Hermana Millington - Notes from New Jersy

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Baleadas and Mangu - FINALLY! - August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016
Hey family!! So this week I finally got to eat Baleadas and Mangu, which I've wanted to eat for the last six months! So yay! Baleadas are a Hondurian food with eggs, beans, cheese, meat, and avocado in a really thick tortilla that's eaten kind of like a burrito. Mangu is mashed up plantains with onions. We had it "cuatro golpe" style, which means we had salami, sausage, fried cheese, and egg with it. It was so good! We also had a typical Mexican chicken--just a chicken leg floating in some spicy green stuff, with rice, beans, and tortillas. Oh man, this ward is WAY too good at feeding us! That's probably why I've been sick for the last three weeks.. Haha!

Anyway, this week was way good! We went on a beautiful hike again on Monday, this time with the Sanchez family. Hermano Sanchez is our ward mission leader, and we went with his wife (who is the funniest lady ever) and a few of his kids. It was really awesome! That family is so sweet. We went to their house yesterday as well for that Mexican chicken. Hermana Sanchez is SO funny, but it's so hard because her and Elder Medoza speak Mexican to each other and the rest of us get lost. Even my companion from Venezuela can't always keep up! So I just laugh and pretend I know what's going on :) Hahaha

On Tuesday we went to dinner at the Ramos family home, which was lovely! We had some good steak with some rice and beans and fried plantains (are you noticing this pattern in what I'm eating? Haha). Their house is right on this beautiful lake, so they let us walk around and take some pretty pictures. There was a huge storm that blew in while we were there, though, and it was fun to watch the rain on the lake! We'll hopefully be going back again this Wednesday! 

Wednesday and Friday we go out to Bristol Glenn, this assisted living center, and volunteer. On Wednesday we are in Memory Care, where the people stay that have Alzheimer's dimensia. It was pretty interesting this week.. I was trying to be kind to this lady we were doing a puzzle with, and I reached out to pat her hand, and she reeled back and smacked me! Haha she only smacked my hand away, but her face looked so mad! I felt so bad! But it's okay. She doesn't remember.. :) We had dinner that night with Hermana Lefkaritis, who brought some yummy food to the church for us. She's really sweet and really willing to help with our missionary work! And the chicken, rice, and carmelized bananas were delicioso! 

After all our weekly planning on Thursday, we had an awesome lesson with Walter (a recent convert) and his two friends, Victor and Victor. We taught about the Restoration and it went really well! We were blessed to have Walter there to help us out and to bear testimony. He's so excited to share the gospel with his friends, it's really great. Then we sped-walked while eating watermelon back to the church and had a lesson with Silverio, another friend of a member! He's the one with the lady troubles. But we taught him yesterday (Sunday) again, and he's totally changed! He really wants to learn about the gospel and really loves it. He came to church and he knew a ton of people! He's had a lot of interactions with people from the church, and he feels like God has led him here finally. So that's pretty cool :) 

On Friday at service we played with dolls for a couple hours.. It was so hard. I totally forgot how to play with dolls! But the ladies were nice and we did our best! We also tried coloring, but we couldn't keep their attention very well. Anyway. Interesting times at Bristol Glenn. Then we went to Applebee's to get some wifi to talk to the Vega family over Skype! That was super awesome! Sister Pace and I were on and we talked about how they are and their reading in the Book of Mormon. We read together in 3 Nephi 11 an talked about how to apply that to their lives. Then we taught the Hernandez family! It was definitely different this time. The elders weren't there, and we were more firm about who we are and what we do as missionaries. We tried to make it really clear what our goal was for them. We also found out that Hna Hernandez can't read, so that's going to make it pretty tough.. But we watched the Restoration movie with them, which was really good. It kept their attention long enough and I think they really started to understand! Yay!!

Saturday afternoon we went to a Habitat for Humanity thrift shop and found some service! Woo! We also found some cute little scouts selling popcorn, so we got some really yummy carmel corn :) They were so cute! We took cupcakes to a couple members for their birthday and because their family is moving to the states, and that was pretty fun! We tried to find this guy, Rene, but we didn't have much success.. The guy behind door A said he lived in door B.. And the guy behind door B said he lived in door A... So bummer. That night we went to the church to have some Facebook lessons, and ended up fixing a toilet that was exploding. Haha! And then Sister Yalily came and took us out for baleadas with the elders! You probably saw the picture on facebook, it's so cute :) They were so yummy!!

Sunday was a crazy day. We had two investigators at church, and that was great! They both really enjoyed it and learned a lot. They're so awesome :) That night we went to a couple parties with the elders, and that was way fun! The first was with the Sanchez, and that was a blast. The second was with some member, Hermano De la Cruz, who's grandson turned 15! They're all from the Dominican Republic, so they made Mangu for us, and we had some yummy ice cream cake. But oh man, my stomach still hurts. I actually called Sister Taggart (our temporary mission nurse) about it yesterday, because I haven't felt super well in a few weeks. So we'll see what we can figure out about that.. But for now I'll just drink a ton of water and pray for the best!

This week was a little crazy, but it was so awesome! Time flies when you're having fun, and we definitely are :) This area is amazing and I love it so much! I'm doing better at letting go of my imperfections and weaknesses as a missionary and trying to look outward to the people I'm here to love and serve. The Lord has blessed us so much, and I know that as we continue being obedient and working hard, we'll be able to progress with the investigators we have and find new ones that are prepared! 

Love you with all my heart! 
Hermana Millington

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

There Goes Six Months! - August 15, 2012

Sunday, August 14, 2016

When the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days... - August 8, 2016

At Ellis Island
August 5, 2016

Ellis Island
August 5, 2016
Hola family!!

This week was super crazy! We had so many meetings and trainings and things, we didn't have a ton of time to actually proselyte! But we did some good work for sure :) 
On Tuesday we started the day nice and early and went out to contact at 8am. We went to the train station a couple minutes away and found a ton of hispanic guys standing around waiting to find work for the day! In total, we taught 7 lessons and got a few new investigators! It was so awesome! Sister Troconis is such a rock star. It was an amazing way to start the day! By noon we'd already done a ton of work! It really motivated us to keep working hard and doing awesome the rest of the day. And it was pretty intimidating because most of them were all standing around in groups, but we put on our big kid skirts and got to work! It was cool to be able to be out and about and meet so many people in just a couple hours. We also almost died today because of some crazy driver... But the Lord surely takes care of his missionaries :) We also met with a less-active guy from CHILE!! Woo!!! So that was cool :) Chilean spanish is really pretty, so I've heard! We also got a personal concert by some guy in his apartment belting Josh Groban.. Hahaha it was so funny. We were trying some other less-active and we were walking past a pond with some geese, and we heard him jamming out. Throughout the song he switched off from vocals to trumped to keyboard.. It was pretty epic.
On Wednesday we had interviews with President Taggart! That was pretty good! I love President and Sister Taggart. They are so loving. We had a couple lessons with some new investigators--Cornelio and Juan--that went pretty well! We're doing a lot of teaching the Restoration! And man, Sister Troconis is such an awesome teacher. And we're getting our flow down and our comp unity totally figured out! It's great! We did a little table stand with the elders in downtown Dover for about half an hour, but there weren't a lot of people out. But that was pretty interesting and new! I'm having lots of fun getting outside my comfort zone! 

On Thursday we had a TON of training. We went over to Morristown and had some 3-hour training from the Taggarts' neighbor, Dennis, that was cool! He goes around and trains people all over the world on business communication. So we talked a lot about non-verbal communication and about reflective listening. Then we had a lovely lunch, and then another 3 hour training, but this time on Facebook! We talked a lot about different ways to find and stay in touch with people over Facebook. It was a pretty crazy discussion, all 200 of us were just blurting out ideas pretty much, but it was helpful nonetheless. And THEN we came home and had our first Facebook lesson! It was so weird. But our investigator said he couldn't leave his house, so we found him on FB and had a whole lesson over chat! We taught about the Book of Mormon and it all went really well! And then for the closing prayer, we recorded it and sent it. And he messaged back "amen, hermanas." Haha it was so crazy! Missionary work is definitely changing here in New Jersey. And ALSO! I got permission from President Taggart to start teaching Katherine Barber over Facebook!! Isn't that so crazy?! She's living in Utah now, but she told me she wanted to maybe meet with missionaries there, but wasn't sure.. So I messaged her on Facebook and we've started teaching her! I'll write more about that in a little bit :) But we did get some sad news on Thursday. Jesse Vega of the beloved Vega family in Lakewood messaged Sister Pace and I and said they've decided not to meet with the missionaries anymore. They said they don't really connect with the new sisters and don't want to be pushed into something they aren't ready for. So that was a super bummer. But Sister Pace and I talked about it with President and we've decided we'll try to keep teaching them and helping them over Facebook! They love the gospel and they want to keep learning and reading, so we'll do our best with that. It's so crazy--the whole world is our mission now! 

On Friday we went all the way over to Ellis Island and did service there! That was SO awesome. We took a bunch of pictures before and after. It was my first time serving, so I had to get trained a little bit on the program. But they have a little family history place there where people can pay for some time to search for their ancestors in the Ellis Island records. They can find the ship's manifest, pictures of the ships, and passenger information for their families. There's such a cool spirit there. It was really cool to help people find their grandparents and family members and see a whole bunch of information about who they were and what their lives were like when they came to America. The Spirit of Elijah is so real! And it was cool to talk to a couple people about what we're doing there and why we have black nametags in Spanish on :) The traffic coming home was CRAZY, but we eventually made it back! Then we went to a lesson with the Elders to the Hernandez home. I love that little family. We taught the Plan of Salvation, but we only made it about half-way through before we got way side-tracted. But long-story-short, the elders gave their home and Sister Hernandez a blessing, and that was lovely! And of course, she fed us some tacos before we left :) We were pretty late getting home because the elder who was driving got pulled over.. Haha but the cop was super nice, it was just our tail-light :) It's so interesting to go on drives with the Elders, one is from DR and the other is from Mexico. So in the car, we usually all talk in Spanish! Oh man, I'm learning SO MUCH. It's so awesome. I'll have Spanish as good as Seth's someday ;) 

On Saturday we did a TON of weekly planning, but it was good! We had to get it done at some point. We also had a lesson with Katherine! We set up the Facebook video chat and talked to her for about 20 minutes. She's in a similar boat than Sister Troconis, and they totally connected. It was way awesome. I just stinkin love that girl. All this technology makes the world so much smaller! But yeah, it all went really well! And then, at like 8:50, we realized we had no gas in our car for tomorrow.. So we ran to the gas station without shoes on. And in New Jersey, they have people pump your gas for you, so we thought we would be okay! But Sister Troconis needed cash for fast offerings.. haha so we walked into this tiny conveince store (literally all they had was soda and chips) and bought some chips. And the guy was all "do you have sandals on?" And I was like "ummmm nooo..." And he was like "hmm. Well be sure to wash your feet, we just painted the floor." And so I said "yeah, of course!"... but I didn't wash my feet. #rebel. 

Sunday was AWESOME. GUESS WHO CAME TO CHURCH. HERMANO HERNANDEZ!! It was crazy! We totally weren't expecting him to come!! It was so awesome. And his daughter, Alexa (10 years old) came too, and she totally loved it! We also had a bunch of recent converts and less-actives at church, so it was way fun! And the pianist was out of town, so I played. And then the primary president stopped me and said they needed me to play in primary. But the chorister didn't think she had a good voice, so I had to sing to the kids. And play. This song I'd never heard before. hahaha it was pretty interesting! But it was in English, at least :) But I was so happy to serve and help! After church we went to Bishop Haro's house for dinner again, and that was awesome. We told them all about Facebook and it totally blew their mind! They have a daughter who's 18 and a son who's like 15 and they're so kind. Then we had a lesson with an investigator at the church that went super well! All in all, it was a really great day.
So anyway, this week has been super awesome! I've found myself feeling pretty weak, but I know the Lord is aware and He's here to help. This area, companion, and everything are such an amazing opportunity for me to learn and grow. The Lord surely loves me! I feel his love every day as we focus on all the little miracles that happen. I'm working harder than ever and I'm so happy :) 
I love you SO MUCH! I think about you and pray for you all the time :)
Hermana Millington

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wecome to Dover--EAT ALL THE FOOD - August 1, 2016

Holy cow, guys. This is crazy over here.

So we showed up in Dover on Tuesday, and we have the loveliest apartment! It's actually the bottom floor of a house, and the landlord lives upstairs. They are super nice and quiet and they gave us their wifi password! Woo! But the house is way nice and big and beautiful and clean. But we only had a few things of Ramen, some water bottles, some beans, and some cereal when we got here.. Haha so we went shopping for some food and unpacked. We met with the elders that night and got the low-down on the area. There are about 5 new investigators the sisters had, so we'll be picking those up, but that's it. We're starting pretty much from scratch! So this week has been super interesting and a little tough, to be honest. I just don't know what I'm doing at all. It's a little overwhelming and stressful and I just feel super inadequate.. But I know that this is where the Lord needs me. There's things I need to learn from the people and Sister Troconis, and there's someone here somewhere that needs me too!! 

Sis. Troconis "hammering" in nail
Also, Sister Troconis is AWESOME. She's from Venezuela, but she lived in Utah for about a year and a half before her mission, so her english is way good. But it's kind of funny, she's still learning english so she wants to talk in english all the time.. But I'd rather we talked in spanish all the time because that's what I'm learning.. But either way, she's helping me a ton! She's way good with the people, and she's a very experienced missionary. And this isn't her first time opening an area, so she knows a little about what she's doing! Anyway, she's super awesome. She's beautiful and so smart and so committed and so diligent. I'm lucky to have her as my companion here. 

We had a pretty crazy lesson with a new family this week, the Hernandez. The elders have been teaching them, but they're in our area, so we'll be taking over. But they came with us for a hand-off lesson, and they'll keep coming a few times I think. Hno Hernandez really likes them. Anyway, we taught about prophets and dispensations and things, but it got pretty off-rails. But Hna told us that she was going through a really difficult time right now. So we all knelt in prayer together to invite the Spirit to be with us more so we could know what we could to for her, and that was cool. After that, she was crying and expressing how she felt like God was with her. She said she'd prayed that morning and she'd felt God tell her that she would receive the answer and the help she was looking for. She totally felt the Spirit, and knew that what we were saying was that answer. She was pretty emotional, so we made sure to give lots of hugs after the lesson (after she'd made us hamburgers haha). So I'm excited to go back and see that family and see what can come of it! 

We got to know the area boundaries a little bit, but that was kind of tough.. So I'm in the Dover Ward, and our area goes all the way to the top of New Jersey! So I went from the southern-most, to the northern-most parts of the mission. And this is the biggest area! But there are most hispanics in a couple towns pretty close to us, so that's nice. We spent a lot of time trying to find people and meet with them, and we met some really awesome people! A couple investigators and a ton of members. We made lots of plans for finding (doing a table stand on the street, inviting to musical FHE things, etc.) that I'm really excited about. Our ward mission leader, Hermano Sanchez, is super awesome and I'm excited to work more with him! He gave us a whole list of people to see. 

Last night was rough. Oh man. We came home from church and got our Facebooks up (!!!!!), and then we spent the rest of the night eating dinner. Literally. Three back-to-back dinner appointments. From the Bishop to the RS President, to the Ward Mission Leader. And these lovely hispanic people, they just LOVE to pump us full of food. We came home and literally just laid on the ground for about twenty minutes. We couldn't do anything. Hahahaha! It was way rough. So I ate some yummy peruvian chicken and ice cream, the biggest steak of my life (8,000 pounds), and lots of rice and tortillas. On our way to the third dinner we felt like we were driving to our deaths. But we survived!! I still haven't really eaten anything today, and I probably won't until our dinner appointment tonight!!

Church yesterday was awesome! It was pretty overwhelming to try to meet everyone and know their names and everything. The ward here was probably 70-80 people yesterday, which seems like a ton to me! I'm used to like 25! But there's a lot of families with kids and youth, so that's pretty fun! Way different! Everyone was really happy to have us there, and they seem really loving and really organized. There are a few ward missionaries that I've heard are really helpful with the work. So we're excited to actually have people to teach so they can help us! 

Anyway, this week hasn't been super easy, but it's been super awesome. And we're excited to keep hitting it hard this coming week! We'll be visiting less-actives and finding like crazy! I just love being a missionary :)

Also FACEBOOK! So I have that now. CRAZY. I've gone through and made some things private and done what I have to, so now I can start using it as Hermana Millington! I'm friends with some missionaries now, and some people from my last area. That Margarita Lopez lady? She's the Maria of Maria and Antonio. They are so dang sweet. I went and said goodbye to them and to the Vegas on Monday night and we all totally cried. I love those families. Anyway, I'll be able to keep in touch with them better now! So we'll start adding all the members and investigators (when we have some) and everything, and that'll be super awesome. We can have group chat lessons and video calls when people can't make it to appointments or when they don't have a lot of time. We'll be able to have daily contact with our people better, and see what's going on in their lives. We'll be able to reach a lot more people through the posts we make and encouraging members to post and message their friends. There are a lot of people these days that feel a lot more comfortable expressing themselves on facebook chat (isn't that sad? But so true), so that'll make it easier to connect with people, too. It'll take a lot of training and some discipline, but I'm excited about it. As a mission, I think this will really help us. So you'll be able to see things I post and what-not! And if you spoke Spanish, you could even help in some teaching situations! Maybe Seth can in a little bit, he needs to download duolingo ;) But yeah! I'm online!
ALSO I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT SETH'S MISSION CALL!!! I've told practically everyone. I need to find someone from Chile and ask them about it.. But Sister Troconis said it's awesome down there!! Definitely a different place than Boise, Idaho. And his spanish will probably end up better than mine. Haha but it'll be SO FUN to be able to talk in Spanish together for the rest of forever :) Thank you for sending the updates and pictures and everything!! I totally flipped out when it all came in . You guys are the BEST! 

I love you with all my heart!!
Hermana Millington
Images by Freepik