Sunday, January 31, 2016

NABUA - Week 1

NABUA - Week 1  

Bula Si'a!
Hey everyone! A TON has happened since I last emailed. I got transferred to another island! It's been a hectic week with all the traveling and adjusting to my new area. We're whitewashing an area called Nabua. ("whitewashing" is when 2 Elders get sent in, so neither have been to the area before) It's a very "bush" area, meaning it's basically in the middle of nowhere. It's a 2.5 hour bus ride from the nearest city. It's awesome, I don't know where to start!

I'll start with the traveling. So on transfer weeks we get the call from our Mission President on Tuesday to tell us whether or not we're transferred. So I got that call, and was WAY excited. Then The Zone Leader's picked me up on Thursday afternoon, and I stayed at their flat that night. Then early in the morning they took me to the airport! Hopped on and took a 45 minute flight to an island called Vanua Levu, the 2nd biggest island in Fiji. I got there and was welcomed by lots of the missionaries! Then I hopped on a 2 hour bus ride from the city Labasa in the Northern part of the island to Savusavu in the southern part. Then from there some Elders took us up to our area by truck, a way long ride straight into the jungle! 

Now for my area, Nabua (pronounced NAHM-BUA). We live in a little tiny house the church built for missionaries. It's about the size of my room back home. We have beds, a propane stovetop, solar panels charge the one light bulb and outlet we have, and a water tank behind our house is our source of water. Our house is right on the beach! It's BEAUTIFUL. 

Our house is actually in the village, which is really rare for missionaries because of the customs of Fiji. We're only able to because the chief of the village is a member of the church! The church just added on a bit to his house, and that's where the chapel is! Pretty much every village has it's own dialect of the Fijian language, and this dialect is CRAZY. I can't wait to learn it.

I'm so so excited to get working in this new area! It'll be really hard work, for sure. People are different out here in the bush, not as accepting of the gospel. They last baptism in the area was in August 2015. But I'll do my best!

Anyways, that's me. How about you? Are you still following up on your New Years resolutions? I'd like to share my ponderizing scripture this week, which is John 17:3. It says that to KNOW Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is Eternal Life. Do you know Heavenly Father? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, get working on it! Pray sincerely! Seek answers in the scriptures! Go to church! When you do, you'll get closer and closer to that ultimate goal, Eternal Life. 
I love you all! Until next week, keep on keepin' on!
Au lomani kemuni!

-Elder Jaxson Jeremy Miller 

Vanua Levu
Our backyard
The "Prayer Tree", a way sweet tree that goes out over the water right behind our house

Some village kids interrupted our studies 
Asena. Wants to get baptized but parents won't give permission. Asked me to take a picture of her. 
Our flat is on the left, the chief's house on the right, with the chapel built onto his house
Our flat, built by the church
Palm Tree forest
The plane to Vanua Levu. Fits about 50 passangers. 
The tiny airport
The Labasa airport
My welcome party
On the bus ride from the airport, as we pass through little villages the ladies come up trying to sell stuff
Little shop in Savusavu
A battle-axe things - in a store in Savusavu
Made a chair swing (before we left Lami)
Now a hammock

Sunday, January 24, 2016

LAMI - Week 15

Chuggin' Along 

Bula Vinaka!

It's once again P-Day here in the Fiji Suva Mission. Another week gone by, and yet it's still getting hotter. Haha. But things are going great! Not a super eventful week so this one will be pretty short (give you guys a break).

First a funny story. So one night as my companion and I were walking home we encountered this crab (see below). These things are weird. It likes like some kind of alien! Anyways, it didn't move at all for like 3 minutes. We just started talking about how funny it would be if some car just ran it over. Then I poked it with a stick and it started walking away. We watched as it started walking into the road. Now keep in mind it was getting pretty late, so there were rarely cars coming by. But then everything seemed to turn into slow motion. We watched as a car came flying by at the precise time that the crab was in the road. *CRACK* It sounded like when you crunch up a soda can. We BUSTED up laughing. That like happens in cartoons! 

Now a spiritual story. The Fiji Suva Temple is getting re-dedicated this February after being remodeled. The open house is going on right now. WAY awesome, there are so many people going through. Anyways, my companion and I were given an opportunity to take an investigator through with our Mission President, and let's just say he's a spiritual giant. We were SO stoked. So we took the hardest-hearted of our investigators. A dad who's family are all members except for him. His son has even served a mission. He agreed to go through the temple with us and his family. The spirit was SO strong. It is a beautiful temple. At one point our Mission President asked him and his family to stand between two mirrors and asked them what they saw. They were quiet. The dad said, "It goes on forever." Then our Mission President: "That's what this gospel can provide for your family." It was amazing. After the tour the dad told our Mission President he wants to be baptized. 

Ok, well that's about all I got for this week. I hope you all are doing well! How's your scripture reading? Prayers? Family Home Evening? The family is the CENTER of this gospel, so if you're struggling in some of these things, recommit. A strong, gospel-centered family can conquer anything that Satan has to throw. I am so very grateful for the blessing of a gospel-centered family. 

I love you all! Until next week, keep on keepin' on!

-Elder Jaxson Jeremy Miller
(Elder Miller did include a picture of the Crab "after"... his mother decided to NOT include it on his blog - Sorry Jaxson - Elder Miller)
(UPDATE - 5/9/16... due to popular demand... here is the "AFTER" photo)
{Note: you guys are crazy}

Sunday, January 17, 2016

LAMI - Week 14

Eye Opener Week

Bula Vinaka!

Once again an amazing week here in Lami, Fiji. But this is one that I'll never forget. This week opened my eyes at just how truly important this message that we carry.
I'll share 2 experiences I had this week that were amazing.

The first is with the Brown family. Haha, I know, an American last name. This family is the BEST. They live on the beach and literally just live off the land. Coconuts, fish, fruits, vegetables... Everything like that. This week we went to dinner with them. They just decided that they wanted to go all out for dinner to "give back to the missionaries that give so much". It was me, my companion, and 2 other elders. We got there and one of the elders (he's italian) started making pasta. So the rest of us just played games with the family's 8 kids. So fun. Then dinner. The pasta was WAY good. After dinner, they started a huge Bonfire for us. Then before we left we shared a little lesson with them. That's when it hit me. As the mother of the family was sharing her testimony to us, I just looked around. The mother was in tears, thanking us for what we've done for her family. I looked at all the kids faces as they thanked us for coming. I realized just how amazing this gospel is. Even though I didn't feel like we'd done that much, we were just doing our job, to them it changed their lives. 

Now, the baptism.

Do you remember me telling about the Golden Investigator last week? So last week we were referred to a man named Naibuka. We met him last Saturday, and let's just say he's the definition of a Golden Investigator. He'd already been to church every week for 2 months, we didn't know he wasn't a member! We taught him the Restoration that Saturday, and he accepted a baptismal date for a few weeks later. Then we saw him again on the following Tuesday, and he told us he had a problem. He was a fisherman, and he told us his boss would call at any time in the next 2 weeks for him to leave for 3 months on a fishing boat. So he asked if he could get baptized this week, because he felt it was what the Lord wanted him to do. We were surprised, but agreed and set his baptism for this last Saturday, only a week after we met him. We taught him every day, went through all the lessons, and MADE SURE he was ready for baptism. Then came Saturday. On the day of his baptism, 2 hours before the time we had planned to baptize him, he received the call from his boss to immediately report to the boat. Naibuka turned his boss down, telling him that he needed to be baptized. When he explained this to me he simply pointed at the baptismal program and said, "Because... This is important." I sat in awe of that man's faith in the Lord. He knew that baptism was the right thing for him, and that the Lord would bless him for his obedience. This was an amazing experience for me, and one that I will never forget. 

This week I also had the opportunity of giving my first talk in Sacrament in Fijian. It was so fun! Normally I'm way nervous and don't like to give talks, but I was so excited! Something I shared I think really applies to all of us and would like to challenge you all to it too.

You may have heard of it before, but it's called CPR. In the medical sense, obviously, it's something that can save your life if you're in trouble. It's the same thing in a spiritual sense. I'm not sure what it stands for in the medical sense, but in the spiritual sense it stands for:
It's amazingly simple, but that's all we have to do. THAT'S IT. Go to church, pray to your Heavenly Father, and read the scriptures. Do those 3 things, and EVERYTHING ELSE in the gospel will follow. 
As missionaries we are given the power to make promises on behalf of the Lord. So I promise to you all right now, that if you go to church, pray morning and night, and read for scriptures for 10 minutes every day this week, you will receive a blessing from the Lord that you've been in need of. Whether that's some physical blessing or just simply a boost to your testimony, I PROMISE the Lord will bless you. I encourage you to write me after a week and tell me about your experience.

My mission never ceases to amaze me. I never stop growing, never stop learning more about the Lord and His plan for us. I now my life will be forever changed because of this amazing place.

Thanks again for reading the novel that is my letter every week! I love you all, and keep on keepin' on!
Au lomani kemuni!

-Elder Jaxson Miller

Naibuka's baptism
Dinner with the Brown family
Fijian funeral. Funerals last 3 days here. This is the 3nd night, when everyone gathers to drink kava (against the word of wisdom)
More groups gathered to watch drummers
Look mom, I'm eating healthy-ish

Sunday, January 10, 2016

LAMI - Week 13

The Work’s a Movin’!

Bula Vinaka!

It's Monday again! (Well, Sunday for you guys back home) An amazing week here in Fiji! It went by way quick, once again. Tons of good ol' hard work, and wrestling them Gators! (Investigators) It was another SCORCHING hot week. The Fijian people always make fun of me cuz I'm sweating so much. It's literally so hot and humid that I can't like breath. Haha. But it was still a way good week! 

Remember how I told you that Fijians "wet" people for New Years? Yeah, literally that's all kids do all day. And by kids I mean little kids all the way to like 20. They sit by a bridge or river and just spray or dump water on every single person walking by. One time I was crossing this bridge, and a Fijian kid hopped out and went to pour water on me, but he saw I was a missionary so he stopped. He then asked me "Can I please wet you? For New Years!" I just laughed, and agreed. He got me SOAKING. Haha. Another fun thing Fijians do for new years is "qiriqiri". Basically the ones that aren't spraying people with water are banging on some kind of pot, barrel, or just anything that will make noise. It's actually cool, Fijians have way good rhythm. All night and all day as you're walking through the villages you hear people banging on stuff. 

It was a good week as far as our investigators are concerned! We found some really promising new investigators, and 2 people are close to baptism! It's way exciting as a missionary, bringing people to baptism. Literally that's all you do all day long, every day. Teach, teach, teach, in the hopes that they'll listen, and want to follow Jesus Christ's amazing gospel. 

This week we even got the rare "Golden Investigator". That's when someone you meet literally could be baptized that day. This guy's name is Naibuka. (Which in Fijian literally means 'the fire') He is the definition of a Golden Investigator. He's been going to church for about 2 months, I never knew he wasn't a member! One day our ward mission leader told us a man had decided to take lessons. We were stoked so we went to go see him. I was surprised to see Naibuka! We shared a lesson with him and at the end he bore his testimony to us of how he KNOWS that this is Christ's true church, and that he want's to be a member. He told us he thanked God that day for allowing us, the missionaries, to come to his house that day. Goodness gracious, we were so happy. 

That's about it for my week! How was yours? Are you following up on your New Years resolutions, both spiritual and normal? Put a reminder on your phone to read your scriptures! Look for times to share the gospel! Always seek to improve! I love you all so much. Thanks for reading my letter this week! Until next week, keep on keepin' on!
Au lomani kemuni!

-Elder Jaxson Jeremy Miller
BEFORE the service project
AFTER the service project
A sweet little pool in a village called Wailekutu (we didn't swim I promise)

My district
A bunch of Fijians drumming
The one in the green Dolphins shirt and the white powder in his hair was the conductor
A volleyball tournament that's been going on everyday for the past couple weeks

Sunday, January 3, 2016

LAMI - Week 12

Happy New Years!

Bula Vinaka!

Can't believe another week has gone by already! It was a good one. Long, hot, hard work, but good. Things are moving along well here in Lami! Fijians have a tradition on New Years that they “wet” people. SO basically the whole month of January they go around dumping and spraying water on everyone. Luckily I’ve avoided getting soaked so far (knock on wood).

Like I said, this week was HOT. Way hot. I thought I'd gotten used to the humidity but NOPE. Haha. It was burning hot all week, except for on Friday, when a Cyclone came by Fiji! That was crazy. It wasn't a huge one, but it was super windy and rainy. The power got knocked out for a while. I taught my companion how to play a song on the guitar while we were chilling in the candlelight. (I promise it wasn't romantic)

This week was also a really hard working week. We went from village to village all day every day trying to see people, but everyone's either "busy" or out of town for the holidays! It's been really frustrating, but that's ok. We'll just keep swinging at it!

I want to share a story. On the day that was probably the most frustrating and long, that's when something amazing happened. So on Wednesday, we had our whole day planned out, and even had backup plans. We got to our appointments in a village, and they ALL fell through. So our backup was a village nearby. Every single one of those fell through as well. Then we decided to head to a village that was about an hour and a half walk away. When we got there, our first 2 plans fell through. We started to get way discouraged and tired of just walking and walking. So we decided to take a break for a bit at a member's house. We walk up to the door and the husband gets way excited and tells us to hurry inside and give his wife a blessing. She was way sick. That was really cool. Then we headed out to another house. This one was really eye opening. 

We arrived at a long time Less-Active member's house. The lady we wanted to see wasn't home but her 30 something year old son was. We taught him a lesson, and as we were getting ready to head out, the lady walked in and sat down. We kinda stopped what we were saying and looked at her. She started crying almost instantly. She told us that once she saw our shoes on her front porch (it's custom to leave your shoes at the door) she had received an answer to her prayer. Her husband was in the hospital and was really sick and wanted to give him a blessing. So we called the Elders that worked in the area by the hospital and they went and gave him a blessing later that night. Then we gave her a blessing of comfort. The spirit was so strong. As we were leaving her house I realized that we wouldn't have been there to give either of those people blessings if our day had gone as planned. The Lord really is involved in everything as missionaries.

Anyways, Happy New Year everyone! Make this year the best one yet. I encourage you to make a Spiritual New Years Resolution as well as a normal one. Then work towards it! Always look to improve! Little by little. The Lord will reward you, and you will feel his love. I love you all so much! Until next week, keep on keepin' on!
Au lomani kemuni!

-Elder Jaxson Jeremy Miller

Playing guitar in the candlelight (a cyclone knocked out the power)
We went exploring and found this WAY nice private neighborhood