Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 20, Cooks Inlet YSA, Anchorage


The ball in New York will drop at 8 here, so I should be able to watch
it. Sweet.

This week has been pretty crazy. It's my first full week in the area,
and it's been super hectic. That's Christmas for you. Because it's so
dark all the time people put up tons of Christmas decorations. It's
been hard to get into the Christmas season, but it was a lot of fun.
We carolled a lot as a district and zone so that was fun. I finally
got to sing again. It's been a pretty relaxing week, a little hard to
work because of the holidays, but relaxing nonetheless. This week will
probably be the same. All the YSA people are home from college right
now for break, so our ward is mondo. They'll all leave again next
week, but that's okay. We'll keep going without them.

Monday night was probably one of the hardest days of my mission. We
texted one of our investigators, Marc, to see if we could meet with
him. He responded by telling us he was feeling suicidal. Then he told
us he was going to shoot himself. So we had a suicidal investigator on
our hands. At this point Elder Crawford had no idea what to do and
went into full panic mode, so I was basically left alone to handle the
situation. After trying several times to contact him and failing, we
contacted as many of his friends as we could to try and get them to
contact him. They also failed. So we called the mission president who
gave us the number to a suicide hotline who told us to call the
police. So we called the police, who also couldn't contact him because
it turns out the address he gave us was his work, not his home. So at
this point I have no idea what to do. We had already been praying a
lot, but at this point I think I was praying harder than I have ever
prayed in my life. And then, thankfully, one of his friends finally
got in contact with him. He never responded to us that night, but he
was okay. He ended up taking his gun and firing it into the air
repeatedly, Hot Fuzz style I guess. I was just relieved he was okay.

We weren't able to do much Tuesday, but we did drop off a gift for
Marc, which helped him out. We finally got him to contact us that
night and we set up an appointment for Wednesday. His mom died last
Saturday and he was really struggling with depression. He told us that
it was because of us that he was still alive. No pressure.

Wednesday we had a very long service project. We helped a woman set up
her new house. It's been so long since I've had to set up an x box,
but it comes back to you I guess. We were movers for a little while.
So many couches. Then we had our meeting with Marc. It went really
well. We taught him about the plan of salvation and then he committed
to baptism! So we now have an investigator on date, which is awesome.
Sometimes things just go right, through no fault of our own. It was a
good day.

Christmas eve was sweet. We basically just did a bunch of service
projects. We helped another person move in to their house, and we
dropped off a bunch of random Christmas gifts. It was a lot of fun
seeing people get excited about it. Then for dinner we were fed moose
steak. It was delicious. John Petijohn, the guy who signed up to feed
us, is leaving on his mission in three weeks. The family gave us ties,
mine is pretty cool. It was a good day.

Christmas was awesome. I got to open presents and everything. My haul
was pretty good this year, mostly clothes, but hey that's being a
missionary for ya. We basically get the day off, because nobody wants
you to come by, so in the morning we had a brunch with the senior
couples and in the afternoon we partied with the mission president.
That's how we do it up here in Alaska. Then I got to Skype home, I'm
sure mom recorded the whole thing, and that was really nice. Made me
miss home a little bit, but good none the less. Then there was dinner.
It was glorious. We went to the Fleeners and they made prime rib. And
it was so good. So much meat. I can say that it wasn't as good as
mom's, but it was delicious anyways. Either could eat that meal
everyday till I die. It was a heavenly day.

Saturday we went back to work, which was nice because that's why I'm
here. We taught a lesson in the morning to our investigator Rhiannon,
which was good. She was feeling it, we were feeling it, the building
was feeling it. Then we went to Marc's mom's funeral. I can tell you,
you don't know weeping until you go to a Filipino funeral. Then Marc
got up and gave the best eulogy I've ever heard and literally dropped
the mic. It was an accident, but he still dropped the mic. It was nice
to be able to be there for him, and he's really looking forward to a
brighter future now instead of focusing so much on the darkness.

Then Sunday I had perhaps one of the funniest dinners of my mission.
We went to our Bishop's house, and he and his wife are both very
straightforward people. Sister McCarrey starts in on fixing Elder
Crawford's hair because he has no hairstyle. And then Bishop starts.
And then their son starts. And Elder Crawford is just sitting there
refusing to let them fix his hair. I was dying. They were about ready
to tie him down and style it for him, but we got out in time. This has
been a pretty awesome week.

It's much warmer here than I'd think it'd be. It's kind of sad. I
liked freezing to death everyday. But that's just how it goes. The
mountains here in Anchorage are beautiful. Ocean, mountains, forests,
city, what more can you need? Alaska is the best. I wouldn't ever live
here, but it certainly is a fascinating place to be.

Have a happy new year! Make some resolutions, drink some egg nog, try
not to get smashed by the ball.

Elder Miller

This is a hat John's dad got him for Christmas.  He loves it but unfortunately it may not be mission approved attire.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 19, Cooks Inlet YSA, Anchorage

Merry Christmas! 

 This week was pretty good I think. Transfers happened, which was
pretty crazy. Elder Crawford is an interesting guy. This could either
be a really good transfer, or the longest 7 weeks of my life. Only
time will tell I suppose. Either way, I'm pumped to be in this area.
We have work for days. Sort of. 
 Tuesday was crazy day. We had transfer meeting, so we were running
around all day. I went on exchanges in the morning with Elder
Christensen who came out with me, he was in my group in the MTC, and
neither of us really know Anchorage at all. So that was an adventure.
Then we had transfer meeting, which was actually really good this
time. All the departing testimonies were powerful, plus I actually
knew some of the people so it had more effect. Then the craziness
resumed because we had to unpack and pick up the Elders serving in
Barrow, so I got to hang out with Elder Rogers, my MTC companion for a
day. That was fun. 
 Wednesday was just as hectic. We had the Barrow elders with us till 2
so we lost a lot of time. Then we lost got our car towed at the
airport. It was funny. Then we had a service project for homeless
people for hours. It was pretty fun. 
 Thursday we had a dinner party for foster care families in the area.
It was super busy, but it was a lot of fun. I was the juice guy. I
made a lot of juice. So much juice. It was ridiculous. Apparently we
do a lot of service in Anchorage, but it's really good stuff so it's
ll good. 
 Friday was filled with meetings and caroling. But we picked up a new
investigator named Mark, who is the most excited I've ever seen
someone be for meeting with the missionaries. He's super cool and it's
exciting to teach people that are super pumped about it. He's had a
cray life and he's trying to change, so we're helping him out. He came
to church with us Sunday, it was cool. 

Saturday we had a lesson with a girl named Rhiannon. She's super cool
as well. This ward has a lot of work to do. She was crying like the
whole time from how much she was feeling it. Both of her best friends
just got back from their missions, and they both came and it was
probably the best lesson I've ever been to. It was nuts. After a long
week it was really nice to be able to have a lesson like that. 
 Sunday was also awesome. This ward meets at 1 which is so late. So we
have meetings all day. Then both Mark and Rhiannon came to church
which was cool. We had a fireside that night where all the new
converts in the area bore there testimonies which was also really
powerful. It was a rough, busy week, but it ended really well. 
 Have a merry Christmas everyone! I don't know if I'll be able to reply
to everyone this week, because today will be crazy, but next week I
will! So everyone have a good week and an excellent tool holiday! 

Elder Miller

This is the little tree I sent John so he would have a Christmas tree and the gifts he has received.  Apparently he doesn't realize he can straighten the tree  out a bit.  (note from mom)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week 18, Cooks Inlet YSA, Anchorage

People of the universe,

This week has been nuts. I finally got transferred out of Fairbanks.
I'm a little sad, but it's going to be good. I'm serving in Cook Inlet
YSA, which is the YSA ward for the South Anchorage stake. So I cover
all of South Anchorage. Apparently like 60 people come to this YSA, so
it's big enough to be a ward. According to Elder Crawford, my new
companion, it's the best YSA in the mission. So I'm excited. I've been
out 4 and a half months. Elder Crawford has been out for 3, he just
finished getting trained. So I'm greenie breaking him. I just got
greenie broke, now I'm greenie breaking. So neither of us know what's
happening. It's going to be an interesting 7 week transfer.

Monday we went sledding for our p day activity. I have videos and
stuff, but I have no idea how to compress them, so hopefully you get

Tuesday I had my final visit with the Andersons. They're still crazy.
Apparently at one point Glenn was a professional Ultimate Frisbee
player. Who knew? I didn't even know pro Frisbee was a thing until he
showed us a tournament. Then we helped a member with a science
experiment for his science fair and I got to wreck a bunch of other
missionaries with peanut butter.

Wednesday we were on exchanges and we found a new investigator who
isn't actually a new investigator because he's a member. But he agreed
to come to church next week. I'll never get to teach him, but it was
gold that we could find new people. Elder Reading will be training in
Fairbanks and I couldn't leave him with no work.

Thursday we taught Adrian, our new member guy that we found, and
Henry, who's one of our progressing investigators. It's funny, because
while I was in Fairbanks I couldn't get anyone to keep or make
commitments, but the week I leave all our investigators started
actually doing stuff. So I'm hoping that next transfer there's a lot
of success there, even if I couldn't make it happen while I was there.

Friday is transfer call day, but both Elder Reading and I forgot about
it. So when President called we thought we were in trouble. But then
we got transfer calls. We also handed out a Book of Mormon at dinner
again, which was fun. We gave one to a cook at my favorite Mexican
joint in Fairbanks, Tacos Azteca Dos. It was fun.

Saturday I had to go out and by luggage, because I needed an extra bag
for the obscene number of Christmas presents I have. I got all of
them, for any interested parties. I also ate a pound of fudge. It was
delicious. Thanks Grandma. Then we taught our nerd friend Mike Tally,
which was a lot of fun. That was my last lesson in Fairbanks.  (In our defense, most of his obscene amount of Christmas presents were wool socks, glove liners, hats and so forth.  I just wrapped everything separately so he would have more to open.)

Sunday was a day of running around. In ward council we started
formulating the new ward mission plan. Then we went to six hours of
church because we were babysitting another Elder. And then there was a
lot of packing. Packing is very stressful. And now I'm in Anchorage.
We flew in this morning.

I loved Fairbanks, but change should be good. Apparently YSA wards are
the best, so I'm excited. Maybe I'll finally get something done. So
I'm excited. Plus I'll probably get shot at less, so that's an added

Elder Miller

The missionaries in Elder Miller's district.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 17, Alaska, Fairbanks

 This week has been pretty good. Weather is weird. One day it'll be 20
then the next will be -20. You kind of just gotta flip a coin in the
morning. I'm not driving anymore because Elder Reading is learning
how to drive around the area, so the driving has become considerably
less crazy. We blast Christmas music now, most of which has some form
of Opera singer soloist because it's MoTab, so we get funny looks from
other cars. Transfer calls are at the end of this week so if I'm
getting transferred out of Fairbanks, I'll know then. Or if I'm
staying I guess I'll also know. I wouldn't mind staying in this area
for another transfer. That'll put me here for six months. Oofta.
 Monday was apparently Christmas shopping day, but nobody told us, so
we're doing our Christmas shopping today. We also taught a lesson on
Monday, which doesn't normally happen, so that was cool. 
 Tuesday through Thursday we got service trapped hardcore. Brother
Maxon, whose restaurant has serious issues, had to move out. The
building is full of mold because of water damage caused by a leak. So
we were enlisted to help. I didn't mind because they really needed the
help. Brother Maxon has been given a year to live by his doctors. He
has diabetes and he's allergic to insulin, so his blood sugar sits at
around 700. He can get it figured out, but with the restaurant he has
too much stress. So we've been helping them get moved out. Plus we got
a bunch of free Mexican sodas, so bonus. 
 Friday was fun. We were able to do a lot of teaching. At dinner we
were taken out to eat to a restaurant called Tacos Azteca, where we've
eaten 4 times this week. But this time we gave a Book of Mormon to the
woman who works at the counter. Her name is Anna and she's Panamanian,
so we gave her our only Spanish Book of Mormon. There's no Spanish
speaking missionaries in Fairbanks, so this might be interesting.
 Saturday we went to visit Mike Tally, who's less active, and we walked
in on like 10 nerds playing dungeons and dragons. They were fighting a
giant centipede. It killed their sorcerer. Poor guy. We weren't able
to share a lesson, but I made a bunch of nerds laugh, so it was fun.
Then we double dipped for dinner. I'm still in pain from that. Brother
Summers gave us two pound hamburgers. It was so brutal. 
 Sunday was pretty good as well. We were able to watch the Christmas
devotional, and we finally tracked down Lorinda. It turns out she
wasn't avoiding us. She was just avoiding her house. So we're still
teaching her. We're also drafting a new ward mission plan for this
ward, which has been an interesting experience because I don't even
know what a ward mission plan is. 
 Other than that not much happened this week. We had two investigators
open the door naked. That was pretty crazy. Elder Reading totally
didn't even realize that this one girl was naked (she was mostly
hidden behind the door) and he was totally trying to get in the door.
I got us out of there and then explained the situation. We had a good
laugh about that one. It was even funnier because our ward mission
leader was with us. 
 We also went tracting at -20. I don't recommend doing that. We turned
into missionary icicles. It was bad. I couldn't feel my ears or nose,
and my eyes were freezing. It was awesome.

And that's the week. 
Stay gold. 

Elder Miller