Hermana Millington - Notes from New Jersy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Transfers Round 3 - July 25, 2016

With Maria at Philadelphia Temple open house

So here's the news, folks:

I'M LEAVING TOM'S RIVER. AAAAAAH I am so sad :( but I am so excited
for the adventure before me! I'm going up to Dover, which is the
largest area in the mission! It's where my MTC companion, Sister
Davis, served for two transfers. And it's actually been closed to
hermanas for the last transfer, so there's no food or anything in the
apartment. So...that'll be fun! But I've heard there are lots of
Hispanics, and lots of Hondurians! I am so excited! And my companion
will be Sister Troconis! She's a native Spanish speaker (I don't
remember where she's from), but she was actually called to serve in
English! So I never thought she would be my companion! But I've met
her a few times, and she is SO cute. I think we're going to get along
really well:) and my Spanish is totally going to improve! Yay! Spanish
all the time!

So anyway. Crazy. I never thought i would actually leave! I never
wanted to! And I only got one transfer with Sister Smith! But this
transfer was just so good. It'll go down in history as the dream
transfer for sure. We had so much fun and I learned so much.
So today I'll be packing and saying goodbye! Plus we have a zone
activity this afternoon, so we're in a little bit of a time crunch.
But it's okay! Well get it all done and all figured out! But yeah, so
I don't have a ton of time to write. But I got a feeling at the
beginning of this week that was like "treat this week like it's your
last," so I've been trying to work extra hard :) I'm so glad I did! So
a lot happened this week, but I just wanted to write about one
experience we had Saturday night.

So Saturday was my last day of real work here in T-Riv. We worked
really hard and saw lots of people! We were taken out to lunch and
dinner, actually, which was super sweet and really kind of our little
members. I love this branch so much. Anyway, after a really sketchy
Philippino dinner with a less-active, we went to see Manuel and
Yolanda Hernandez.  They are the humble little family we've been
seeing Saturday nights. So this time we taught about faith and
repentance, and that went really well! And as we left, they gave us
two bananas each. Oh man. I wish they would stop giving us stuff. They
don't have anything to give! Anyway, they are just too good to us. And
then, as we were walking out, Hermana Laura was in the kitchen. We
stopped to hug her, and without saying anything she handed us a loaf
of challah (some kind of Jew sabbath bread). Please stop giving us
things! Anyway, sister Smith and I walked out, and we're feeling
pretty humbled and so loved by these people. Then we drove to another
appointment that ended up falling through, but the sky was so pretty
we didn't even care. We just drove and reveled in the beauty of
everything. We were listening to pretty music and thinking about how
crazy it was how much love these people have. It was actually super
overwhelming. As I was driving, we were passing a bunch of houses, and
the thought that came to me was that Heavenly Father loves every
single person in every single house we were passing. Jesus Christ died
for them. And they might not even know it! So that's why I'm here.
They don't know about the joy, peace, and fulfillment that comes from
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was so filled with love for these people
that I've never even met! I just want to go tell all of them about
Christ and His love!! Long-story-short, we ended up sitting in the car
at our apartment complex and just crying for about half an hour. We
were just totally overwhelmed with the love of these people and of our
Heavenly Father.mAnyway, we sat in the car and talked about how I
always say I'm from Idaho but my heart is from Mexico, but how that's
totally not true. Hispanics have the purest, kindest hearts. It's my
life goal to have the heart of a Hispanic. They are the most
hard-working and the most giving people I've ever known. On Friday we
were walking the streets inviting people to our English class, and we
stopped and talked to a lady with a couple little girls. One was about
four years old, and she was eating sunflower seeds. Without any
prompting or anything, she reached her little hand out to us with two
tiny sunflower seeds in it. She smiled up at us and we each took one
seed and ate it. She looked so pleased to be giving what she had. I'm
getting fed so much which is totally bad, but it's so wonderful. These
people are just so full of love and they want to give all they can.
Most of them don't have a lot, but they give anyway.
So i decided that the members here don't need us at all. But I learned
that I needed them way more than I ever realized. I'm so thankful to
be here on this mission, meeting these people and having these
experiences. Heavenly Father is so good to me. And He knows how great
it's going to be in my next area! I just have to trust Him :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fish Pasta - July 18, 2016

This is Juana

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Murica" - July 4, 2016

4th of July with Sister Smith

Hola family! Happy Fourth of July!! Tonight our curfew got extended by President Taggart, so we're going to see some fireworks on Point Pleasant Beach with the Bolaños family! We are so excited :) but this week has been so crazy! We started the week with a TON of appointments scheduled, but very few of them actually happened. Haha but it's alright! The best stories always come from contacting anyway :) so this is what went down!

On Monday, WE PUT THE VEGA FAMILY ON BAPTISMAL DATE. Aaaaaah!!! Finally! And if they don't make the date I'll be super sad, but they understand that they need to be baptized and they want to be! So that's good news :) we also got some free mango Popsicles (frozen mango juice in a little tied plastic bag) from some lady's trunk that we taught about the Book of Mormon.

Tuesday was awesome! We got a spontaneous appointment with Brenda, which went way well. She dropped us. But it was actually awesome, now we know! And we have more time to spend finding the prepared! We went downtown Lakewood for dinner, at a little restaurant called La Tapatia. As we were walking in, Libro de Mormon in hand, we walked past three policemen on their bikes. I heard one of them say something about "Mormon" and I whipped around and was like "you've heard of the Book of Mormon??" Anyway, long story short, we taught the three policemen the whole restoration there on the sidewalk! One had seen the musical, so he knew a little about the Book of Mormon. We gave him one and invited them to read! They were super nice! Smith was bearing down in pure testimony (she was so bold, it was so awesome), and one of them was like "okay, but like how do you know? Who told you?" And she was like "I know because I've read it and prayed about it and God told me it's true." So bold! So clear! And we ended up seeing a couple of them a couple days later and they were super nice! They hadn't read (haha), but they were way cool! So were tight with the Lakewood police now :) and in La Tapatia, they had some TVs playing crazy Spanish soaps and we were dying. So much drama. Hahaha so we decided after the mission when we hang out were just going to eat chips and salsa and laugh at Spanish soaps! We also broke an important barrier. We were in CVS and we got a Jew to talk to us!! First time. She told us about how she got her cute necklace at TJ Max:)  it was awesome!!

Wednesday we met so many people! It was way good! We were going to set up a booth on the beach with the other missionaries, so we went over there, by the police told us we couldn't :( but we stood across the street from this sketchy motel and watched these crazy college kids that were a little bit under the influence.. Haha but as we were walking back to our car, the manager of the motel stopped us and asked what we were selling! We stopped and talked for a little while, and he was way cool! His name was Shipon and he was from Bangledesh! He's Muslim, so we talked for a second about his beliefs and told him some of ours. We didn't have any English Book of Mormons with us at the time, so next time we're by the shore we'll bring him one :) then we went to People's Pantry and served there for a while, helping this guy named Matt shelves of bread and tuna and whatnot. Then we went to Clifton and went crazy about our English Class! And we met this guy named Fernando with a beard like that guy from the Hunger Games. So rad. I also met a Columbian guy who told me a Spanish joke! Haha! Then we had dinner at the Esteban's, and it was just regular chicken this time:) 

On Thursday we went to Norma's in the morning and got all kinds of advice about marriage and children and everything. She is too great (: then we went to the Geschwandtner house and talked with them for a while! He's the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency but his wife is way Catholic. They fed us cupcakes and talked about their grandkids forEVER. That night we were at the Rec Center for our ESL class and there was some boxing thing happening in the main room. After they finished and the coach guy was cleaning up, he talked to us about how he coaches these pros and how this one famous boxer is going to "our country"... And then he started talking about how can never get "our kids" to come box with them.. And then he was like "but there are famous Jewish boxers, so I don't know why you're kids won't come out!" Haha then it all came together. We aren't Jewish, sir. 

Friday was good! Best part: Smith was making me a smoothie for lunch and she hadn't made many smoothies before.. So she thought it would be a good idea to stick a fork in the blender while it was on. Long story short, there was purple all over her sweatshirt and inside the open cabinet above it. Hahaha! I didn't think it was very funny at the time.. But looking back it's pretty hilarious (: I also caught a lightning bug! That was cute (: 

Saturday we did SO MUCH CONTACTING again! It was awesome. We spent a little over an hour on Clifton just walking up and down one street and we got like 16 phone numbers of people to text about the English class to remind them about it! Super awesome! We met some way interesting people, including two Maria Sachez's and four people with the last name Flores. We also taught two men who opened their door and were shirtless for the whole thing. Cool. We also stopped in to see a less-active who literally peed his pants while we were on the doorstep. And he didn't flinch. What. No jk. Hahahaha 

Sunday. Oh man. So we had church and it was all good. And then we went out to Brick to try to find a couple people. We were going to go back to Lakewood, but then we remembered that the bishop of the English ward had asked us to stop in on a family there on Brick. I guess their records had been in a Spanish branch before and the other missionaries hadn't been able to get a hold of them? We went and stopped by and oh man. The Lord blessed us. We knocked on the door, and Joanne Olszewski opened the door and sat us right down on the couch. She started telling us her whole life story! Also, they didn't speak spanish at all. And we didn't tell them we were Spanish missionaries.. But our name tags clearly said "Hermana" soooo.. Anyway, we were talking about the children their family had lost and how hard it was, and her husband walks in and is all "hey sisters, I just made some steak! Do you want some?" Soooo, we had a steak dinner with them! And wow. There was not one second of silence the whole time. They just talked and talked and talked. It was the funniest thing EVER. Their uncle Larry was missing teeth and called us the "sis-tors" from "Ee-da-hoo" and "oo-taah". Hahaha oh man. I literally had to stop myself from laughing so many times. And we tried to share a scripture with them about trials and hope and everything, and Larry kept interrupting with "mmhmmm, uh-huh, amen sister. Amen." STOP TALKING LARRY. And at one point there were three separate conversations happening amongst the six of us at that table. And Joanne just kept telling me about how she's teaching her autistic grandson and how he's learning and his dad is such a good father and everything. Anyway, we ended up leaving a while later with an entire watermelon. Not cut or anything. Just a watermelon. Too good. They still don't know we're the Spanish missionaries.. But how could we tell them?! They gave us steak!! And they were so nice (: I don't know why they don't come to church.. But well send the English sisters back (: anyway, tender mercy for sure. It was awesome. 

I love you! God bless America! (: 

Hermana Millington 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Week of Jukes - July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016
Literally we only had three lessons actually come through this week --- but it was great! Those lessons all went well and we had some good finding time :)

So Monday! Yay America! People are so patriotic here, there are American flags everywhere. It totally rocks. That afternoon we went to a little park in Brick and met the rest of our zone there. The zone leaders cooked some meat on a little grill (it was a miracle it actually cooked), and we had watermelon and brownies and stuff. We played a fun game of signs and just hung out together. It was super nice! I love this zone and I love being secluded from a lot of other missionaries. Then we went and had an awkward doorstop lesson with a lady in High Point before we went to the Bolaños' house. It was awesome, she made us this Peruvian potato and chicken dish! Peruvian food on the Fourth of July :) it was way good though! And her brother was there with his son, who aren't members. So that was cool to talk to them a little bit, although he totally kissed me on the cheek. Such a normal Hispanic thing, hahaha. And on man, Hermana Bolaños gave us these olives. And they were so bad. But Sister Smith had eaten both of hers, so I thought she liked them! I offered her mine and she totally ate it. We were talking later and she said "oh man, those olives were HORRIBLE." But she loved me so much she ate that nasty olive :) then we went to Point Pleasant beach! There were quite a few people there, but we got a good spot on the sand and watched some fireworks. Then we walked down and put our feet in the water! That was Smiths first time ever touching the ocean :) we took pictures, but you can't see anything, it's pitch black! But it was good anyway. It was crazy to stay out until 11, we were SO tired!

On Tuesday we found a great new service opportunity at Serenity Hospice, talking with hospice patients who don't have anyone visiting them. And there are centers all over New Jersey, so we can keep volunteering with them after we leave this area! So we're pretty excited about that. I'm hopeful I meet some funny old people. We also had our first English class!! But someone forgot to leave the keys for our classroom at the rec center, so we had it in the main room with people playing pool and the tv on. Haha but everyone was so respectful and nice! And our little students sang the ABCs, no shame. It was so awesome. 

Wednesday we went  to the family history center and to People's Pantry. We talked with Matt and Chad (our JW friend). We were talking a little religion and Chad said "I don't want to offend or anything, but honestly, there is no way your whole religion came from animals in the woods. I just can't believe that. Like that Smith guy saw a vision in the form of a bear or something? There's just no way." And we were like "yeaaaaah, we'll bring you pamphlets next week." Haha so that's what we'll be doing on Wednesday! And hopefully he'll answer some questions we have. It'll be interesting!
So Thursday was a cool day. We had an appointment with Gerardo, but literally two minutes after we started driving, he texted and said he might not be home.. So we stopped in a parking lot and talked about if we should still go and hope he's there in time or just reschedule. It had been like two weeks since we'd seen him! But we prayed about it, and felt better about just going back home to do weekly planning there. But man, I was feeling a little down about it. So I prayed and said "Heavenly Father, we're trying to use our time wisely, so we aren't going to see Gerardo today. Please give us a lesson and a new investigator today because of that little sacrifice." So we were driving home, and we saw the other sisters walking home from the church. We started thinking about it, and remembered they don't have working AC in their apartment! And it's like 500 degrees outside! So we invited them over to do their weekly planning in our apartment and sleep the night there. And they eventually called President and got their AC fixed, but I think it was nice for them to have a cool place to get it all done. But we totally wouldn't have seen them walking and thought to invite them over if Gerardo hadn't juked at that time. Tender mercies! Then, at the end of our English class, we shared a verse from the Book of Mormon. And this guy Felipe stayed behind to talk to us. We totally thought he was going to ask us out or something (it happens too often. Ugh.), but he asked about the Book of Mormon! We we're super caught off guard and stumbled through an explanation, but we have an appointment to see him Tuesday! So prayer is real, folks. When we give up something that might be good and pray for something better, the Lord comes through. He knew we were trying to use our time and resources wisely, and He blessed us (: 

On Fry-day for lunch we had deep-fried Oreos. Ugh. Good, but so bad. And then we had a good lesson with Maria and Antonio! And there's is special trip to the open house at the Philly temple for missionaries and their investigators July 24th, and they totally want to go with us! Now we just have to find a ride.. But isn't that awesome?! They'll love it! We're so excited :) we went to our next lesson, but he wasn't home. But his roommates were, and they let us in! We shared a video about Christ, and they started asking really good questions! About who he was and what he did exactly, and will he really come again and how do you know. I love when people ask how we know (: but it was sweet! We got a return appointment, and we can't wait to go back and answer their questions! 

On Saturday, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHLOE), we had our little English class with a couple new students, one from Haiti! Which is interesting, because a lot of our teaching is translating Spanish to English.. But I don't think she speaks Spanish... And then we finally saw the Vegas! Miracle. It went well, they're still working on that baptismal date! We'll see if we can get them there, I've got faith :) then a little boy in our branch, Mosiah, had his baptism! It was so awesome! The baptism itself was lovely, and the family spoke and bore their testimonies and it was all really good. When it was over, they opened the dividers in the gym to an MMA birthday party. No joke. John Cena a everywhere. Hahahaha we were dying!! Don't worry, we got a few pictures :) but there was a really good turn-out, and it was fun to be there with our branch. Also a sweet John Cena piñata. Oh man. Then we got to meet with Yolanda and Manuel Hernandez! Miracle! I've been trying to meet with them forever!! It was humbling to go into their room and teach them a little bit. They're recent converts, but they haven't been coming to church. But they live in this little house with a couple other families, and all they have is one room with one bed for the two parents and their two daughters. They have clothes and food and everything all in that one bedroom. It's amazing to me to see situations like that and see the closeness of their family. And to think that I grew up with such a nice strong family and beautiful home and I never even imagined that people had so little. But they're such a sweet family, and they gave us bananas and mangoes as we left. We made a delicious smoothie that night and marveled at how blessed we are to have what we do. 

On Sunday we found Rafael and his family again! We haven't been able to meet with them because they've been busy, but we finally just showed up at their door and they were there! So they let us in, sat us down, and gave us watermelon. Ha!

I love them! They also gave us little cheese cracker snack things and a bowl of chicken soup to take home. But the thing about Hispanic chicken soup is that the chicken isn't broken up. Literally, it's a chicken wing floating around in broth with carrots and zucchini. So that's fun to eat. But it was so sweet! And Rafael has such a strong testimony and desire to learn. We're excited to go back and see them again. They're the cutest little family, they have an amazing spirit in their home. 

We're headed to the Jersey Shore here in a little bit, and that'll be way fun! I'll make sure to send pictures when we get back :) 

I love you all with ALL my heart! The church is true, the book is blue. And it's also true. And the best book on the planet. I've decided Teancum is the COOLEST. Seth would have totally been a warrior like Teancum. Anyways, love you guys:) I'm praying for you and thinking about you! 

Hermana Millington 

Watermelon and Chicken Hearts - June 27, 2016

So this week! It was pretty darn great! We had some awesome lessons with some new, great people!

On Tuesday we did some p-day things and then worked that evening. We
had a lesson with Carlos and Carlitos and taught them the Word of
Wisdom... Carlos decided "it's hard to be a Mormon." Luckily
we had our branch mission leader, Hermano Ledezma, there with us, and
he explained that it's just different! But it's good! And we
encouraged him to read and pray, because that's the only way he can
know for sure for himself.

On Wednesday we did a bunch of service! It was awesome! We started out
at Norma's, helping her go through a ton of old medical files. Holy
cow. I never want to get old. But she told us all about her childhood
and how she had nothing growing up in Brazil. It's pretty crazy to see
the kind of life she's lived and where she's at now. I love that lady.
She's got a hard heart, but she needs some love. We're going with her
to help her at the flea market this Wednesday morning! That'll be fun
I think! That afternoon we started volunteering at People's Pantry. It
was awesome! It's this place where people can come once a month and
get a certain amount of cereal, beans, produce, meat, etc. for free!
It's a pretty tough process to qualify to shop there, I guess, but
it's pretty cool. So we help people walk around and get their stuff,
and we help clean up the store right before closing. THEN! Oh,
man. This lesson. We got his referral from Hermano Ledezma of this guy
named Rafael and his family. So we went to their house and just
knocked on the door to find them, and holy cow!! They are so prepared.
They are so awesome. It's Rafael and his wife Irene, and their two
kids, Kevin and Jacqueline. Don't let those names fool you, they are
Hispanic :) So we talked to them about the Book of Mormon and
Rafael was so down for it! He was so open to it! And he asked if we
had any that were easier for his kids to read! So we brought some
children's BOMs the next time :) but Kevin totally brought us
Popsicles and water bottles without his parents even asking! He was so
sweet! He's 7 1/2 and the CUTEST. Anyway, Rafael told us that he knew
God had sent him two angels to teach him something today because there
was something he needed to change in his life. He's pretty stuck on
the Bible and stuff, but I've got so much faith. Plus he's already
friends with Ledezma and with another family in the branch, the
Aparicio's! How awesome, right?
Then. That night. We went to Hermana Esteban's for dinner and she fed
us CHICKEN GIZZARD AND HEART. Oh man. That was rough. I started eating
and I knew it was something funky, but I couldn't be all rude and not
eat it! I didn't finish (such bad manners) but I did my best. And
right before we left I asked her what it was. Hahaha shouldn't have
done that. But I choked down what I could! And she talked and talked
about the Jews and how everything they do and eat and buy is all
Kosher. Good stuff.
Thursday. Ugh. My first sick day :( it wasn't even that bad! Just some
nausea and exhaustion kind of stuff. But Sister Smith made me take a
nap after weekly planning and we stayed in for the night. I slept for
a while while she cleaned the apartment, and then we sorted through
some stuff and that was it. I felt so bad that we didn't go out and
work, it was the worst. I will never be sick again!!! And poor Smith
was just trying to be all nice and take care of me and I was just
frustrated that I couldn't do anything. She's good to me

Friday was great, though! We had the other sisters (Hale and Vanhoven)
over for lunch and that was fun! Turkey sandwiches and a fruit
smoothie :) then we did a less-active cookie run and saw a couple
people! We went to Cherry St and found a couple people and taught them
about the Book of Mormon. My favorite thing EVER is to give people
Book of Mormon's. And if they don't read or don't meet with us,
they'll still have it! And someday, when they need it and are ready
for it, it's there. Anyway! I also met my first Jehova's Witness and
that was aight! He was a nice guy, he just talked to us out of his
second-story window. Then we went back to see
Rafael and Irene with Hermano Ledezma! We taught the restoration and
it all went well! We encouraged them to read and pray and know for
themselves :) and I have so much faith that they will and they'll come
to know! But right in the middle of the lesson, Rafael got up, walked
into the kitchen, and started cutting up a watermelon, and then
he brought it to us! All cut up and on this nice plate and everything!
That family is the BEST. And then when we were walking out, Irene
handed us a few peaches to take home! Oh, man. They're too good.

Saturday was loco. We discovered Friday night (thanks to Ledezma) that
our right break light was out, so our blinker wasn't working. We
called the car guy for the mission and he told us to get it fixed
ASAP. So after our English class (where they learned "beach" and
"sheet" hahaha), we went to Pep Boys. We were there for a couple hours
and it was hard to be very effective. But we made flyers that afternoon for our English class!

Sunday was great! Maria and Antonio were totally at church! Woooo!
They are the BEST. But in RS we learned all about temples and eternal
marriage, and in sacrament meeting they talked about tithes and
offerings. Soooo we'll have to go back and teach both those things
this week!  But the branch is actually getting excited about
helping us with missionary work! I think it's because they see us
working and bringing people to church and stuff! But they're asking
what they can do and they're accompanying us and we're actually
talking about it in branch council and it's awesome! Yay for
missionary work!! After eating and studies, we went out and found a
few people! We met this girl, Liliana, that is literally 3.5 feet
tall. She's sweet, though!

Anyway, all in all it was a good week :) watermelon and chicken
hearts, Pep Boys and being sick. Life is GREAT down here in T-Riv, I
couldn't be happier :) Sister Smith is the BEST and we're having such
a fun time! We're working hard and having fun and I'm learning lots!
I'm so blessed to be a missionary and serving here! I hope they keep
me here for the next 14 months ;)

 Keep reading the Book of
Mormon, it's the most important book ever written!! :)

Hermana Millington
Images by Freepik