Hermana Millington - Notes from New Jersy

Thursday, December 22, 2016

La Semana Navideña (casi)

December 19, 2016

Okay. This week was crazy. Seriously, last night we just died. But! It was super good :) we went on exchange Tuesday to Wednesday, and Sister Baine came to Englewood with me! She was the first STL I ever went on exchange with 9 months ago in Lakewood! Isn't that cute? :) it was so awesome! We worked hard and had a really good time. She's a great missionary. 

On Thursday we did all kinds of good weekly planning, and my poor little companion was pretty sick and ended up taking a little nap and I made some calls. That night we went and saw Hermana Torres, who is the teacher of the youth Sunday school class. She asked us to teach her class on Sunday and fed us hamburgers and hot chocolate! Oh man. I hadn't felt that sick in a long time. But! She's a sweet lady :) and she gave me a little scarf to stay warm walking home! Love that little family. They take good care of us. 

On Friday morning we went to the all-mission December conference!! Woo!!! It was seriously the biggest party ever. All my best friends in one place :) we sang La Primera Navidad again (those elders and I) and Bishop Bart Oats gave us a sweet training about football and missionary work! He's won a couple Super Bowls and stuff. NBD. But it was pretty funny, he showed us part of the 2007 super bowl and we all got so excited! Man, football. Such good stuff. Haha then we had an amazing lunch of ham and potatoes, and I sat with Sister Pace and her new trainee, Sister McCleve, Sister Gibson, and Sister Smith. I love those ladies. Then we had some hilarious elders sing the 12 days of Christmas in NJMM and it was SO GOOD. I'll try to send it to you, but it might be too big! So funny. Then we had a couple other funny skits in the gym, and then back to the chapel for another training from President and a Sister Taggart. I love them so much. They and the other senior missionaries did so much to help this Christmas time be all good and happy :) then after we got all our packages and took them to our cars (so excited!! And I'm loving the 12 days of Christmas <3), and headed out! I went back home with Sister Peña and we had a good exchange all weekend! It was a two-day exchange, which was cool! 

Elder Wagner, nephew of Ted and Leslie Wagner
Now I'm not Wagner-less this Christmas!!!

On our exchange, we met this referral named Patricia. She's this young mother from the Dominican Republic, and super awesome! We taught her the Restoration and when we asked her if she would read the Book of Mormon she said "yeah, of course! I don't know what it is.. but something inside me makes me feel like I really need to read this Book. I need to know if it's true. I don't think it's a coincidence that you found me right after my son said he wants to go to church." It was SO AWESOME. And she invited us over for dinner the 24th!! So I'm super super excited about Patricia :) it was a great exchange! Sister Peña is from Peru, and we talked in Spanish the whole time! Woo! My Spanish is getting a lot better with my Mexicana. I love sister Holguin so much. I seriously miss her a lot when we go on exchanges.. it's the best :) 

So yeah! It was a really great week! Super busy and exhausting, but así es. Being a missionary during this Christmas time is the bomb :) Christmas here on the mission is pretty different than it is back home, but I love it! There's no time for shopping for presents or decorating a Christmas tree, really, but all we do is focused on the Savior. And that's the way it should be! We give our all every day for Him. I'm so blessed to be a missionary this time of year. I get to focus solely on Christ: His birth, life, and sacrifice for us. I get to go out every day and find the people that are searching for Him but might not know where to find him. I get to read His words every day and apply them to my life and the people here that I love. I get to share the power of His light and love with everyone I meet. I'm not a perfect missionary in any way, but He is so patient with me! I know He lives. He was born a cute little baby, just like us. He grew up, just like us. He was tempted and sometimes hurt, just like us. But His mission here on earth was so much bigger. He was the Only Begotten Son of the Father, the Prince of Peace. He came to this fallen world to save it! And He accomplished that mission, out of love for us and all our brothers and sisters. 

I love you all SO SO MUCH!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Exchanges and Fireside - December 12, 2016

Freezing at the street table stand (on Bergenline Street in West New York) with Sis. Holguin

The Zone after "Traditions with the Taggarts"
So on Wednesday we had the cutest zone conference, called Traditions with the Taggarts! We all went to the mission home and had a delicious French toast breakfast, and then did a little Christmas thing. President read the story of Christ's birth and we sang the songs throughout! I played piano, and it was really sweet :) Then we had some good trainings on teaching the Restoration and on faith. I'd been forgetting faith was SO VITAL in our work. 
Then!! Our first exchange. I went with Sister Gonzalez to her area in Passaic, and it was crazy! That's a super crazy place. Everything is so City over here. But we saw their recent convert and had a really powerful lesson with her on having faith and hope through trials. S González is a good teacher for sure. It was fun to get to know her! 

Thursday we were together for weekly planning. That was pretty crazy! But I love weekly planning :) and it was cool to be able to hear about all their people and kind of get to know them. It was crazy how I was filled with so much love for these few people I hadn't even met yet. I know those Sisters will take good care of them. 
We exchanged back, and that was awesome. Then we went and saw this guy who looks like Yoda. He's a sweet little man. We taught him the Ten Commandments and that all went well! Then we went to see Nora and her son David (who we were going to teach woo!), but we ended up seeing Nora and Jared, her nephew! We talked and talked about families and how awesome they are. It was cool, it was more like a sweet little conversation. And super cool to meet Jared, he's awesome! (I feel like I definitely overuse "cool" and "awesome." Sorry guys hehe) then we literally ran to our branch president's house for dinner! We had some yummy meatloaf and Ecuadorian soda. We sat and talked about our favorite scripture stories for a long time :) it was sweet! He has a cute little family and a beautiful house! And this collection of antique record players and stuff-- way rad. Anyway. Thursday was a crazy day :)  

Then Friday!! Gotta get down on Friday. We went to Bergenline, this crazy busy street in West New York, and did a table stand with Elders Miller and Justice and Sister Mondragon and Flinders. It went well! We met a few people and sang them some Christmas songs and all kinds of good stuff :) it was super fun. But SUPER COLD.  We had a funny experience that night, we went to go see a less-active family in this apartment amongst all the Koreans (they're everywhere). They didn't answer, so we were debating about this Christmas decoration on a door across the hall-- whether or not it was Bambi (it totally wasn't). Haha! So we're standing there talking, and the guy that lives there walks up and is like "hey...?" Haha! Awkward. Anyway, we end up contacting him and sharing the Christmas video and everything! And he asked for a selfie with us.. haha! Anyway, miracles. 

Then YESTERDAY. It was seriously the biggest party ever. We had our all-Spanish-mission Christmas fireside! I played for almost all the songs and it was sweet! And I sang in a small group with a few elders, we sang the First Noel. It turned out pretty I think :) if you can see this friend of mine STJ Jacob on Facebook, he had a video of it there! And it was so fun-- a ton of people from Dover came! Like Alexiz, Noe, Yalily, all the Sanchez family, and even Salvador!! It was the BEST to see them again :) seriously SO MUCH JOY. 

Anyway, this week was super crazy. Lots of things. But we're safe and alive and my companion is the best in the whole world :) I'm so happy!
I love you all SO MUCH. The Lord is blessing us so much and providing for us in every way. He and Sister Holguin are taking good care of me :) 

Hermana Millington 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ENGLEWOOD PARTY - December 5, 2016

"We made it to Mormon.org!!!   Miracle at IHOP"!
Dec. 5, 2016 

Hermana Holguin - I gave her Idaho candy and she gave me Mexican candy :)

Holy cow, family. This is crazy stuff over here. I am just so flipping
happy every day I can't take it :) I have an awesome area that needs a
ton of work, I have so many sweet sisters to serve with, and my
companion is literally the best person ever in the world. I am so
happy :) plus sister smith is in my district, so that super rocks!
She's the cutest. And her companion is Dominican and super awesome.

We spent the week in meetings and meeting all kinds of members! It was
so sweet. We had a sweet district meeting, a new leader's training
meeting, and mission leader council. And oh man. These meetings are so
exhausting. And super crazy pants. But! We had a really good week :)
I'm just excited to actually get to work and meet people and find
people to baptize!! Sister Holguin has a TON of faith and is an
amazing pray-er.

We have this darling family, the Calderon family, that we saw a couple
times this week. They have a cute son named Peter who is like 10 or 11
and brought a friend to church this week! Woo! They gave us some
delicious Dominican food. And I had this sweet Dominican drink, morir
soñando, which means to die dreaming! Haha! And it's like a mixture of
creamy milk and orange juice. It's seriously dying dreaming. So good.

Anyway, it was a crazy week. I still have no idea what it means to be
a Sister Training Leader, but that's okay. Haha! Sister Holguin and I
are having an amazing time :) we speak Spanish almost all the time and
it's sweet! I seriously am so happy :) and this week we have our first
exchange with Sister Smith and Gonzalez! Woo! That'll be really fun i
think. And we have a Christmas zone conference at the mission home so
that'll be super fun!

Anyway, I'm learning a lot, folks. Like, tons. I am so so blessed and
so excited to blow up this area with sister Holguin. She's the best
and life is so good :)

Have a wonderful week!!

Hermana Millington

TRANSFERS!! - November 28, 2016


Last Dover District meeting

So here's the news people:
I'm going to Englewood with Sister Holguin!! And.... I'm going to be a Sister Training Leader!! I am so excited :) Sister Holguin is super awesome! I don't remember where she's from.. But she's a native Spanish speaker! And she's super sweet. I love her a lot already. I'm really excited to be her comp! And Englewood is an awesome area! Sister Gibson and Sister Smith both loved it there. So it's going to be really awesome to see how that all goes. It'll be a change for sure! It's definitely more city than Dover.. But then again, everything is.. haha! But yeah :) And as for STL-ing, that'll be a big adventure! I still feel like I'm so new on the mission, I have no idea what I'm doing.. But I guess I'll have to learn quick! But Sister Smith and Sister Keys are both in a couple of the areas we'll be helping! So I'll get to go on exchanges and to Mission Leaders Conference and all kinds of fun stuff. Yay! I'm really excited :) I know it's going to take a lot of prayer and love, but I know that the Lord will help me magnify my calling as a missionary and this assignment to help the sisters in Zone 3 and 4. 
Also, Sister Hettinger from my district in the MTC is coming here to Dover with Sister Gibson! Woo! She's going to do so awesome here. And Sister Gibson is panicking a little because she's senior companion, but I know she's going to do so well :) 
AND my beloved mama, Sister Pace, is going to train again! And she's being doubled-in to Perth Amboy!! Man, I'm so excited for her :) I'm going to have a baby sister!! Woo!! She's going to do so well. She's a flipping rock star.

Turkey Bowl!!!
Although I will miss Dover :( And they're kicking me out right before Christmas, too! So mean. I had a great last week here, though. Our Thanksgiving was awesome! We met as a zone at a cute diner for breakfast, and then we had the Turkey Bowl in the morning, where we joined with Zone 2 and 3. We had six teams of about 10 people each! My team was... okay... we won one game! Woo! And the team we beat had gone undefeated! Haha but it was pretty fun anyway :) Except I accidentally elbowed another sister in the jaw.. but she was charging our quarterback and going REALLY HARD. I was scared for my life, man. It was all in self-defense. Haha! But it was really fun to be there. And all my past companions (except Sister Davis from the MTC) were there! Isn't that sweet?? Man, I love those sisters so much. It was especially fun to see Sister Smith again. She's so awesome.  During the championship game I actually sat and watched with Sister Holguin! She's so darn sweet. And her spanish is perfect (obviously) so that's awesome, too. She's actually a transfer younger than me, but she's really amazing. We're going to have fun! :)
Thanksgiving dinner at Bishop Haro's
For dinner we went to the Bishop's house and had some delicious turkeys and those yummy skillet potatoes! They reminded me of home :) Then we went to the Bravo's house and had some ham and sweet potatoes. They gave us a TON of left-overs. And I remembered how much I LOVE left-over ham. So flipping good. It was really sweet of them all to invite us over to eat with them. I missed being home with the family. But the good news was that it really didn't feel like too much of a different day. So I didn't get too trunky :) I hope everything was great in beautiful Buhl! Haha! I miss that funny place.

Thanksgiving dinner at Bravo's

On Saturday this weekend we had a really bummer night. We organized this really awesome activity that was like a plane crash and the plan of salvation and all this stuff, and Rigoberto (our ward mission leader) was super excited! He said people come every year and it goes super well! But this year... we got six people to show up, an hour late. And then two hours later a little family came. It was really rough. I felt super bad for him. Man, activities are SO HARD. And maybe it was because it was a holiday weekend? I don't know. But either way, I don't think it'll help his relationship with the ward very much. It was a super bummer. But we tried to have a good attitude about it all and it ended up alright.  

Yesterday was a lovely last Sunday in Dover. It was kind of a rough week because I had this feeling that I was going to leave and I was excited, but I didn't want to get a call and end up staying and then be all disappointed. So I worked hard and made the best of it all! I didn't get trunky on Dover! But on Sunday we had this really awesome gospel principles class about the Atonement. It was really powerful. I wish we'd had investigators there! Dang. And then after RS (and a minute playing for the primary :)) we stayed and helped move tables. We also took some pictures that you've probably seen on Facebook! I also might have sent them with the other pictures.. I don't remember. blast. Either way, it was good! Then we had some lunch and quick studies, and then a sweet lesson with Noe about patriarchal blessings! He'd asked about them a couple weeks ago. So we brought a YW, Sammy, who'd received hers recently, and it went super well. On our drive to the Montenegro's house, we got a call from President Taggart! We kept it on speaker while I was driving, and he said they'd prayed about it and had it confirmed and asked if I would be willing to accept an assignment to serve as a Sister Training Leader. I said of course! After we hung up I flipped out a little bit, I am SO excited!! So we texted a couple sisters and let them know "I got the call," they'd texted and asked a couple days before. Then we went to the Montenegro's and had a lovely dinner of chicken soup and tostaditos blancos, and Guatemalan hot chocolate. After we shared a message Hno Montenegro got a little emotional as he was saying goodbye. It was really sweet. I super love that family, I'm going to miss them a lot :( Then we went and saw Salvador and had a good little lesson with him. I'm going to miss him, too, he's progressing so well right now!! 

Sis. Smith
Anyway, today is a crazy day full of packing and writing in transfer journals and saying goodbye and all kinds of things. So I'm sorry this email is pretty rushed and crazy, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed! But not as overwhelmed as Sister Gibson. So I'm keeping my cool and trying to help a sista out. She's so awesome, though. I'm going to miss her. I'm ready for a change of place and people and everything, but I will miss it here. The members here really have become like family to me. I've learned so much here about hard work and humility. I've grown a lot from the experiences I've had here. Dover, New Jersey will always have a special place in my heart :) 
All of her companions Sis. Smith, Sister Gibson, Sister Troconis, and Sister Pace

Have an awesome week, I love you!!
Hermana Millington

Thursday, December 8, 2016

SNOWWWWWWW - November 21, 2016

Elder Frostbite

Hey family!! What's up?? Man, this week is going to be weird.. The beginning of my first holiday season away from home! That's dumb. But I'm glad I have my little family here in Dover, they take good care of us :) And we already have a couple dinners scheduled for Thursday! Woo! And on Friday the new Christmas Initiative that the church is doing is coming out! Have you seen the videos on Facebook about that? It's all about service this year. And every day in December they'll have new ideas for how to follow the example of the Savior and serve! There's a cute little advent calendar and everything :) Not quite like our little Santa in the tree one at home, but still good :) 

So this week was pretty rad! We worked hard and saw a lot of miracles! On Monday we had a funny experience visiting a sweet Dominican lady, Violeta, who isn't a member, but her daughter is (and is inactive). She's met a lot with missionaries before, but said that they were always pushing her to be baptized and do all these things, and she doesn't want to do anything until she knows for sure it's the right thing to do. Until she has her own desire. So we were reading in the intro to the Book of Mormon where it has Moroni's promise, and we asked her, "so have you ever prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true?" and she was like "um no." WHAT. So this lady is sitting here this whole time telling us she has to know if it's all true, and she's never even ASKED. Silly lady. So now we need to find her motive--why would it be important for her to know if it was all true. Anyway, that was kind of funny. People are silly sometimes. Just flipping pray and ask. 

Tuesday was a good day, we had a great family time before district meeting, and lunch after was lovely as well. Our awesome zone leaders brought us ice cream and grahm crackers with chocolate frosting. We told them they were our favorite comfort foods :) So great! Then we went and served at the Restore, and later that night had a lesson with Edwin. Yalily (an awesome lady from the ward) came with, and that was really rad. The lesson kind of turned into a lecture from Yalily about how to ask his girlfriend to marry him, but it was good nonetheless! And we don't really know how to talk to him about that, soooo.. Haha! Good stuff all around. 

Wednesday I got SO EXCITED when I got Sether's email!! That's like my favorite time of the week. I can see how moms of missionaries wait and wait to hear from their kiddies :) He's so awesome. What a stud. We finally found this cute less-active lady, Himelda. We showed her the video and gave her the invitation to come back and reconnect with the Savior through partaking of the sacrament again. She got pretty emotional as she told us she'd struggled a lot, but knew she needed the Savior in her life. And she came to church on Sunday! Woo! And her family aren't members, so we're excited to try to keep meeting with her and hopefully helping her family, too. She's just the cutest, shortest, little Mexican lady. I love her a lot. We went to Bristol Glenn this afternoon and were upstairs this time, not in memory care. The whole time we talked to this funny lady, Sonia, about her life. She told us the same four stories over and over again, but it was darling. And we kept trying to change the subject and talk about other things and hear other stories, but she kept bringing up her "Big Brother Johnny" and how her dad used to walk her mother home from work every night and it was the sweetest thing. What a cute lady :) We had dinner that night with Carmen Almeida, and it was seriously some of the best food I've had since being out here. Delicious potatoes and chicken and rice. Which is like all we ever eat, but this time it was way good!! 

Thursday we served at the Restore and organized the Christmas stuff! Woo!! And I heard my favorite song, "Hot Makin' Grill" so that was pretty rad as well. Haha :) We did a ton of weekly planning that day, and our comp inventory went well. I just realized how much of a fish I've been this whole time! I wish I would have known nine months ago that what I really need to work on is living in the moment and stopping comparing myself to other missionaries. I mean, I know I've always been bad at those things, but I wish I could have been working harder on them this whole time so I could really be improving! But the Lord is so good, He's brought them to my attention and I still have so much time left to work on them :) 

Friday was a CRAZY day. I didn't know I could experience so many ups and downs in one day. Haha! At the beginning of the day we had like 6 lessons planned and we were so excited for all of them! And then I think only two actually ended up happening. Boo. But!! We got a call a couple days before from a sweet sister in the Morristown branch asking us to help with some service project a couple doors down from the chapel. So we went and helped bring bags of food into this little room from a truck! We were helping the Morris Center for Hispanic Affairs, they were going to give these turkeys and bags of food to people in need. So we brought them all in, and then went home and finished studies. A couple hours later, we went back and helped hand them out to people! One of the people was this darling little lady, and I helped her carry her turkey outside. I thought we were just going to put it in her car.. But then it turned out she didn't have a car and had to walk pretty far. And we couldn't let her carry this 10 pound turkey and another bag of food all the way home on her own! So we went with her:) It ended up being an amazing opportunity to get to know and teach Mora Luna. She's struggled with some deaths in the family and understanding what she did wrong and how God would let that happen to her. She also had a question about if God had a daughter, too, which was weird. Anyway! We were able to testify of the Plan of Salvation and help her understand that she will see her parents and her siblings again. It was amazing to see the light and the smile come to her face as we told her about how loving our Father in Heaven is and how everything will be okay :) When we got to her house, she commented that she never really talks to people, but she was glad she got to talk to us today! She gave us waterbottles and her information and we plan on trying to see her again this week! I really love her. So then we walked back to the MCHA and continued serving there. And THEN. We're just hanging out serving and whatnot, and in walks this lady. And she's all "hey! It's the hermanitas from the church!" Turns out, she's this inactive member we've been looking for, Monicka! So she told us her whole story, how she found the church in Peru. And she told us she has a daughter that's fourteen that she wants to be baptized! So we set an appointment to see them saturday, and they weren't there. Punks. But! We're hopeful we can work with them and figure out what's really holding them back. So awesome and so random, right? Such a miracle. THEN. We went and saw this lady, Adriana, and her daughter. And they are the SWEETEST. Holy cow, I totally fell in love with them. We showed a video and talked about the Book of Mormon, and they got so excited to read! They know they need peace and fulfillment in their lives and we helped them begin to understand how they can find that in the gospel. So we have super high hopes for them! And when we went to the Stone family's home for dinner that night we talked to them about them and said they'd love to come with to teach them! It would be so perfect. They're both so spanglish, have 11-year old daughters, and are the cutest ever. So we're really excited about that! Our dinner with the Stone's was so nice. They are a very American family, and really sweet. But it ended up going way long, so we made it really late to our lesson with Salvador. And I was so worried, he didn't sound very happy about it on the phone when we said we were on our way.. But when we got there he was just fine! But we made sure to bring him cookies on Sunday so he doesn't stay mad at us.. Haha! But he's pretty awesome. 

Saturday was a pretty interesting day, we got juked a bunch. But! That morning we went to the construction site and helped this guy Julio, who's actually going to live in the house we were working on! So that was cool! And he's from Peru, and doesn't speak a lot of English. So it was super fun to speak spanish with him as we were drilling things in! I was able to translate a little of what he didn't understand and I was glad that I could serve a little bit :) But there was a moment when I was hammering a nail in, and I hit the wrong nail. And my poor little finger is still blue. Haha! Oops. That hurt pretty bad. But! It's alright, no pain no gain, right? Anyway, good stuff. That afternoon we met with Noe at El Catracho and talked about the priesthood and preparing to go to the temple. He's so cool! He's doing well, he just needs to be better at reading the scriptures and being consistent in that. But he's paying his tithing now and is doing well :) Then we tried to do a little finding in Newton, but to no avail :( Flippers. 
Salvador brought chocolates to church for us!
Sunday was awesome! We woke up to SNOW!! I woke up at like 4:30 and saw it, and I had to walk around the house and make sure it was real life. I was so excited :) But my excitement was NOTHING compared to Sister Gibson! Haha! It was her first time really ever seeing snow! She was so stoked. So we went outside for a few minutes and made a little baby snowman named Elder Frostbite :) It was so funny to be with Sister Gibson to play in the snow for a few minutes. Although very chilly. And by the time we'd gotten there, it was all pretty icy. But it made for good snowballs! ;) We had the primary program that day and it was sweet! The little kids were SO CUTE. It was mostly in spanish, and some of them don't really know Spanish because they've grown up here their whole lives, but they all did so well :) And this darling little grandson of a member, Denzel, was so flipping cute. And his dad came who wasn't a member! And we hadn't been able to see him! Woo! So we talked to him for a second and he said we should coordinate with his mom to come over next Sunday and see them :) So yay! Sunday school all went well, and we had cake in Relief Society (sorry Dad) so that was all good :) and right after RS the bishop's daughter gave us a referral to give to the english elders of her boyfriend! yay! So we're hopeful they can do well with him, they're really awesome elders--our fearless zone leaders. Then we went to a baptism! The Dover Elders baptized an investigator, Leonel, who is super awesome. And the son of a member, Dave, was also baptized. And they live together, so that was really sweet. The service all went really well, except I think Dave got a little water up his nose.. Haha! But we had a good time, I gave a little talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost and all the missionaries sang. We had a really good turn-out, too! And Salvador came! Isn't that sweet? He's awesome. We saw him again that night and read from the Book of Mormon. He's progressing super well and we're so happy about it! We actually went Sunday morning right before church started and knocked on his windows because he wasn't there yet. And we'd threatened to do that, but I don't think he took us very seriously. Haha but we did it, and we woke him up, and he came! And he thanked us later :) We also found a new investigator from some knocking last night, so that was good, too! 

Anyway, this week has been crazy. And next week will be really interesting as well! We have a Turkey Bowl Thursday morning with a couple other zones, and I'm really excited! I'll get so see Sister Smith again, which is sweet! She's so awesome. And Thanksgiving dinner(s) will be lovely I'm sure :) 

So I started a new Book of Mormon last week (I think) and today I finished Jacob and Enos. I just love the Book of Mormon, you guys. This time I'm reading it about prayer and the Holy Ghost to learn a little more about that. I've learned a lot about prayer lately. I've learned how grand and beautiful it is, but also how small and sweet and simple it is. It really just depends on us and where we're at and what we need or want to say. I'm working on being more myself in my prayers and keeping our comp prayers from being too repetitive. I think because we always pray in spanish, we just get in the habit of saying certain things we know how to say. But we're getting better at praying specifically for things and for people. I'm thankful that I've been brought to be a little humbler in order to step back and look at what the Lord really needs me to improve right now. I'm thankful to be a missionary every day, and I'm thankful for my awesome family back home :) I really do miss you guys and love you a lot. I think about you all the time and wonder what you're up to from time to time. I think about how in the world I'm going to tell you all the things I want to about all the things I'm learning, but then remember that when we're together again we won't be able to talk, the food will be too good ;) hehe wahoo. 

Okay i love you all! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving :) 
Sister Millington

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

From the momma (Gayla) - Wednesday, November 2nd was a BLESSED day

Look who Todd found in NYC today

I posted this photo in Lexi's letter, but I need to record how it was for me when I saw this picture. Matt sent it to me as I was making dinner Wednesday night. It was a total surprise to see it. I didn't know that Lexi was going to the temple that day, and I certainly didn't know that Todd Schwartzman (who is the manager of The Strike - the band that Matt plays in) would be there. He was in NYC for a few days and on Wednesday just happened to notice a bunch of missionaries out on the street. He yelled out to them and Lexi recognized him!! As she said in her letter - she kinda went crazy for a second to see someone she knew from home. WOW!  What a COOL moment!!!

What made it even COOLER was this -

Seth & Elder Smith
Mexico City Temple

We got this picture from a couple who went to the temple with Seth in Mexico on the SAME day!
So, Lexi and Seth were both in a temple on the same day in different parts of the world. I'm still tearing up when I think about it. What an incredible blessing to see two of my sweet, sweet kids on the same day having been to the temple as missionaries. What an unexpected blessing for me. My loving Heavenly Father knew I needed a little boost and reassurance that they are in His hands, and so am I.

Half-way there and living on a prayer... November 7, 2016

Hey family! This week was super crazy.. I hardly got to work in my own area! But it was super awesome. I can't believe I'm almost half-way! This week! I'm getting OLD. Too bad I still don't have any idea what I'm doing! lol 

On Tuesday, we had all our good missionary meetings. They all went well, not much to report there. I love our zone family though, they're all awesome. We went bowling last Monday and that was super fun! Although I scored a 53.. you can disown me if you want.. hahaha. But the second round I got an 87! Woohoo! At least I didn't get last either time, that was the goal :) anyway, after all our meetings we went and met this referral from the English elders, Carlos. He is so awesome!! He speaks really good English, so our 15 minute lesson with him was pretty Spanglish. But it was sweet--he wants to change his life and start over so bad! We shared a video with him and got an appointment to come back and teach him and his wife. We're excited and hopeful! Then we went to see this sweet sister from the ward, Carmen Almeida, who fed us lunch. She's from Ecuador and her food was delicious! And her house is on this p

retty little lake, it was so cute. That night we had a lesson with Noe that went pretty well! He's thinking about going on a mission--wouldn't that be so cool!? He would learn and grow SO MUCH. And he's only 23, he's still got time! Woohoo! 
Manhattan temple

On Wednesday we went to the Manhattan temple! That was so awesome. We ended up having to wait for a couple missionaries at the Englewood chapel where we all met, so we played some fun games. Then we took a bus to the subway station. On the way there I talked to this girl named Kathleen who was super cool and from Oregon! Unfortunately I didn't have a Book of Mormon in English to give her.. but! Pass-along cards work too! Then we took the subway right to the Lincoln Center and came out of the ground right in front of the temple! We went straight in and had a wonderful session. There was a special spirit there with so many missionaries in such a holy and beautiful place. I loved it. 
After our session, we went out on the streets for some lunch! Most of us went to this Gyro stand and got some yummy gyro platter things. We sat and ate and lo and behold, these two elders walked by! Haha and one of them knew one of our elders there! Small world, right? So cool. We also met some cute NY sisters outside the temple while waiting to get everyone gathered up again. 
We went to the subway and all went well, until we emerged and started walking to the bus station. We ended up pretty near Times Square, but we walked the wrong way! So we had to turn around and go back. As we walked across a street to the next corner, this guy standing there was like "hey, it's the missionaries!" And started high-fiving us. I high-fived him and was like "wait! Wow! Hey, I know you!!" And we both just kind of looked at each other for a second, and then he looked down at my name tag, and was like "wow!! What?!" And I was like "I know! Hi! Can I take a picture with you?!" Haha so we took a couple pictures and I told him to text them to Matt. He asked what we were doing waltzing around Times Square, so we told him it was a zone temple trip. We were in a little bit of a rush so we couldn't talk for long, but oh man. It was CRAZY. I just couldn't believe it all day!! Tender mercies, folks. Home isn't too far away :) 

Look who bumped into us in NYC after going to Manhattan temple
Todd Schwartzman!!!
But then we finally made it to the bus station, and our bus wasn't in service... sooo we had to wait around for about half an hour for another bus to come! Haha that was pretty interesting. We were hoping to get back to our area at like 3, but we made it back at like 6:30. It was crazy pants. But! Such a wonderful day :) so I hope Todd sent those pictures to Mattress and y'all got to see that! It was way funny. I still can't believe it. 

On Thursday we went and served at Ellis Island! Not much news this time, but I met someone from Germany, Holland, and Lebanon. Sweet, right? I love that place. Except that it took us almost THREE HOURS to drive home. Let me just tell you, I'm going to be a professional driver by the time I leave this place. The driving here is loco. Anyway, we got home pretty late, so we went and met with our awesome Bishop Haro and then did a little weekly planning. And died because we were so tired. 

On Friday we served in the morning building houses! Woo! We did the foam stuff in the roof cracks again, so we were climbing all over the place up there. So cool! Except bad news: I got that nasty foam stuff all over my arm and my favorite pair of jeans :( why did I wear them to the construction site? I don't know. I'm so dumb. But we went to the mall this morning and I got some new jeans. So merry Christmas to me! Speaking of, I AM SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS HOLY COW. Anywayssss then we went to the Morristown chapel and met sister Troconis and sister Pace there and exchanged! I had such a fun weekend in Morristown! It was the first time ever leaving my area for an exchange, and Sister Troconis' first time ever staying in her area! It was fun to be back together with my ex-comp for a couple days, she's so awesome :) we had a ton of great lessons with some cool people. We had one funny lunch appointment where this one member was trying to tell us the Word of Wisdom came out after she'd gotten baptized.. awkward.. but it was sweet! I also went to Carlo's Bakery on Saturday! We got delicious chocolate cupcakes that we ate after doing seaweed masks Saturday night. Ya know, like Sisters do. Haha! It was really fun. We were crazy busy literally running all over the place, but that's my favorite! And I learned a lot from Sister Troconis. She really is an amazing missionary. So I'm hoping to help our area with some more effective and focused planning and studies. If we have no foundation and no plans for what we're doing, we'll be lost and confused and that's never fun! So we're excited to implement some new things here in Dover and see some growth and success (: 

Yesterday I went to the Morristown branch (it was a 48 hour exchange) and it was so cute! I love the people there. Then we came back and switched back. We got back right when church was getting out in Dover, so we both got to see everyone. It was pretty funny, people were a little confused to see Sister Troconis and I walking around together again after seeing Sister Pace and Sister Gibson there.. but it was really sweet to see everyone :) I love our little ward! Then we went to the Haro's house for dinner and that was awesome. Bishop made this delicious steak! It was almost as good as home. Almost ;) haha but that family is amazing. They are so sweet and so kind to us. We joke around and talk about church and our people and everything and they really make us feel part of the family. We're blessed to have them invite us over so often. 

Anyways, this week has been really crazy! But it's been really good. Lots of different experiences! And this coming week we have zone meeting  Tuesday and then interviews with President Taggart Friday! Woo hoo! But luckily we'll have some time to breath and actually get to work in Dover :) 

I love love love you! Have a fantastic week! 

Hermana Millington  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Halloween!!!! - October 31, 2016

Building houses - what's up?
Hey family!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! This week was a pretty good one. We spent nearly all our free time trying to find the less-actives in our ward! We've got TONS. And we found quite a few! Woo! So we're hopeful we can pick up some good work with them and get some help from them in finding some investigators to teach. And today has been good so far! We watched some guy get cuffed outside the laundromat, so that was pretty exciting. Hahaha! This laundromat is crazy, you guys: chipmunk murders and arrests like no body's business. Crazy stuff. And tonight we have early curfew because it's Halloween. So we have to be in our apartments by 6. All day P Day!! Haha just kidding :) We have some good online proselyting to do, as well as making phone calls and setting appointments. So we'll have a good busy night, I'm sure! And I'm working on this rad spreadsheet for our less-actives, so it'll be nice to have some time to update that and get it full of people and things.

So this week! I can't believe Sether is actually gone! I thought a lot about him on Tuesday. It's super fun to think about my first week at the MTC. I was actually reading my journal and study notebook from then the other day! Man, I was so dumb. And my Spanish! Hahaha let's just say I've come a long way. But it's super fun for me to think about his teachers and his companion and his district and what he's eating and where he's walking and what he's learning and all that good stuff. I love that place so much!! And I'm sure he's loving it there, too. 

On Tuesday we had Family Time (a mini-zone meeting) in the morning, and I gave a training about emulating Christ in all we do. Including chewing with our mouths closed. Haha! I think it went alright! But President and Sister Taggart walked in half-way through and that was a little stressful.. But ya know! I think it was okay! Then we had district meeting and talked about returning and reporting. We talked about how it's an eternal principle. Something I learned form Preach my Gospel during that meeting was that we'll all stand before our Heavenly Father someday to be judged for what we became because of the opportunities He's given us in this life. It hit me that this mission I have has the potential to be truly life-changing. And it has been already! But I know there's even more I can and should be doing to be making the most out of this time. So I'm working on that! I'm getting better! Then, while I was playing prelude for a meeting called Fundamentals that we had with President Taggart after lunch, he shook hands with Sister Gibson sitting right in front of the piano. It was really sweet, they both got a little emotional as he told her how much she's changed in the last almost-year since she went home. I got a little teary watching it, I'm so proud of her. She really had a tough first-mission (haha) but had amazing determination to do all she could to get back out here. I've never seen anyone appreciate their mission like Sister Gibson. She truly is an amazing missionary and I'm so blessed to be her companion. 
That night we were teaching Salvador at the chapel and we had to pick apart some pretty gnarly verses in 1 Nephi 13 about the Gentiles and America and all this stuff. And then, out of the blue, he asked "I forgot. Where were were before this life? And where do we go when we die?" Haha so we found some chalk and drew out the Plan for him! But I don't know what happened, I kept forgetting words! So dumb. So he probably thinks we don't know anything. But that's fine. Haha! But we taught him again a little later in the week with Hermano Abreu and I think answered some of his other questions. He has some really good ones! And it was really awesome to have Hermano Abreu there to help answer. He was actually the one that baptized Salvador just a couple years ago! But yeah, Salvador is doing awesome. And he came to church on Sunday! Woo!! After so many months of trying to get him there, he really came! The Book of Mormon is so powerful, people. It changes lives. 

On Wednesday morning we had a good adventure when we went to Safelight (Safelight repair, Safelight replace) and got our windshield fixed! No more giant crack! Woo! Then we had lunch and some studies at home. We were about to leave the house, and Guillermina called us.. She asked where we lived.. haha we weren't sure what she was asking, though, but then she said she'd call back in a minute! So she called back, and was like "hey sisters! I'm outside your house!" Haha what?? So we went out, and she'd brought us lunch!! We'd had an appointment with her that day, but couldn't make it because of our windshield. But she brought us food anyway! Isn't that the nicest thing ever? She's the best. And she came to church yesterday again as well! Yay reactivation!! Then we served at Bristol Glenn and Helen creamed me in Connect Four. Dang. Then we made some thank-you cookies for some members that had helped us throughout the week and took them to them. It was fun! And we found a few more less-actives today, as well! We're working on short, powerful, 15 minutes messages, and our faith and diligence paid off! So we're hopeful we can keep working with those families and bring them closer to the Savior. 

When we were serving at the Restore on Thursday we were in the lighting department, cleaning and putting together some light fixtures. We met this nice guy, Frank, who had some really awesome questions for us! We were able to explain what our proselyting is and what our purpose is, as well as what a prophet is and why he's important. He'd taken some comparative religion classes at his high school, so he knew a little about "the Mormons" but it was cool to talk to him. We meant to give him a pass-along card, but he ran to the office and never came back :( But we have faith, we'll see him again! 

Friday was a good day as well! We went to Marlene's house this morning and read the BOM introduction with her. She had some really awesome questions as well! We were able to explain all about the Book of Mormon and the Bible and how they're different people and places, but the same doctrine of Christ. When we read the part about how we can know if it's true by the power of the Holy Ghost, she got a little skeptical.. She asked "okay, but.. how do I know what the Holy Ghost is or if he's talking to me?" BOOM Galatians 5:22-23. We talked about how it's feelings of love, peace, joy, etc. and she was like "that makes so much sense! I totally agree! I've been wondering for years what those feelings were, I never knew if they had a name. But now I know it's the Holy Ghost!" It was so cool! Then we went and helped build those houses! Seriously the coolest service ever. This week we used some foam crazy stuff to clog up some cracks up in the roof! We were all up on ladders and sitting on the beams and all that good stuff. Good adventure for sure! That night I had a skype lesson with Hermana Pace and Jesse Vega that went really well! I love Jesse. She's doing so well these days. She's reading and praying again, we're so happy for her! And we're going to see if they'll get along with the new missionaries they have down there. They're these two darling little Mexican sisters and we think they would be really good for them! It's funny that like 7 months later I'm still working with the Vega family.. I'm so excited for them to get baptized someday :)

Saturday we went to a baptism where I played the piano forEVER, but it all went well! It was for this little girl, Aulani. Her family just moved here from Mexico a couple months ago, and her dad was just baptized about 7 months ago. So cool! They're a darling little family. Then we had our ward halloween party! Woo! We had a little trunk-or-treat at the chapel with hotdogs and candy and all that good stuff. We had a fun time there, there was a pretty good turn-out! Then after hanging out there for a little bit, we got to work! We had a few lessons during the last couple hours of the night and it was way awesome! We met a couple members we'd been trying to see and that was a huge blessing. One family was really sweet--right when we came in they said they weren't going to come to church, but they didn't mind if we visited. So we talked about things and shared a video, and they sent us out with water bottles, crackers, tangerines, and oranges! They were so kind! We also had a family (zone) conference call that Hermana Gibson conducted over the phone! She did so good. I love that girl. It's crazy that we'll be together for another 5 weeks! Yay! I feel like one transfer just isn't enough to REALLY get to know your companion. But I really truly love her. 

Yesterday was pretty bomb diggity as well! We had a few of our people at church, and that was great! Including Silverio, whom we hadn't seen in a long time! That punk. But he was there and seemed good :) Hopefully we'll get to see him this week! Then after church we did some studies and went out to find some people! We found a cute little family that hasn't come to church in a while and that was good. Then we went to the Montenegro family home for dinner! We had this delicious Chili from Guatemala with a ton of vegetables. It was so good!! And we talked about their family and their goals and tried to help them see the necessity of unity and love and helping each other within the family.

I'm incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to serve and love the people here. I'm in no way a perfect missionary, but I'm trying to improve every day. And I'm trying to come closer to my Savior and rely on His strength and His perfection to make my efforts enough. I know that He knows and loves us. He sees what we do and He wants to help. He's waiting with open arms, we just have to meet him there. I really do want to change, and I pray every day that He will change me--make me more humble, a better listener, a stronger missionary. And I know that He will. Surrendering myself and my will is the smartest, best thing I can do.

I love you ALL so much! I think about you and pray for you all the time. Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers coming from home. 
Have a fantastic, miracle-filled week!
Sister Millington

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

This Week Sister Millington Held A Chicken - October 24, 2016

Dreams DO come true!!
This week was epic, people. Yesterday I held a chicken. And a rooster. If you can dream it, you can do it!!!! But it really was a crazy, and super emotional week. We found ourselves in three different lessons where people were crying! We didn't always know what to do or say.. But we made it through!

On Monday we met with Alexiz and talked about the temple and family history! Woo! We're hoping we can get him to the temple soon. And Benjamin, our other new member! We also stopped by a house to see if another old investigator, Joel, was there. He wasn't when we got there, but Walter and Reina (a couple members) and their adorable daughter, Genesis, were! So we sat and talked to them for a little bit, and then Joel came home! woo! So we had a whole lesson with him about the sacrament, and then read in the Book of Mormon together. And Walter and Reina are AWESOME. They're so good and being straight up with people. They ask good questions and have good answers! They're awesome missionaries. 

Tuesday I was feeling kind of icky about things, so I asked our District Leader, Elder Mendoza, for a priesthood blessing. It was really awesome! I received some strength and council I was looking for. And we met his new companion, Elder Jacobs! He's a nice guy. We then went knocking for a little while, and were angrily waved away by some lady. Poor thing doesn't get it. And then we met this dead plant and named him Peter. Gotta have a little fun out there, right? oh man. We also found some really beautiful leaves and started collecting them! After we had dinner at home, we went and saw Ivan and Steven Cruz. Ivan is like 13 and was baptized when he was almost 9. He's the only member in his family, and now his little brother, Steven (who is 8), wants to be baptized too! Woo! So we're going to be visiting them pretty regularly, I hope! We talked with them and gave them childrens Book of Mormons, and then Steven sang me a song. He is SO CUTE. It was this darling rendition of "twinkle, twinkle little star." we were dying it was so cute!! Then we met with Salvador at the church and read in the Book of Mormon with him. He opened up a little bit about how he's facing some trials right now. He didn't tell us exactly what, but he got a little teary and said he's being humbled a lot. So that's why we were finally able to meet with him again! Yay trials! Anyway, it was good! And he told me I speak like a Mexican!! Woo!

Wednesday was a really hard day. It started out fine, we had our zone meeting and then district meeting, and we had lunch at the Sarmiento family home. Then we went to see a family we've been teaching and working with for a while. We started out by reading some scriptures in Ether 12 because they hadn't done their homework, and that went well. We talked about faith and hope and having an anchor in this crazy world. Then we read the verse that talked about having a witness after a trial of your faith, and we brought up how baptism can be a trial of our faith. We asked them what they were thinking and feeling about baptism lately, and the father said he's good right now, he doesn't feel the need to change. Which we were kind of expecting. It's okay. But then the mom got really emotional and talked about how she'd been thinking and praying a lot, and had received the answer that she needed to be honest with us: she's just not prepared. She's not ready yet. She talked about how she loves us and what we do, but that she's not ready to change her life and be baptized. As she was speaking I was thinking about things we could say to try to keep them with us, to try to tell them that we could help them be ready, but when I actually opened my mouth and spoke, none of that came out. We said it was okay. We said we understood and we loved them. We knew what we shared was true and that their Heavenly Father loves them so much. It was a little bit tough to say that and not get emotional as well, we knew this was the end. But she has so much faith that someday we'll see each other again. And she will have been baptized and everything! Just right now isn't her time. So we said our "goodbye" and "I love you" and headed out. (side note: while I was backing Sister Gibson out, I saw the hugest possum ever. So gross.) As we drove home, we spent the first 5 minutes crying silently to ourselves. I finally said "Sister, I'm really discouraged. I'm really frustrated." And she said "I know. Me too." We cried and cried, and eventually pulled over into a parking lot. We talked about how disappointed we were that this all happened. Sister Gibson suggested we say a prayer, so she said it. Which is probably good, I didn't have a lot of happy things to say in that moment. She asked that we would be at peace, and that the missionaries that find them again will be able to feel of our love and the love our Savior has for them. It was a hard drive home. I had a difficult time trying to piece together my feelings. It wasn't so much that I was sad about what they'd done, but I was frustrated that Heavenly Father had let us work so hard for them just to come to this end. After three months of planning and teaching and preparing and praying and doing all we could for them, they just weren't there yet. I felt like I had failed as a missionary. I was frustrated and said a lot of angry prayers. But through that day and the rest of this week pondering about what happened, I've come to a couple realizations. 1. I didn't fail. If I did all I can, that's all I can. It's not my fault that they weren't ready right now. 2. I can't control their preparedness. Their agency is in their hands. Even though I know they know it's true, I can't make them do anything. 3. It's okay for me to feel angry and frustrated. But at the same time, I came to realize a little bit about how the Savior feels sometimes. I'm sure he doesn't get angry, necessarily, but I'm sure it's hard for him to see us make such dumb decisions sometimes. I thought I did a lot for that family, but just think about what he's done for us! From creating this world to giving his own life for us, there's nothing more he can give us. But sometimes we just don't get it. And as much as it broke my heart to see this happen for this dear family, I'm sure it broke his, too. So while it was a really difficult day and a hard thing to swallow, I learned a lot, especially about love. And when those you love don't make the best decisions, it doesn't mean you stop loving them. You don't have to love everything they do to still love them :) Anyway, Wednesday was a crazy day.

On Friday morning we went to see Marlene, a referral we received from the Elders a little bit ago! She cried and cried as she told us about how her and her daughter are having a hard time right now. We shared a scripture with her and invited her to keep reading in the Book of Mormon. I know that no matter what we're going through, there's always strength to be found in the scriptures. We're so blessed! We then went to the Habitat for Humanity site and worked on a house! Woo! We worked up in the second story, taking down some support beams. We had our hard hats and hammers and everything. It was sweet :) Grandpa Hillam would be proud for sure! We spent the rest of the evening hunting for some less-actives. We have hundreds in our ward, and we're not sure how up-to-date a lot of their information is. Since President Taggart has asked us to focus on finding less-actives and finding investigators through them, we've been going through phone numbers and addresses like crazy! We also met with Salvador again this night, and read in 1 Nephi 12. He's understanding a lot, woo! We were really hopeful he would come to church Sunday. But alas, not quite yet. But we have faith! We'll get him there! :)

On Saturday morning we went to find this guy we had an appointment with, but when we knocked on his door he told us he couldn't see us right then. We were literally yelling through the door, it probably looked pretty funny. Haha jukedddd. But then we went to the church and had a little lesson with Edwin. He's doing pretty well! We taught him the ten commandments with our nifty hand signals and it went well I think. We went less-active hunting some more, and found three people had moved. Dang. But we had a little miracle--one of them who'd moved lived on a street where an old un-contactable referral lived! Every time we'd tried to knock her door she wasn't there, and we didn't have her number. Since we were in the area, we knocked on the door. And boom! She was there! We didn't have a ton of time, so we shared a quick message and got her phone number. But she's really sweet and I think we can find some success with her! Yay! Then we went to dinner with the Stone family. Their mom is from Argentina, but the dad is from Idaho! Woo! So we all spoke english and their house was really nice and American and it was sweet! It felt like home :) We had some delicious empanadas, but other than that everything was very English. It felt so good to be there. 

Sunday was nice and busy! After church we had a lesson with Edwin and we brought Walter and Reina, which was awesome! They helped out a ton, for sure. Then we had a couple dinners! And oh man. That was rough. We had dinner first with the Montenegro family, our RS president's family. They're awesome! They've been having us over every Sunday with the Elders. They have a really great spirit in their home as well. We had some good food and good times, and then we walked outside and I saw their neighbors had chickens! And their neighbors are the Sanchez family from the ward! Woo! So we went over there and they let us take lots of pictures with a chicken, a rooster, and some ducks. It was a dream come true. Hahah! It seriously was so awesome. Except I really need to wash my shoes. Ew. But then they invited us in for a second and we had some ice cream sandwiches on some mexican sweet bread. It was yummy! Then we went to Rigoberto Sanchez's home and had ANOTHER dinner. Oh man. I seriously felt so sick. That's the most amount of food I've ever left on a plate and I felt so bad  :( But they were super sweet! We drove home and I just laid down on the floor. I've never been that close to being sick on the mission before! But I held it together. No worries :) 

Anyways, all in all this week was crazy. So many ups and downs. But I'm giving a zone training tomorrow about how we emulate Christ through our manners, posture, etc. and I'm excited about that! So thanks for keeping our elbows off the table, mom :) Haha! 

I love you guys SO SO much!! I can't wait to hear about all the miracles Sether will see down in Mexico and then down in Chile :) I know he'll be a great missionary. He's incapable of being any less than extraordinary.

Have an awesome week!
Hermana Millington
Images by Freepik