Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 16, Alaska, Fairbanks

People of the universe, 
    Well we had a warm spell (it got up to 30, holy cow), but now it's
back to -10. We got record breaking snow fall though, which has been
fun. We have several feet outside right now, which is pretty cool.
Since there's no wind here the snow just piles up on everything. The
trees are completely white and there's 6 inches of snow on the
telephone wires, which is funny. If I stay in Fairbanks it will
definitely be a white Christmas. The problem is, transfers are on the
15th, so I could get sent to a new area 10 days before Christmas. If I
don't get transferred I'll be in Fairbanks till February. That'll be
six months up here. 
     This week was crazy. Monday I went to the doctor. Tuesday I had a
procedure done at the hospital. They sedated me and apparently I was
hilarious, but Elder Reading didn't video it, so there's no proof. I
don't remember much sadly. I had to take the rest of the day to
recover, and at dinner that night the struggle was real when I tried
to deliver the spiritual thought. Elder Reading laughed at me. 
     Wednesday was full of service. We got to deliver Thanksgiving packages
to people which was fun. I got the Jeep stuck, because the Jeep is the
worst car ever and there was like 3 feet of snow that day, in a ditch
and we had to Jerry-rig a pulley system to pull it out. We called the
zone leaders and there was a super nice guy named Walter who helped
us. We carry snow shovels around with us now. 
     Thanksgiving is not exciting as a missionary. Nobody wants you to come
to there house, so we just tried visiting a lot of members. We also
shoveled a lot of driveways and got stuck again. And we were fasting
because it was our day for the 40 day fast. Then we had dinner at 5
with the Stiths. Sister Stith is a caterer. It was the best turkey
I've ever had. It was so moist it just fell apart. Normally turkey is
dry, but it wasn't. And they had my favorite kind of cranberries! Yay
canned fruits. Their son was there and he served his mission in
Portland from 09-11 and he served in Dayton and McMinnville, so we
talked about home a lot. It was a good day. There wasn't a turkey bowl
for our ward, but 3rd ward had tackle football, so that was fun. It
was a good day. 
     Friday and Saturday were super uneventful, but Sunday was sweet.
President Robinson was up in Fairbanks for interviews so we hung out
with him for awhile. Then we had correlation meeting, which is always
fun because Brother Goddard is awesome. He's who we'll have dinner
with on Christmas and we'll Skype at his house, if I'm still here. If
I'm somewhere else I have no idea. Then we had our very first lesson
of the week with Karla which was fun. She's really cool, and she's
basically a dry Mormon so that's nice. 
     We also borrowed Axis and Allies from a member and we play it at
nights sometimes. Never start a land war in Asia. It doesn't go well.
Now we're listening to Christmas music and I'm sitting next to a fire
place. Woah. Christmas for days. People go all out with lights up
here. It's pretty cool. 
     In 5 days I'll be 1/6 done with my mission. That's so crazy to me.
Time flies when you're having fun I suppose. Peace out noobs.

Elder Miller

The Ashcrafts cat is just as fat and lazy as Izzy (our cat is Izzy)

We found some seriously large icicles. Then we hurt each other with them.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 14, Alaska Fairbanks

Dear peoples, 
     This week was significantly warmer than last week. It got up to 25
which is practically balmy. When it first got that cold I was all
bundled up. Now I'm just wearing long sleeved shirts and I'm warm
enough. It's funny how that works. It is still getting darker though.
Right now we have about 6 hours of light. At the darkest point it will
be 3. I'm looking forward to it because you can see the Aurora like
all night long, which is pretty sweet. 
     This week was pretty slow. A lot of going around and trying people and
no one being home. Tuesday we set up a bunch of lessons, but we
weren't really able to teach anyone. It was rough. Days like that feel
very, very long. 
     Wednesday was more fun. That night we met up with Larry and I got my
political ranting quota for the week filled. He went off man. It was
crazy. We couldn't stop him, and he ranted about politics for an hour.
It reminded me of home. I understand now why men shouldn't watch the
news. Kids, don't let your dads watch the news. They go crazy. 
     Thursday we had a lesson with Lorinda. She's doing a lot better. We
have another lesson with her soon, hopefully she'll start coming to
church. She read like half the Book of Mormon in one night and
annotated it. We also got to do some service. You start missing
service when you don't do it for a long time, so it felt good. We also
saw an oven big enough that you could cook an elephant in it. It was
impressive. There was no elephant meat though. 
     Friday slowed down again, which wasn't fun. Saturday was the same. But
we got to double dip (have two dinners) Saturday which was fun.
There's a guy in the ward named Spencer Ashcraft who looks exactly
like Jim Gaffigan. We also met with Tim Sirap, who just got off house
arrest, and my main man Clint, who is still absolutely insane. It was
a good night. 
     Sunday was fun because we had dinner with the Andersons. They made a
boss chili. They also had the Cardinals-Bengals game playing in the
background and it reminded me that I miss football. But it's okay that
I can't watch it because the Sea hawks aren't doing great anyways.
They could still squeeze in there though, ya never know. Also, Glen's
sister is a Broadway singer and tours with Meatloaf (the singer, not
the food) and Maria keeps telling me to be an actor and it hurts my
soul. I love them. They're also crazy. Why is everyone crazy? 
     Other than that, Elder Reading is awesome. He has Munchkin so we play
it on P days. He's also just a massive nerd, so that's nicer than
talking about swimming all the time. Other than that, I'm pretty good.
Sorry there weren't a ton of adventures this week, but I guess not
every week can be totally crazy. Too bad huh? 

Elder Miller

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 13, Alaska, Fairbanks

Hello people's,

This week has been pretty crazy, but it was a good week like usual. My
new companion is Elder Reading. He's a fun guy, he's super nerdy,
which is fun. We geek out sometimes, and it's pretty sad. I'll be here
in Fairbanks till at least mid-December, the beginning of February at
the latest. This week I saw the coldest weather I've ever seen in my
life. It was -15 out one day. If you breathe through your noses your
nose hairs freeze and your nostrils stick together. It's funny, but it
also means you have to breathe through your mouth all the time, so now
my throat is dry and I'm sick, which is unpleasant. It's just a cold,
no worries there, it's just annoying.

Monday we got up bright and early to take Elder Jesperson to the
airport, so I was with Elder Kettle who's serving in 5th ward for two
days because we didn't pick up our new companions till Tuesday night.
We had dinner with Bishop Roe, the previous bishop in the ward.
Apparently he would swear from the pulpit. He's hilarious though. He
always asks us for mission gossip. This ward is crazy. I feel like
people back home weren't this crazy. 

Tuesday was transfer meeting, so we watched all the departing
missionaries give their departing testimonies. It's funny how easy it
is to tell the people who cared about their mission and who didn't.
I'm hoping when I give my departing testimony it'll be clear that I
cared. Of course, I still got some time before I get there. Then that
night we picked up our companions from the airport. Elder Reading is
kind of a small, unintimidating kind of guy, so now they have two of
the smallest elders in the same ward. We're terrible at two on two
basketball now. He just came up from the Northern Lights Samoan ward,
so he eats like crazy. It's hilarious. He just doesn't stop, then he's
hungry an hour later. 

Wednesday and Thursday we pretty uneventful, but we were able to visit
a few people. We taught a few lessons, got lost a few times because
neither of us are masters of our area, and ate a lot of pizza. It was
a pizza filled week. 

Friday picked up though. We taught Lorinda and we brought a member so
we didn't have to do a lesson outside. We brought Brother Blankenship
who is a crazy old man, so it was an interesting lesson. The goal is
to get members to every lesson we have, but everyone works except for
old people, and all our investigators are young single mom's. It
doesn't work too well sometimes. But we're working on it! We have a
lot of spreadsheets right now. Too many spreadsheets. 

Saturday was great. We taught four lessons that day. We also attended
two baptisms, one was for a convert in 3rd ward, the other was for a
kid in our ward. It was really nice. It was a spiritual day, which
helped soothe my anxiety of being greenie -broke. The transfer after
you finish training is your greenie-brake transfer, which is stressful
because you're the only one who knows the area so everything is up to
you. No pressure. 

Sunday was a good Sabbath. There were three investigators at church.
The Smiths, who were with their friends the Kennedys, and Jennifer who
we got there with a member. It was awesome. Jennifer is crazy. She was
not afraid at all to participate in Gospel Principles or Relief
Society, and people were really good at fellowshipping her. We stopped
by her house after church to see how she liked it and she attack
hugged me. Elder Reading laughed at me.  Jennifer creeps on me a
little, it's weird man. 

So that's the week. I'm doing pretty good. Following the rules, not
driving like an idiot, freezing to death, it's all good. It's
currently -20 out right now, so that's an exciting development.
Tracting becomes significantly less effective at these temperatures.
Man I wish I hadn't run out of wool socks. Such is life. Have a great
week everybody. 

Elder Miller

The only picture I got this week was of this giant burrito that Elder Miller is apparently pretty proud of.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 12, Alaska, Fairbanks

Dear people of the universe,

This week was pretty awesome. It was the last week of the transfer, so
we had the choice of piling out or going hard in the paint. We went
hard. It was awesome. Everything's on the up and up right now. It just
keeps snowing. I love it. It'll probably get old at some point, but
for now it's just a lot of fun.

Monday we went to go see a couple places because it was my last week
with Elder Jesperson. We went out to North Pole, which was cool. Ill
send you pictures. I nerded out because they had a ton of playmobiles.
It was kind of sad, but I don't really care. Then we went to Hilltop
Truck stop to get stickers. It's at the top of a hill (duh) like 13
miles out of town. On the way back down Elder Jesperson thought it
would be a good idea to turn the traction control off on me. It was so
much fun. 

There was this wide curve and there was no way I was going
to resist the temptation to power slide around it. So that's exactly
what I did. I pulled the e-brake, probably the stupidest thing to do
in the snow without traction, and I locked the car into a sweet power
slide. As we round this curve going down hill, we see the semi coming
up the other side. So now we're locked into a power slide in iminent
danger of getting broadsided by a semi. At this point Elder Jesperson
is grabbing both the OH Crap handles. I release the e-brake, punch the
car into high gear (it's a floppy paddle), and try and gas it out of
the slide. After about 1.7 seconds (for an android and people about to
die, that's an eternity) the car finally grips and I can gas it out of
the slide. We almost rolled the jeep. It was awesome. Of course that's
all theoretical. 

Tuesday we had the best district meeting ever. It was all about
charity and everyone was feeling it. Then we had a lesson with a
recent convert named Taryn, and we made her teach us the Restoration.
It was funny. She was a little off, but that's what we're here for.
Teaching is fun. We also teach Jersey, her 8 year old sister. It's fun
to teach kids because you have to have creative lesson plans to keep
their attention. It doesn't always work. Kids man. We took Brother
Goddard, our new ward mission leader, to a lesson. That lady was
hostile. It wasn't the best. But he's super excited to do missionary
work again. He went to Chile on his mission. Now he's a statistician
and had 6 kids. He's like 35. He's crazy. 

 Wednesday I had the craziest dinner of my life. Nettle had us over
because she had questions about the Joseph Smith translations in the
Bible. She really just wanted to bash with us. Her husband Frank is
super cool though. He has arms the size of my chest. It's scary. After
all the bashing was done (she didn't understand our points because she
really didn't care about what we said. It was awesome) we had this
awesome guava cake. It was delicious. 
Thursday we shoveled. We shoveled a lot. We said we would come help
this awesome sister who's going through a divorce shovel her driveway.
Her driveway was the size of our our apartment. But it felt so good to
do service. We don't do a whole lot of it, so it felt good to just

Friday was transfer call day. We didn't get out transfer call till
Saturday morning though. 
Friday we had zone meeting. I danced. There's
a video. I'll send it. I actually have videos and pictures to send
this week. So that's a change. Friday our teaching slowed down. We
taught like 12 lessons this week, which is better than normal. 

 Saturday,owning we got our transfer call. Elder Jesperson is going to
Sterling on the peninsula to be a zone leader, and I'm staying here in
Fairbanks. My new companion is named Elder Reading. It'll be a good
transfer. We also went by the Andersons. I love them so much. They're
probably my favorite investigators. Maria told me I should be an
actor. They love us. They just have a lot of questions about random
things which keeps it interesting. We can't go in and teach a lesson,
they ask the funniest questions and it pulls us off topic. But we'll
get through all the basics eventually.

Sunday was also fun. We talked, I sang, people liked it. It was pretty
good. Then we went around, Elder Jesperson said a few goodbyes, then
we packed for a long time. It was rough. 

So that's pretty much the week. It was good. Hopefully you people are
having good weeks too. Missions are more fun than I thought. This has
been the fastest 3 months of my life. It's been hard for sure, but
it's really just rewarding. 

 Elder Miller

Play Mobils

The North Pole

Fairbanks Zone Conference

A little video of John

Apparently the dance video John refers to in his video is to big of a file to send. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 11, Alaska, Fairbanks

Dear friends and family and other people too I guess maybe 

It's certainly a winter wonderland outside right now. Everything's
covered in snow, it's 20 degrees, and it's dark. We get about 7 1/2
hours of sunlight a day, but we lose about 7 minutes a day, soon it'll
be 10. So we don't have much daylight left and it's rapidly
decreasing. The snow started again on Thursday and it hasn't really
stopped since. The snow is awful here. It's too dry and cold for it to
lack well, so you can't make snowballs with it. It's basically white
dust falling from the sky. Driving is fun on it because it blows every
which way. I like driving in the snow. Sometimes I turn the traction
control off, and rally car it around sharp corners. The Jeep sucks,
but at least it power slides well. As for the cold, well it's just
getting colder. It's not supposed to go above freezing too often in
the next week, and then not at all after that.

As for the week, it was pretty good. It wasn't super eventful though.
We taught a couple lessons, tracted in the snow, had a lot of generic
Chinese food, and tried really hard. Everyone gets really grumpy
around 6 30 because it's dark and cold at that point, so our
effectiveness goes down. And during the day we teach so many single
moms, because everyone else is working. So our teaching pool is
struggling, but that means we just have to work harder at finding.
Especially through members. Our investigators are all still good, plus
we picked up a new guy named Henry. He's a boss, literally and
figuratively. Jennifer, Karla, and Lorinda are all doing good, they're
just busy so we can't teach them as often as we like. 

Elder Jesperson and I are speaking in church next Sunday. I'm also
singing. They figured out that I've sung in church before, and now
they're working me for it. We're speaking about missionary work
because next week our Ward is starting a 40 day fast for missionary
work. We also just got a new Ward mission leader (Brother Gottard)
which is great because now we have a Ward mission leader who is
excited. We're getting an assistant Ward mission leader next week too,
so it's awesome. The Ward is super excited about missionary work, and
that's really helpful because everything slows down in the winter, so
if we can get referals we can keep teaching people instead of tracting
at -40.

Halloween was pretty terrible. We couldn't tract or anything so we
went around trying to visit people, but literally no one answered
their door. Then we had to go in at 7. And we couldn't even hand out
candy. So it was kinda dumpy. But the trunk or treat on Thursday was
fun. The Bishop dressed as Napolean Dynamite. He's 50, but his costume
was perfect. It was so great. 

So yeah, that's the week. I'm now 1/8th done with the mission, and
it's gone by crazy fast. What the heck is this? 


Elder Miller