Monday, March 25, 2013

Expect Miracles

About two weeks ago President Harding (our mission president...coolest man there ever was, b.t.dubz) gave all the missionaries an inspired Easter goal for this month; he called it "every soul a soul." Every missionary in our mission was to fiercely desire this, pray for it and believe that we can all accomplish such a task.  It may seem like this was no biggie but lemme tell you...I have to quickly learn the true doctrine of faith (hence the past few weeks letters). 

We were not in this alone. We we're on God's team! Our team captain was President Harding and surely our key players were our stake president, high council men, bishops, ward mission leaders, and all the members. They were all invited to be help us missionaries accomplish this goal.  I can’t even tell you how many conference calls I've been on with all those I listed. Like 50 some odd Powder Springs Stake members all on the phone discussing how we were gonna get 22 baptisms in our stake by Easter! Mind you...this is southern America...not South America.  

Our mission president has given us nonstop encouragement and inspiration to help us out. He says that when we are perfectly obedient, working our absolute hardest and have faith in His mighty power...expect miracles. Challenged accepted. 

So I thought I'd list some of God's miracles that unfolded before my eyes this week! 

1. Our temple square sister arrived this week.  I FOUND MY SOUL SISTER MISSIONARY. Sister Nelson is her name and she is from Mesa, Arizona. She is a Toro haha (S/O to my boys from Mountain View! I can't seem to run from the Toro pride)! She is the most incredible person and came into my life in the most timely way! Together, I truly believe we can do anything. We are so spiritually unified that I have no doubt that bam bam bam miracles after miracles will happen this transfer! Oh and President told her that our ward was the strongest ward in the mission. Booya, baby! I told you, this ward is a dream and a half! 

2. Two of my most favorite investigators are Gail (mom) and Torey (daughter).  Long story short, they have wanted to get baptized for a while now and for certain crazy reasons they haven’t been.  Gail would always say she was going to be like Brigham Young and investigate the church for two years.  We decided to fast with her.  None of us could do a thing about the situation. A miracle was the only resolution. She was surely progressing (has read the Book of Mormon four times and the book Jesus the Christ twice) but was going nowhere (couldn't get baptized). We fasted and that very night a mighty miracle happened.  Gail and Torey will be baptized this Saturday. There is such divine power in fasting. The impossible happened and God rewarded Gail and Torey for their undying faith and paved a perfect plan for them. 

3.Gail's friend came to her Tuesday of this week in an emotion mess. She expressed to Gail her need for answered questions, support and love, and guidance for her and her three angelic daughters (ages 10, 4, 2). Gail's immediate response was "you need the missionaries." That very day we met this incredible lady (she's from Jamaica!!) .  I'm not kidding when I say this, I just had to know Vanissa and her daughters in heaven; I promised them I would one day know them and offer them the gospel.  That day was Tuesday the 19th of March. She was so insanely prepared for the gospel and I can’t even begin to tell you! Everything we believe in, she has known to be true and has been living accordingly but she just hadn't found a church that teaches it all in completeness.  Vanissa and her 10 year old will be baptized as well. God is in every detail of our lives, people! It literally blows my mind everyday.  

4. We drove to find a potential investigator and idiot me forgot to write down the house number. Do we leave and go to the next person we planned to see or do we stay in this neighborhood and tract it out? We didn’t know, so we prayed! When we pray for specific things, God can give us specific answers. We instantaneously knew we needed to stay and knew we needed to see these three houses in particular. All three doors were open, three lessons were taught, and three return appointments were made.  Each home said to us something along the lines of "we needed you right at this moment," "we have been praying for these answers," "there is a reason you knocked on my door today." Miracles! Miracles! I'm not bothering people, its a privilege that I get to be the messenger that brings them eternal life!! Missionary work is the greatest! 

5. The sweetest girl in our ward had her missionary farewell yesterday (she is going to Sweden!!)  and the musical number was "Come Thou Fount." My brain was totally and completely caught up in the vivid memory of my farewell almost three months ago where that song was so beautifully sang by my dear friends. Gail put her arm around me and in tears said "we are going to be friends forever." I miss you all at home, duh. But I am so very blessed to be making even more eternal friends out here.  

I only have time to write about those but I seriously could go on all day and tell you these miraculous experiences we have on the reg! In 2 Nephi 26 verse...23 (I think) It talks about how our God is a God of miracles and he will pour upon His children (us!) miracles according to our faith! I can testify with all that I am that is entirely true. I can also promise you that righteous sacrifices allow the heavens to be made open! Sacrifice those little stupid sins that hold you back from miracles! God always ALWAYS rewards us for our righteousness. And when it is a sacrifice and we prove faithful, expect miracles!!

I'm on top of the world! I love being a missionary! I love my Sister Nelson! This is gonna be a pretty spectacular week, I can just feel it :) Happy Easter, may we have an added measure of Christ like love in our days this week! 

lalaLOVE you all!
Sister Miyahara

p.s. SISTER HAWKINS AND SISTER STONE! You're time is finally here! I've been thinking about you both and send all my love and encouragement! Prepare to have your world rocked and to feel happiness like you have never known! Y'all are gonna be pretty incredible missionaries! Peru and Argentina will soon become everything to you!  I love you and send me your MTC mailbox number asap! Ah!!! Good luck my loves!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Love to my mama and some biblical coolness

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!!! I so wish I could give you the biggest hug right now! I guess it'll have to wait 16 more months but through the screen, I'm reaching out and wrapping my arms around you! I can’t put into words my feelings of gratitude and love for you, mom. You've taught me everything. By your example, you've shown me exactly who I can only hope to be one day...the most wonderful human being and mother a child could ask for.  I sure hope you feel loved today! I deserve it. I love you, sweet mother of mine :) I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for blessing me with you. 

Hey Blake, Eagle Scout project this weekend huh? Nice! And your acceptance to BYU?!  Oh heck ya! I LOVE YOU 

For some mundane details: I'm still in the Lost Mountain Ward and couldn't be more thankful for it! I just love this ward oh so much! Seriously, some of the greatest people and strongest spirits!  I have the cutest new trainee! She's awesome! And this Wednesday we are getting another sister! She's coming to us after serving the past year at Temple Square! So there will be four of us sisters in the same apartment! Ca-ra-AZY!!!! I know. We also got elders too. Work is seriously happening! And I love it! I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday and I just had zero time to write it so I wrote my talk during the passing of the sacrament and I was the first speaker. Ha! It was my ward mission leader son's farewell...his name is Blake Douglas and he is going to the Carlsbad Mission! We had a bazillions nonmembers at church so that was a riot! So fun! I seriously ran my mouth! 

The other day someone asked me what made me fearful about serving a mission.  Like I've previous mentioned, it wasn't a phobia of social stuff (yeah right!) or nerves about not knowing perfect doctrine even, it probably was leaving what seemed to be the best life ever and willingly bail all of it and welcome new everything. Clearly God needed to still teach more of this lesson. Okay so with that in mind, I'm doing my morning studies (which is never ever enough time...2 hours feels like 2 minutes! It's nuts!) And I came across a story in the bible that rocked my world. 

Lot's wife. 

We all know the story ...Lot and his family are told (by God) to leave their beloved city/life because it is going to be destroyed and they’re commanded not to look back. Lot's wife does and she turns into a pillar of salt...but it racked my soul this time around. I read and reread Genesis 19 and tried to squeeze out all the goods this story needed to teach me. How many of us "look back" at our past, either nostalgically or with regret and it deprives us our here and now? Lot's wife didn't glance back just for the heck of it. She wanted to go back. Her attachment to her past was stronger than her confidence and faith in the future. She doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than what she already had! Why the crap do our brains long for whatever we don’t have, whether it be in our past or in our dreams of the future? Fight that! Do NOT let Satan drive you to mediocrity! Have faith that God is going to take you to new heights, killer opportunities, total joy and ultimately everlasting life!! 

If needs be, take total advantage of the power of the atonement! Jesus Christ has already taken upon Himself all your sins and pains and weaknesses...embrace His mercy!  Be like the Lamanites and bury those weapons of war that we all like to hold on to! Forgive! We are to learn from past experiences and not necessarily live in the past. Trust that God has great things in store for you! Don’t’ you dare let Satan grab a hold of the person you were destined to become. 

Everyday I realize more and more how weak I am. As I gain new knowledge and study so hard each day, I only find out how very little I know. A verse in D&C 35 made a whole lot of sense. God pretty much says that He calls upon the unlearned, the weak things of the world thrash the nations with the power of His spirit. I feel that spirit everyday.  Jesus Christ was a carpenter, Joseph Smith was a young unintelligent farmer, and I am a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ, called to preach His almighty gospel! We are all weak! Never be satisfied with where you are, always be reaching for higher! Truly, He calls unto the weak (me!) who then can become mighty in His name. I love this work! 

Y'all have a blessed now, 
Sister Miyahara :) 
all my MTC sistas were together again at this last transfer meeting! We are all training! So proud of these strong women I get to call my friends! 

Hermana Megan Francis is a visa waiter in my mission!! We had quite the reunion in the bathrooms at the fayetteville stake center! We're talking screams, jumps, the whole shabang! It was seriously a dream and a half to see this dear friend of mine in Atlanta! 

Ha! Thanks mom for the package! Sorry boys, not this year ;)

We went hiking up kennesaw mountain our last p-day as a district (yes, just us four. borderline double date, ha! just kidding!) and it was pouring and i was so happy! I just frolicked and ran and felt so free! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Believe, Ask, Do!!!

"God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has.  But He can’t if you don’t pray and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe." -Elder Holland

This quote seemed to be the theme of my week.  In every situation/every lesson the overall thing God kept trying to teach me, as well as my investigators was the principle of faith in asking.  We need to ask.  We all have questions deep in our soul that we would like to have answered but how many of us are brave enough to...ask. gasp! What a scary thought.  If it’s because we are fearful of the answer or are we lacking in faith that we won’t receive an answer? Those two hesitants are vastly different however but are equally detrimental.  First, we need to have a full hearted belief that God hears our prayers (questions) and is always going to answer.  Once that testimony is established, we need to trust ourselves. 

When God answers our prayers, somtimes (usually) it isn’t the most convenient or easy circumstance.  It's typically hard, really hard and our natural self tells us "we can’t! No way,God. Are you crazy?." But we can’t let our narrow viewed, silly minds hold us back from reaching our divine potential! If God is going to give you an answer, wouldn’t you trust He would have your back no matter what? As we ask in humble prayer to our Father (in faith He will answer), then receive that personal revelation from Him (God gives us an answer), we must act! And not be hesitant!

God does hear, He does answer and He will support us in every way possible. Desire BIG things, ask for it and believe in the Savior with all your heart that He is and He will be there for you.  I needed to learn to ask specific questions and my investigators so desperately needed to as well.  I can’t wait to see the miracles unfold as we all receive that specific guidance! Our destiny is truly endless if we merely ask. 

So it's transfer week and THANK THE HIGH HEAVENS...I am staying in my beloved Lost Mountain ward.  Here's the funny part...I am training.  Yep. That's right. I'm half way freakin' BIG TIME but I trust in the Lord.  I have to trust! I could never ever EVER do this without his guiding hand.  Words cannot describe the love and friendship and support I'm so blessed to have in my ward.  We are getting elders in our ward and another set of sister.  We are going to have SIX MISSIONARIES in our ward alone! Lost Mountain in going from 2 (Sister Swanson and I) to 6. There is need and the Lord is hastening His work.  Sweet hallelujah glory!

Ms. Amera...GET IT GURL. This Wednesday you report and I've been thinking about you a lot! I'm so excited for you and I pray you are just as excited for yourself.  Don’t freak out, there is no need for that! You're about to begin something that will shape your for eternity and bring you a kind of Christ-like happiness and love you have had yet to feel! Send me your MTC mailbox# asap! LOVE YOU LADY!! Cant wait to hear about your Chilean adventures!

I love you all! Remember the quote at the top and believe in the big things you can and will do!

Sister Miyahara

This is Mrs. Mary-lou and she is a HOOT!  Lemme tell ya!  I love her!

We got to go to the Temple!  So wonderful

Oh, heck ya...guns....hunting...southern lovin'

I Love the Temple so darn much!

My Torey girl  - She will be baptized very soon!  Oh, how I love her!

Lunch with Sister Leath - aka USHER'S NANNY!!  I kid you not.  she is like friends with Usher and the Biebs and Ya!  So cool.

Jesus loves YOU and I love the SOUTH

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This is Real life 3/4/13

I really am a set apart missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ and it's freaking nutso.  I'm like a fo real missionary! It's bizarre sometimes, like it doesn’t seem real and then experience after experience shakes me and says "this is real!" and I love it when that happens. 

This week was a super supreme shake that this is real life because my very first investigator entered the waters of baptism and chose to covenant to take upon Jesus Christ's name and follow Him. Brother Sai is his name and that man will forever remain in my heart. He moved to the United States from Ghana in the middle of January of this year!! But surely is that not where his story begins. He was a professional soccer player in Ghana then he was the security guard for the president of Ghana! He held that position for a number of years and that profession hindered him from pursuing any religion however he was taught by his mother when he was young to always have faith in God.  He was fascinated by the LDS temple in Ghana and wanted to know more.  Later he got in contact with an LDS call center in Salt Lake and for a long while he was taught about our church for hours and hours via phone calls.  His testimony began long before he arrived in Georgia.  Fast forward, the government finally lets their prized security guard move to the US and he moves in with his wife, who lives next door to the Black family (a member family in our ward).  Fast forward the story some more and after several lessons at the Black's home, Bro. Sai is so anxious to get baptized.  Brother Sai is a man of God in everyway. In Alma 13 it talks about how angels are declaring the gospel to many people and are preparing their hearts to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I can testify to you that angels are doing exactly that and when we meet those ready and prepared, it's like they finally found what they have been searching for.  I do believe that there is a peace we all long for as children of God that only our Father can fulfill.  That peace and happiness that Bro. Sai longed for was found. He glowed that day! He kept repeating "I’m so happy, so so happy" and we were all so happy to be apart of it all :)

Another "this is real" experience shook me some more. We open up this screen door to knock on the door and a huge wave of cigarette smoke hit me like a brick wall! The door wasn’t even opened yet and I was coughing up the ying yang.  This man answers the door, lets us in and we sit on his couch. We start talking about our purpose and bear a short testimony and then he mutters "there is more power between you two on that couch of mine that in an atomic bomb.  Y'all have actually touched my heart and I thought it had gone away." That so-called atomic power he claimed he felt surely wasn’t us, it was the Spirit of God! In John it says "for without me, ye can do nothing." The Spirit is the most powerfully thing that the world can feel. That power pierced that heart of this man and I am so excited to watch the miracles unfold in his and his family’s life. 

Those are only two but I can assure you that I have those "is this for real?" experiences a bazillion times a day.  This is real life! I'm really am a missionary, set apart to do this! Given power on high to do this! This is the real gospel of Jesus Christ! This really is God's fully restored church today! And my love for my Savior and His work and God's children here in Lost Mountain is real!

Something’s to LAWL about...My ward mission leader whom I love so much now feels a need to catch me up on Duck Dynasty too! haha so poodles are the new hunting dogs now? This week’s southern language phrase was on the phone with the man and he kept repeating, " it's been a slice of heaven talkin to ya, just a slice of heaven!" Like I said, no one can pronounce Miyahara and these are the places I've been asked if I'm from (not kidding one bit!): Samoa, Philippines, Peru, Mexico, Native American, Fiji, Hawaii, Tailand, and Marshalise hahahah it's hysterical!

THANK YOU for my super cute glasses! I got them and have been wearing them errday. Love them! Thank you! Also, mom, I was thinking about you all weekend! I hope all went fantastically for road show! You're so great mom. I brag about you, always.  I bore my testimony this past Sunday and got a tad teary when I talked about you and Dad. Will you send me a wallet size picture of our family? Everyone is so interested to see what my parents look like haha

I love you. 

Your southern (now chubby) belle,

Sister Miyahara :)

This is Adesowa (Bro. Sai's step daughter) and she is a DOLL!!! She told me she "looked like a barbie and we had to take a barbie picture." She was recently baptized too and is just the cutest!
This day will be forever in my memory! Brother Sai has changed my life! 

The Blacks are the member family who have been with the Sai family through it all.  We had all our lessons at there house and I look up and admire them more than words can describe.  Brother and Sister Black will forever be examples to me! It was such a perfect day!

Holy Hannah, the Lord is hastening the work! 2/25/13

** Sorry everyone, this is the letter from last week** I had a VERY busy week and just couldn't get this one out, so I'll be posting two letters from Avery today (last weeks and this weeks)

February 25, 2013

FIFTY EIGHT new missions around the world, say whaaaat?! insane, I tell ya! The Georgia Macon mission is being created which means it will take half our mission so only time will tell what will happen with all of us! And the Irvine California Mission?!? I could cry! This is so freaking awesome!! The church is true and is spreading and I couldn’t be more excited and humbled to be apart of it all!

Like I said, the Lord is hastening His work.  This week was ridiculous! We ran around like crazy women all day long squeezing in as many lessons as we could and we even had to cancel our dinner appt one night because we just had so many people to see! I love this excitement and fast pass schedule so much! It is so cool that all these people are so prepared to hear of the fullness of God's church here on earth! In 2 Nephi, Nephi goes on to list some of the things that delight his souls and I just loved how everything that delighteth his soul back then is delighting my soul now! He says his soul delighteth in proving unto the people the truthfulness of Jesus Christ, his soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord, his soul delighteth in God's grace, justice, power, mercy, and His great and eternal plan of happiness and that is exactly why my soul is so happy every day! It's because there is a God and He sent His son and we are to follow Him so we can one day return to Him! It's so simple!..and plain...Nephi delighteth in plainness too! haha however, there is one thing Nephi said his soul did delight in that I can’t quite say mine does...Nephi loved the words of Isaiah and that book still ain’t clickin! Maybe one day! I'll keep ya posted if I ever come delight in Isaiah’s words!

On Sunday I sat next to my investigating family.  I have such love for this family! We sang "families can be together forever" or the closing song in sacrament meeting and in the corner of my eye I see Gail (the mother) wrap her arms around her two kids to her right and left and sing those sweet lyrics with the biggest smile on her face.  Tears swelled up in my eyes as I was reminded what the purpose of my service here in Atlanta is all about.  Like we've heard, I am leaving my family for a short time to bring other families together forever.  God's plan is for us to be together forever and I am so very thankful for the powerful blessing it is be apart of that eternal family (thanks mom and dad for taking it to the temple) and one day go to the temple with my future eternal companion and give my future family what you (mom and dad) gave me...a forever family.  It is what this life is all about and is what the next life will be all about, too!! How beautiful is that?

A funny southern phrase I heard of this week was the use of "booger" (yes, like that scum in your nose) that means a grumpy man or a scary place.  This older lady called this man a booger and I kinda giggled at the silliness of it until they explained.  Also some more fantastic stuff about my life is that my ward mission leader, Brother Douglass (who is the coolest, funniest man ever!) gives my Bachelor updates every Tuesday without me even asking. He is hysterical and does SO much for the ward regarding missionary efforts. Southern hospitality is real and I love it! Every home we leave, the dad/head of the household always without fail, waits at the doors until we get in our car and drive off.  It's just so nice!

Also, SISTER KENDALL TAYLOR BLAKE reports to the MTC this Wednesday!!!! AH!!! If you read this, I love you and have been praying for you all day! I am so excited for you and the rest of my sistas to experience this! You are gonna love the MTC! I wrote you a letter but I need your MTC address so mail it to me asap! Kenny, I love you and I'm so excited we get to experience our missions together, although we will be across the globe, you are with me always! I love you and get ready for the greatest thing that will ever happen to you!
Times up! I love you all! I hope you all have the happiest of weeks! 
Sister Miyahara

There are "speed humps" everywhere and its actually so annoying haha but I've gotten used to bumping up and down all the days long!
our investigator and her family gave us these flowers and insisted on taking a picture because we looked "too darn cute" I just love being a sister missionary so much!
 (make this picture bigger, it really is just too cute ahaha i love it!

 the most incredible sister in our ward! Her family all converted and no she is serving a mission! She gave her farewell talk this past week and I felt such love for her cause my farewell seems like just a day ago! she will be awesome

man oh man do i love this lady and this sweet boy.  Julie is a wild one! Time with her couldnt be more exciting.  She is native american and has the most insane stories and theory and hahah ya wow I cant even put into words this wonderful lady.
and this is her "son" and boy is he a crazy one! he loves females and the camera