Wednesday, April 17, 2013

21 pieces of advice about missions from an amateur missionary

21 pieces of advice about missions from an amateur missionary:

1.     The church and the gospel is so perfectly true in every little itty aspect of it.  There is nothing remotely inaccurate about the teachings and doctrines of our church.  This is in fact, the fullness of God’s church restored on the earth today!  There just is no question about it!
2.     You will feel a happiness that you could never imagine.  You will also be discouraged and intimidated and exhausted!!!  Thank the heavens we know that God breaks us down so he can lift us higher!  I’m gonna add a stress to the “er”in the highER.   You will be edified and strengthened and made bettER through the hard times.
3.     Missionary work takes courage.  It sure isn’t easy.  You’ll be stretched and tried.  Be brave.  You’re on the Lords team and we will never fail.  Never forget that, the Lord will never fail.
4.     Love your companions.  Serve them!  Pray daily for them and try your hardest every day to the best companion.  Leave an impression on those you serve with that they will tell their grandchildren about you!
5.     Obedience and the phrase “exact obedience” will first be your biggest enemy! And then will become your most favorite BFF.  We can’t do this work without the blessings that living exactly obedient brings.  LIVE IT AND LOVE IT!
6.     When you think your too tired to go on a second more without collapsing right there, laugh and just tell yourself “it will only get worse”.  You will never ever be fully rested and if you aren’t tired every day, you are doing something wrong.
7.     LOVE EVERYONE!  Express that love!  Your heart will grow a million new chambers every day.  I’m serious its all about the love out here!!
8.     The white handbook doesn’t say anything about dancing J
9.     You’ll come to realize how incredible the scriptures are.  I can say that I am 100% addicted to the scriptures.  Don’t just read them, fall in love with them!  They are the jackpot of all the answers and needs you’ll ever have, I mean it! The Book of Mormon is entirely perfect.  End of story!
10. Be fun, be cute, be YOU!  Quoting the dorky mom from “Just Friends” Be yourself….Be yourself J  Wear clothes that show people who you are, smile all day long!  Never ever stop smiling – J.k. stop occasionally or else that’s just creepy.  People like happy people!  People need the gospel.  Be happy J.
11. Face it, weight will be gained.  Embrace the love!
12. Make a special effort to build a relationship with your mission president, bishop, ward mission leader and all their wives.  You will learn wisdom that will affect your entire life.
13. Learn to love the hymns.  Sing with enthusiasm, even if you are terrible.  Sing praises anyways! There is a special spirit that comes when we sing.  A few of my personal favs out here have been;  “I need thee every hour”, “How great thou art”, “Nearer my God to thee”, “Brightly beems”, “I’ll go where you want me to go”,  and “Praise to the man”  these are my daily anthems!!
14. Pray.  All day.  Every day.  I am serious, like you’ll pray hours and hours and maybe only 1% will be on your behalf.  The coolest!
15. Don’t even think about neglecting your personal hygiene.  Just don’t!  Wash yourself before you wreck yourself!
16. Hydration.  Hydration.  Hydration,  and take multivitamins too!!
17. You can never have too many post it notes, fun pens, stamps and mints.
18. There is a huge importance with the skill, yes, skill (this doesn’t come naturally) to being punctual.  The culture of our church tends to be, show up 10-15 minutes late, no worries!  Remember you rarely are with people with that culture – wear a watch.  Be on time!!!
19. Use the 30 minutes in the morning to work out.  Actually work out!! 30 minutes wont be enough for the inevitable weight but it may help… a little?!?  I hope so!
20. Be honest.  There is literally no point, ever to be dishonest!
21. Have fun!  The mission is a BLAST!! Make every day enjoyable.  It’s supposed to be enjoyable!  If it’s not, something is very wrong and you got to fix it very fast because – sad day when you’re not having fun!!  You were called to do this!  You are 100% capable to be like Alma and Amulek!  Don’t ever ever ever let Satan take power over your self worth!! You were destined in the heavens to serve your mission for the Lord in your designated location.  You can and will become everything your Father sees in you!
This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and you will be His representative.  Be stoked! It’s the freaking bomb! 
p.s.  read and reread and reread “The Fourth Missionary” by Laurence Corbridge

With much love,
Sister Avery Miyahara

Pollen, Tornados, and B i g N e w s !

Everything is green. My clothes, our car, our bikes, our hair, our scriptures, MY LUNGS...are green. I was warned about the pollen allergy hole the south can be but holy crap dawg I had never imagined it to be like this! The air is this greenish yellowish haze that coats literally everything. It's insanity! I've been guzzling local honey to try and immune my poor body but fear not, I'm embracing it! Loving it really! When am I ever going to be frolicking in a pollen cloud? (I hope never, ha!) oh! and come pollen, come hornets! I'm pretty sure hornets are agents of the devil and are working with Lucifer himself to try to stop this work going forth. I can’t tell you how many doorstep lessons we were tracting and in the middle of preaching and testifying I'm making the most terrified face and dancing all around to avoid such a demonic insect!

Georgia has the most bizarre weather. It doesn’t change by the day but by the hour. It's beautiful and sunny and breezing then swoosh comes the clouds and it down pours! So we are out knocking doors and spreading the glorious good word of the Lord and then all the sudden this TERRIBLE eerie sounds is alarming. I felt like Katniss in the Hunger Games. I was freaking out, clueless to what that retched noise was, sure the clouds were thick and stormy but I had never heard of such a noise... it was a tornado warning!!!!!! I kid you not. "Y'all gotta find shelter, NOW" this man kept telling us. I was just laughing and trying to take a video! The rain came down in literal buckets, like there were no drops, you know just a sheet of water falling from the sky! Waterfalls fell from the heavens all night long. And then I woke up...and it was the most gloriously beautiful day there ever was.

And that in fact aligns perfectly with something I learned this week. The gnarliest of storms, unfortunately rage right before something spectacular is going to happen. It's the sobering truth that satan works his absolute hardest right before a miracle is going to happen. Satan doesn’t want us to attain the blessings and joys that are at our fingertips; so he is going to do everything in his power (measley to God, but powerful to us) to snatch those blessings and joy away. We must endure those storms or trials with absolute faith that there is pure goodness at our fingertips. Beautiful blessings await those who can withstand the storm and like what Helaman 5:12 is talking about! Yay for scripture mastery!

I've learned a deeper appreciation for the phrase "pick your battles." The reality is, we will lose to satan in life's battles here and there, but I can promise you that surely, God will win the war!  We signed up for this fight to follow God and come to earth to receive a body. We knew this fight would have eternal significance and we signed up for it, with confidence in our God! Elder Holland says this life is "a good fight, a winning fight, but a fight nonetheless. So, we must fight. Fight for righteousness! God's army will never loose. In the hymn God Speed the Right, I loved the line (I might butcher this)..."Like the great and good in story, if we fail we fail with glory." In God's work, we will never fail. Be on the winning team. Fight through those storms with an eye single to the glory of God!  All miracles are predicated on faith and obedience. Period.

So for the BIG/humbling/intimidating news: The first day I got out to the mission field I was told that out here in the Lost Mountain ward, everyone was talking about this huge incredible Relief Society conference the Atlanta area is having in May where the church's General Relief Society President is coming to speak! The topic has been hot hot hot at church and at activities and I've been praying I won’t be transferred next week at transfer so I can hear her speak.

Well, at this past weekend's stake conference, I'm humbled to share that I was asked to speak at the conference alongside Sister Burton (General RS President) and Sister Poosey (Georgia Atlanta Temple Matron). I'm shaking a little in my boots just thinking about it. I about peed myself when I was asked! Luckily the feelings came out through my eyes! haha I shed a tear of "ME?!?!?! YOU WANT ME TO SPEAK?!?! NO FREAKING WAY." I was asked to speak on the topic "Blessing the one." So if you have any inspiration, please share! So I'm crossing my fingers this means I'll be staying in Lost Mountain next transfer :)

Love y'all muy mucho!
Sis Miyahara

P.s. #thesearemyconfession I still look at the clock at 12:17pm and think "lunch time!" Super uber dooper senior :/ Long live T.H.S!!! Once a Titan, forever a Titan!!!! Ha okay I'll stop now!

P.s.s. Read all the talks from General Conference and be changed like I was in April's 2012 General Conference. 

Sara, our lovely investigate from South Africa mad us a rad African dinner

aint no thang!

I love my bike

The Steele's - so happy to see them!

Lini Carnell and her sista friends! I love our land lady!

My companions poor heels. We work so hard everyday and love every second of it!

One of the most enlightenings days of my life! Ah! I love the temple to very much! I'm so very thankful that there is one so close to me!

We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet 4/8/2013

Ah! My internal soul is still giddy from this past weekend’s worldwide General Conference. Our unique message to the world is that there is indeed a living prophet here on the earth today, to lead and guide this generation so stricken with wickedness.  We are all God’s children and He loves all equally, right? Right! So of course He would bless us with a prophet, just as Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses of old! God’s prophet, His mouth piece on the earth today is Thomas S. Monson. I have come to know that he is the world’s prophet today in a very real sense. I’m grateful our loving Father in Heaven has sent forth a living prophet, 12 apostles and other ecclesiastical leaders to offer this world Godly counsel in our ever increasingly wicked world. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch all four sessions of general conference and listen to these apostolic witnesses of truthfulness, I advise you to read them or watch them and let their messages change you, as they did for me.
I’m gonna do my best to reiterate some of the killer points that pierced my heart! In my humble opinion, I felt as if the overarching theme of the conference was three distinct topics: the family, faith, and obedience.
The family
It was obvious to me that the leaders of our church put a particularly high stress on the family.  The family unit was established by God to strengthen one another and be a constant source of love. It’s heartbreaking to see the abominable mess the family unit has become. The brethren repeatedly spoke of the need for strongly founded individuals and families in Christ.  We were counseled to first, focus on the family. The spirit must dwell in the home. Without that Holy Spirit in the home, we are so easily susceptible to the adversary. So, how do we establish that Spirit in our homes? Easy answer! Keep the commandments. Our Savior Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love. The general primary president spoke so beautifully on the topic of children.  Children come into this world ready to learn! We can deprive them of the sacred truths they long to be reminded of.  Parents were counseled on disconnecting technology and connecting personally with their children.  As I listened to the many talks focused on family, I felt an overwhelming appreciation for mine. Thank you mama and paps for truly establishing a Christ-centered home. Not only did our family benefit from the spirit in our homes but all those who came over felt it. I know they did because many told me so! As a missionary visiting home after home each day, I have acquired the distinct sensitivity to the spirit in homes. I can walk through the doors and literally feel the presence or absence of the spirit.  The gospel can bring that spirit ever abundantly in our homes and in our families. We pray for that spirit to dwell in added measure at every home we visit. It’s miraculous to literally feel the spirit enter into a home as the family comes together in spiritual unity. So where so we start? Faith!
Elder Holland (an apostle) has a phenomenal address on faith and believing.  He dissected the story in Mark 9 of a father asking the Savior to heal his son.  The father cries out, “Lord I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.” I was studying this chapter earlier this week and seriously spent a long time picking apart this story and Elder Holland’s talk so perfectly solidified my understanding.  He spoke how in moments of desperation we must stand firmly on the faith we have already established. His point about how the size of our faith isn’t the issue, it’s the integrity we show of our faith. We can claim our faith loud and proud to everyone. We can wear jewelry with crosses and put scriptural stickers on our cars but how often do our actions prove our “faith”? The first step in everything we do is entirely faith.  May we all attain greater faith! And when life sends us some stormy days, may we never loose confidence in our Maker and continue in even greater faith.
Our prophet, Thomas S Monson solely spoke on obedience. Meaning that is a mondo big deal! He said that our biggest test here on earth is obedience. He also said that our personal and family happiness, joy, success, safety, prosperity, and eternal progressing all come down to whether or not we are obedient. Whabam! It doesn’t get more clear.  What great joy? Be more obedient! What a more cohesive family? Be more obedient! Sister Dalton spoke on the saying “where er thou art, act well thy part.”  Our part matters because we matter! And we may look different because we are different from the world! The world needs obedient Disciples of Christ. I’m not fearful of the future but I am worried for those I love around me who are fearful of the future. The world is a scary place and the only thing we can hold on to is our sure testimonies of Christ’s fully restored gospel on the earth today. I pray that our testimonies will never cease to stand protecting. We can be so darn happy and see so much light while our surrounding deem darkness! We can we the beacon of light set on a hill in Matt 5! We not only can be but we were born to be! I know I have a lot to improve upon. That was reaffirmed after I watched conference. But that is what this life is all about! We should never ever be satisfied with our degree of obedience we are living! We must always be striving for more! And I’m grateful for a Father who is always offering more.
The church is so true! There is a prophet! I freaking love being a missionary and sharing this gospel of great news to all I meet! May we all realign our lives a little more with His.
Peace and blessing yo,
Sister Miyahara
p.s. go onto and watch it! And read it! And rewatch it! And reread it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Unforgettable Easter Week(end)!!

My Easter week's top 10 (in no particular order)

1. Sister Nelson is my temporary SLC temple square companion and we are BFFs. It's sorta complicated but we are in like a foursome companionship with the other sister.  Sister Nelson and I decided that in order to more fully get the work pumping here in Lost Mountain we needed to divide and conquer and ride...BIKES! Yahooligans! Dream come true! We were granted permission from the President and off we were! Oh heck ya, we are the first sisters in the history of our mission to be on a bike! It is the best of times getting around on a bike! There are no sidewalks here so you can only imagine how much fun (!!!) we have.

2. I get to work in the family history center for a couple hours each week! Our stake center holds the largest genealogy facility in the southeast! I am absolutely CLUELESS and honestly kinda sorta uninterested currently; however, I think that will most def change as soon as I get really into it!

3. I'm taking piano lessons once a week on P-day...pray for me. 

4. We committed four more fabulous souls to baptism! Miracles, I tell ya! 

5. We got to teach 6:30 am seminary this past week on the atonement and it was incredible! I am so happy when I am talking about the gospel, no matter the time or place; it is always the best of times! 

6. I am studying more deeply the reoccurring story in the scriptures of the "change of heart" and I'm obsessed! Further elaboration to come but wowzers, what incredible stories we have to read from that can apply precisely to us in our own personal lives! 

7. In the mornings we do yoga and other workout funzies with our land lady we live with, Sister Carnell. She is the greatest! She told me last night she is gonna email president and ask him if I can serve my entire 18 months here in Lost Mountain. Miracles, right? JK only in my dreams! But hey, I'll make the most of it while I am here! 

8. Saturday March 30th is a day I'll never ever forget.  Four of my soul sisters entered the waters of baptism and it was pretty incredible. Gail's daughter is Tory and Venissa is Gail's neighbor (Gail referred her to us!) and her daughter is Tribeca. What a sight it was to watch these women follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized in His name. Venissa said, "When I was under the water for that split second, it was as if time stopped and I was in heaven." She came straightway out of the water with that huge Jamaican smile on and we were all so touched! The chapel was 2/3 packed with friends and family and it was such a day of miracles. What a way to celebrate the life and death of our Savior! My soul rejoiced, everyone's souls were rejoicing and I can say that I truly felt the presence of angels rejoicing over these lovely daughters of God and their decision to be baptized. One year from now, we will go to the temple together and this precious friendship I have with them will live on for the eternities!

9. We had the best Easter Sunday, ever! We taught 9 lessons in like 3 hours and hustled to spread the good news that He lives! Every part of me knows with surety that He absolutely lives! He lived a perfect life, and endured a painful death all for me, Why me? Because He loves me. And because of Him, we can one day return to the presence of our Father in Heaven! Without the atonement of Jesus Christ, none of us would be granted salvation. It's as simple as that! The Savior took upon the pains of the world so that we may one day live with our Father, our Maker, in His kingdom someday. I'm grateful that Christ's atonement is all encompassing. Sure, He died to take away the sins of the world. But truly, he died for everything unjust in this world: our insecurities, our sadness’s, our fears, our regrets, our sicknesses! Happy day when we understand that and take advantage of that! He already paid the price, don’t waste it! I love my Savior with my whole soul (Omni 1:26).

10. Julie McClain was my little Easter surprise miracle. Don’t quite know how she found me but she did! I came back to my home and there she was!!! In all her smiley glory, we had the most joyous reunion! We are the definition of two peas in a pod. My companions were like "okay you two are the same person." I'm grateful for Julie and her role in my life. How blessed I am to have a friend and an example like you!

To quickly wrap things up, I'm so very thankful for the blessings that are being literally poured out in front of me.  The only answer to why this is happening is because I'm trying my hardest out here. I've come to realize that we will always be blessed for doing righteous things no matter what! No act of kindness or choice of righteousness goes unnoticed.  Be so very good and I can promise you that as surely the Lord liveth, He always rewards the righteous. Don’t get me wrong, I have loads to work on but I'm motivated by my weaknesses because as soon as I humble myself and offer up those weaknesses to Him, then can He make them my strengths!

Honk if you love Jesus,
Sister Miyahara

p.s. GO Blakey boy for your eagle project! Those pictures looked awesome! So proud of you!! Lookin' goood too ;) Love you Blake!

p.s.s HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADELINE!!!! I hope you have the best birthday evs and that it is full with lots of love :) You're one of my greatest friends I'll ever have and I'm so thankful for the friendship we share! muah!! Love you so much mads.

My sweet Torey girl! She is one spunky sista of mine! We've been teaching her weekly since I got here and I have also been giving her gymnastic lessons for some of my service for the week! This precious child has forever left something so very special on my heart! 

These two angel babies are Trianna and Trinity and when they turn 8 years old (the year of accountability) they will follow the example of Jesus Christ, as well as their mama and big sister (Venissa and Tribeca) and be baptized in these waters! So much love! 

 Gail+ Torey+Venissa+Tribeca=my sisters in Zion forever and ever and ever! 

 Eternal friends 

This is my little lover, Hannah. She's the cutest, happiest, most obedient girl there ever was! 

The most pleasant park we found to eat our PB&J dinner after a TWO hour bike TREK to get to a former investigators home! Sweaty eddie to the max, lemme tell ya! It is all so totally worth it though 

It was an Easter miracle! Sister Julie McClain found me!!!!!! It was the most joyous reunion! We sat and chatted on my couch in my apartment and just soaked up the goodness of one another! I love this lady so much and seeing her was (as the say in the south) a slice of heaven! Thanks for making the trip out to find me! Muah! So much love! 

So ya btdubz we're on bikes now! We froze going the down street with zero bike lane and died laughing all the while! School buses were practially clipping our ankles but don't worry we made sure we were waving hi to the passing cars and flashing our distinguishing LDS missionary name tags. I can't even tell you how hard I was when my face is paralyzed in a scary "is she crying or laughing?" face because I was literally in complete hysterics! The mission is seriously so fun, everyday! 

The whole gang! The happiness levels on this day went through the roof. The stake center chapel was 2/3 packed full of loving friends and family that came to support these daughters of God! Incredible! The Spirit was so strong, it could have been bottled up and canned!