Monday, June 16, 2014

Sista Miyahara's Farewell Epistle 6/16/14

As I sit here in the Acworth public library for the last time, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, humility, excitement, heartbreak and other such emotions. My black name tag sits on my heart right now and it has never meant this much to me.  I’m at a loss of words but pray I can in some way or another try to partially convey how deeply I have loved serving as a representative of Jesus Christ in this glorious land of Georgia. Every day of the past 18 months I have loved serving this mission for the Lord. Every day I worked my tail off for the cause of truth and salvation. Every day I came to a greater understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ as I’ve had to apply it constantly. Every single day I have served with my whole heart, might, mind and strength.  I couldn’t be more thankful for the miracles and wonder of this pretty perfect mission. God has truly allowed me to be made strong to bring about the eternal purposes He has for His children.
In all humility I can say that I have been blessed to have done some incredible things in my life before I served. I’ve been tremendously fortunate to have had many remarkable opportunities at such a young age. I had a phenomenal up bring with the most loving parents that shaped me to be the person I am today. I loved high school and all the experiences that came with it. I loved college and the fun adventures I had there. I loved every moment exploring the world with my family and friends. I just loved life and had so much fun in all the adventures it brought! I’ve been greatly blessed.
And yet this mission I’ve served is more sacred, holier, and more eternal than anything I’ve ever done before.  It is literally the most important thing I could have done in this world and in eternity. I have been engaged in saving human souls. Yes, it’s been the hardest work I have EVER known of. Missionary work is hard. Eternal salvation hangs in the balance! And that is why this has been the most important and most meaningful 18 months in the universe for Sister Avery Miyahara.
My last week as a full-time missionary was absolutely perfect. I feel like I almost totally understood for a moment what it means in scripture to have a “fullness of joy,” to feel a piece of heaven.
Do you remember the investigator I quoted in my email about a month ago that said in our first lesson how he wanted to “glow” as I did and have the conviction of faith as I did? Well, on Friday that man was baptized and wow, did he absolutely shine with the countenance of a striving disciple. Louie’s heart has been changed through the atonement. His faith rivals many others. As I gave the Baptism talk in his service, I looked at him in the eyes and saw the Savior’s reflection. Then sitting right behind him was Jonathan and Nicole- both two recent converts who mean everything to me. I stood there and testified but couldn’t hear words coming out of my mouth. I only saw the faces of these people and my soul felt that fullness of joy; some of the precious fruit of our labors right in front of me with tears rolling down their checks was unforgettable. Every bit of knew that all this is real and truer than anything else.
Saturday started in the most celestial way, in the temple of the Lord. We attended a session as a zone but the most special part was that President and Sister Chase came to be with me for my final trip to the Atlanta Temple as a full-time set apart missionary. I sat next to Sister Harding (mission president’s wife) and she held me when I felt a flood of emotions. I'm so grateful for her and all she has taught me. President and Sister Harding have loved me as their own and I'm forever grateful for them. In the temple, I was surrounded by more love than I have ever experienced by those in the life and those on the other side. It was perfect. I’ll never forget the tangible reality of the spirit testifying of the Gospel's truth.
We had to slip out of our zone training meeting after the temple because we had yet another miracle baptism for the ever so precious, Andrea. Her huge Hispanic family all came out to support and it was the neatest baptism I’ve had. The program consisted so many talks or testimonies from family members and us missionaries. Spanish and English was spoken but the spirit was the same regardless.  I spoke on love and that is exactly what I was consumed with as I addressed that united family. 
It has been a week full of diligent labor for the Lord. We had SO MANY service opportunities that left us feeling spiritually filled and overjoyed as we were able to be a helping hand to so many. We even gathered the young men’s group to come help our investigator in her yard. 20+ youth aged boys worked so hard for about 3 hours! It was so awesome! She went around knocking on her neighbors doors and pointing at us saying, “Look! The Mormons have come to help me!”
In all honestly, I didn’t realize what was coming in the next week, I was too caught up with the work that had to be done!  It wasn’t until Sunday at church it hit me. I hope this is the first and LAST heartbreak I’ll ever experience ;)
Throughout these sacred 18 months, I have engraved this black plastic tag on my heart. This black piece of plastic has allowed me to walk into the home of strangers and testify of eternal truths. It has allowed me to come to know the Savior better than I could have ever without it. This black name tag has altered my priorities to align with the Fathers. It has taught me obedience which increased my capacity to love. It has brought me countless friendships that will last forever. In just 18 months this black piece of plastic has changed my life forever and forever and forever. Every good thing in my future will come because I chose to enlist in the Lord’s army, because I have chosen the path of discipleship forever. The burdens are real but so too are the mighty blessings.
I’m just a silly girl trying to do what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. Whatever good has come out of my service and devotion to the Lord in Georgia is ALL BECAUSE OF HIM. I know who I am; I am a daughter of God. I have unlimited ability! I can do anything through Christ who grants me any strength I may possess.
My God be ever glorified through my small efforts to serve Him.
To my family: Thank you for your faithful consistency in supporting me. Thank you for loving the Lord and helping me better love Him too. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for your emails, letters, packages and surprises. I have felt your prayers and I hope you’ve felt mine. Thank you for the privilege to claim you to be mine. Expect your crazy girl to fly down the stairs to hug you in a few days!
To everyone else I love: Thank you for reading these scatter brained emails. Thank you for every prayer you’ve muttered for us missionaries. Thank you for being a part of my conversion. Thank you for the good that you are doing each day for the Lord. Thank you loving ridiculous me.
I’ll be coming home real soon but you can expect me to continue carrying out faithfully God’s will. All the miracles of this mission will be worth NOTHING if I come home unchanged or if I let myself slip into apathy. The evidence of my love and conversion to the Gospel because of my mission will be shown through my actions and attitude as I return to “real life.” I will forever hold myself to the standard of obedience, diligence, consecration, etc. I have set as a set apart full-time missionary….forever. Because missions are forever!
God be with you till we meet again, Georgia.
All my love and appreciation,
Sister Avery Kimi Miyahara

Monday, June 9, 2014

Glory to God ! 6/9/14

Tell me my morning wasn’t the best missionary morning you’ve ever heard of?!?!
5:30am workout at “swift Cantrell park” was SO MUCH FUN. Every morning this past transfer we wake up at 5:30 and go work out with members of our ward! Something we like to call “Project: become the fittest congregation in Georgia!” hahaha it’s such a blast! The elders, the members, our investigators and all we invite come out and start their mornings off right with the sister missionaries! This morning Sister Comstock (my BFF inspiration lady I’d do anything to be like when I'm a mom) kicked my butt and we loved every second of it! Run then burpies then run then backward jump squats then run then bear crawls then run then LAUGH all the while!!  BEST REASON TO GIVE UP SLEEP.
: Louie had his baptismal interviews at 8am at the church. Our district leader said he is one of the most prepared individuals he has ever talked to. He is a member referral from his co-worker who attends our ward. The prophesy of many being prepared to hear the message of the Restoration by the example and mouth of our members have come to pass! I stand completely amazed at the faith of this man. Born and raised stanch Baptist and finally finding the fullness of truth has altered Louie’s eternity. So thrilled for his baptism this Friday night! Keep Louie in your prayers J
9am-another miracle appointment. Andrea is the tenderest, close to the spirit 10 year old there has ever been in the history of the world! She comes from a part member family that has been re-activated and Andrea will be baptized this Saturday!! Teaching her the lessons has been the most enjoyable experience because she recognized truth and understands it so quickly. Her mom told us that last night she said, “Mom, our home has felt different since the sisters started coming by. I can feel angels here. I know that this is what God wants for our family.” Those angels surrounding her and her home will be greatly rejoicing this Saturday. How grateful I am to be merely an instrument to bring about lasting conversion to our Savior Jesus Christ.
I’ve come to the conclusion that if there is anything good I’ve done here in Georgia, it’s because of the love from our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The truths of the Gospel have come alive in me and in many of those around me. The miracles are undeniable.
Every day I get the privilege to meet people that look at me with such lost eyes and somehow the Spirit allows me to speak the words that are precisely what they needed to hear at that very moment. NONE of this is my doing! Not at all. It’s my job to prepare spiritually first and then let the Holy Ghost do all the work. The Lord has my total allegiance! This mission has been the greatest decision I have made in my life thus far. My days in Georgia mean everything to me because I know how much they mean to God. Our Father in Heaven LOVE us, just believe it! It’s absolute truth! And all I want to do is bring glory to His name!
So true life…I ate an entire homemade bread loaf in the span of two hours. by. my. self. DANG IT! I also thought it would be a good idea to learn how to garden and pull weeds and I totally love doing yard work! Dad, I'm all yours this summer! Oh yeah and I found it fun to try to speak Spanish to our Hispanic investigators and the phrase I’ve never forgotten since freshmen year Spanish 1 is “tengo hombe” NOT the best thing to say to an over generous Hispanic. HELLO weight gain this week. Ha! Whatever. You can loose the weight but not the memories, right?
Goodness gracious my life…so wonderful! Wouldn’t trade these days for the world! I’m so excited to work so hard, to talk to everyone, to sacrifice sleep and to have so much fun this next full week as a full time missionary : )
All my love and silly quirks,
Sister Avery Kimi Miyahara


Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Hii hello!! Sister Miyahara here, reporting back that…I’ve never been so tired but SO BLESSED in my whole life! It’s been yet another week of strengthening trials and inspired miracles. When I finally lay down at night to get a few hours of sleep, I can’t help but think, “What did I ever do to deserve this privilege of serving a mission?” Regardless of the chaos and challenges around me, as I live/share the restored Gospel faithfully, I feel immense joy and peace and security.
A verse in Mark (10:28) jumped out at me in personal study this morning. Peter says to the Savior, “Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee.” I sat there thinking…sure, I’ve left my family, friends, the ocean, school, work, etc. BUT what I have “left” behind that was been the most liberating has been leaving behind all doubt, fear, pride, etc. When God asks us to leave our “nets,” it’s so much deeper than what on the surface we can comprehend.  Leaving behind my iPhone, late nights and reality TV has been good but it hasn’t been the source of my conversion. We have to decide to leave behind much more than that. We have to 100% surrender our heart, our desires, our will.
When I ran the 13.1 last week, I thought about my brother Blake the entire time. The advice he keeps sharing is to, “put my head down and sprint through the finish line.” I sprinted through the finish mark with tears in my eyes, knowing that God gives us the strength to endure and power through the end. I think about that concept as I study, as I plan, as I knock a door or talk to a stranger. I’m determined to sprint through all the finish lines God will put in my amazing race of mortality. Come, sprint with me. The rejoicing after giving your all and succeeding is something remarkable.
"I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach all I know, and work until He stops me" because THIS IS REALITY! I know it... and I cherish it.
I love the Acworth ward with all my heart. Fast Sunday yesterday was a very special day for me.  Thank you to my Acworth family for loving me into your families. Shout out to my Young Women girlies who make me laugh till I about pee myself! Y’all are going to make powerful missionaries one day : )
Goodness me, I love y’all!!
Sister Miyahara

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Oh, How Sweet The Joy!! 5/27/14

Great! My email time has FLOWN by! ah! okay , okay THIS WEEK WAS AWESOME.
Avery was baptized : ) it was so special. I love this family so much! The Gospel blesses families! TRUTH. This family has been changed through the mercy of our Savior and I’m just happy to know them.

 I finished Jesus the Christ by Talmage and I BELIEVE IN CHRIST. My faith is firmer than ever that He was no ordinary man; He is our literal Savior, our Hope of Israel, the Finisher of the Faith! I’m so grateful to know that He is at the head of this church and how humbled I am to be a part of His commission to bring others closer to Him.

We had such a neat sisters conference this week! Sister Mills taught us with great power about the sacred duty of our call. She brought it back to our eternal purposes and how our missions shape and train us for eternity! I learned so much. I LOVE LEARNING. There is so much knowledge and wisdom and truth this Gospel offers! I couldn’t love every moment of this mission anymore!

Yesterday was Memorial Day and let me tell you, it was a day of miracles! We worked our tails off all day long for the Lord. We found 11 families who all want us back to learn more about the restored Church of Jesus Christ again established on the earth today! As we prayerfully sought after the spirit, we were led by God’s angels to those hearts they have been preparing. It was a special day where I felt so empowered by the spirit of the Lord as I testified to so many as Jesus Christ’s representative. Man, I love being a missionary so much.

 I RAN A HALF MARATHON THIS MORNING. Yes, I am sitting here stiffer than stiff! I had to keep the Memorial Day 13.1 tradition going! Sister Maney and Jessica were so kind to run with me! I was grinning from ear to ear every stride! Sister Miller supplied us with bananas and Gatorade and even a fun sign along our run! I pondered these past 21 years/17 months and was so overwhelmed with love and gratitude! How beautiful are God’s creations?!...the world around us, our physical bodies and spiritual souls?! Incredible. Only a Loving Father above would allow us the opportunity to discover so much joy here in mortality. Look around you. God is real! I’ll remember those 13.1 miles forever. Thank you for the people who will be a part of that memory!
Happiest of birthdays to my dear baby boy Sammy! I love you and that family of ours with every beat of this ever expanding heart! I also love this land of Georgia with my whole heart and somehow Heavenly Father grants me the capacity to feel that way! Can you even begin to fathom how much our Father in Heaven must love us? I’m so thankful He allows me to feel just a tiny portion of His love for His children.
“Pure Christ like love flowing from true righteousness can CHANGE THE WORLD” –Elder Holland
Until next week!
Love y’all!
Sister Miyahara