Hermana Millington - Notes from New Jersy

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
Images by Freepik