has a one year old son, and her sons dad died right after he was born. She has a crazy ex boyfriend who has so many tattoos. They're on his face, hands, and feet. And hey aren't the nice "heart with mom inside" kind of tattoo. We've never met him, but she tells us about him and it's not a good situation. I think if we ever go over there when he's there there would be a good likelihood of something bad happening. So that's a sticky situation, and I would rather not get in a fight with someone with face tattoos. So we could really use some prayers there. She loves the lessons, although because she has no religious background it takes time to get all the points across so it's going slowly. She's progressing though, and she may get baptized. We just need to put her on date.

We also have a recent convert were teaching named Taryn Dyer. She's 15 and lives in a really weird family situation. She lives here with her mom, step dad, aunt, and older sister and niece. It's her aunts apartment though. I don't know how they fit that many people In those apartments. They're a slum. My Ward mission leader owns them. He's a slum lord (not really). So we were teaching her the first lesson, because whoever taught her in California where she was baptized didn't do too hot so we have to go over everything again (normally you can just check for understanding and move on) and her older sister comes out and starts talking about her baby daddy, who she joked about getting her Uncle Mitch to murder. These people have exciting lives, it's just sad that they're not the good kind of exciting. But we ended up teaching the older sister, Rikki, who we now have a return appointment with.

Our last investigator wig potential is Carla O'Donaghue, who is a 45ish year old woman who's recently divorced. She probably has the most potential of any of them, but I don't really like grading people by potential. I look at everyone like they're a child of God, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't value one of them over another because of their potential for baptism. Anyways, she has two kids still at home who we can also probably teach and help the three of them find the Church, which would be awesome.

No one in Alaska is normal. I don't think anyone anywhere is normal. We were talking to someone and they said this "Everyone in Alaska is running from something, whether they know it or not. People come here for the adventure, for the solitude, for the ease of escape. You know why? Because life sucks, and you're in the state where everyone who can't handle that fact runs to so they can try and fix what's broken inside them. Everyone you see here is broken. They're all trying to get fixed. None of hem ever do." And after that wonderful bit of nihilistic hopelessness we moved on. That guy was not an investigator. Elder Pulou, one of the zone leaders, said this in a zone meeting later "We street contacted a born again Christian woman who said she had been saved 20 years ago and didn't need to talk to the missionaries. Guess what. She was saved way before that. We've all been saved, we just have to make it back. People up here in Alaska have a lot of problems, but they can find salvation just as easily as you or I. We've all been saved, whether we want to be or not. So go out and fix what's broken." This was a crazy spiritual week. It was awesome.

This week had its low points, but I'm still doing good. It's a lot of fun up here, as well as spiritual. I'm exhausted too. But I can't catch up on sleep for a while. I got to go on a road trip to Nanana which is about 100 miles south of here, and Elder Jesperson slept the whole time. I love driving. It was nice. But yes, I'm doing good.


I asked about Nanana and this is his response:
There's literally nothing in Nanana. There are two investigators down there who we went to teach because President was going to put it in our area (our area is about the size of the state of Maine) but he ended up giving that town to the 5th ward sisters. So we went down there to teach one lesson. Fairbanks third Ward is the biggest congregation in the world. It covers an area the size of the state of Utah. Our area is huge, but it has a bunch of different branches and stuff.

We met some Yaks

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