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Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017 - The Cabin Crew

This week has been a good one, but Elder Allsop got shipped down to Yakima. It'll be sad working without him, but this next transfer in this area is going to be amazing!

Everyone that we're working with seems to be doing well. Working
with the Hispanic guys has been super fun. We call them the Cabin Crew. There are 20 of them living in a single cabin in the middle of a cherry orchard. We had the chance to teach them another lesson this last week and it was super cool. We all read in the Book of Mormon together and there was like 6 or 7 guys that joined in. Not all of them are super interested but it's been super fun to teach them. Its kinda weird teaching in Spanish again but I feel like my Spanish hasn't changed much. If anything I feel like it's gotten a little better. There are two that are the most interested. One is named Antonio and the other is Carlos. They were the two friends of Jose that came last week.

Antonio especially is really cool. He dislocated his shoulder this weekend while working in the cherry fields and had the weekend off to rest so he was able to come to church. Everyone else had to work on Sunday so they couldn't come. Jose told Elder Allsop and me that he absolutely loves coming to church. He says it feels amazing to be at church and that being at church and having us come visit him brings him so much peace, and he told us that he'll come to church as long as we have someone come pick him up. So I'm pretty stoked for his potential. My vision for him is to have him get baptized up here and then return to Mexico and help his family get baptized as well. 

Trinidy is doing super well. She is reading and praying every day and this week she is going to girl’s camp. I'm super stoked that she gets to go. It's going to be an awesome chance for her to be away from any bad influences from her mom or dad and she'll get to really feel the spirit. She is an awesome girl, and I really hope that she can stay strong in the adversities that she faces on a daily basis. The coolest thing is she continues to read, pray, and go to church, and these three simple things are what allow us to have strength when facing any challenge. 

Angi isn't doing super well. She hasn't been to church in several weeks and we're a little worried about her. She seems okay when we go over but she doesn't read at all. Please continue to pray for her! She needs it!

Also! We taught Jeff and Amanda again! I don't know if you remember them but we were teaching them when I first got here. Well around Memorial Day they stopped responding to our calls and texts and we lost contact with them. Well this week we stopped by and had a quick chat with them and then had an awesome lesson last night. They're doing well, but almost too well. They stopped reading and praying and feel like their lives haven't changed much at all. So we had a good lesson on how that it's especially important to read and pray when life is good, so then when life gets hard we have those good habits formed, and we can withstand the struggles that come.

That's about it for the week. If I've learned anything this week it's how important the Primary answers are! Never stop reading, praying, or going to church!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017 - Finally Got to Teach in Spanish!!!

So the highlight of the week was we found someone to teach in Spanish! The entire time I have been in this area I have been praying for a chance to teach someone in Spanish, and just as I was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen our Ward Mission Leader gave us a referral. 

He met Jose a little over a week ago and talked with him about the church. Apparently Jose had gone to church several times in Mexico and enjoyed learning from the Elders down there and now he is here in Okanogan working in the orchards. When he met Josh (our Ward Mission Leader) he was excited to reconnect with the church. We called Jose on the phone last Tuesday night and set up a lesson for Wednesday and then spent an hour looking for him Wednesday night. Jose didn't know his address and so we just kinda guessed where his house was and went for it. After a little while we found it and had a nice lesson with him. We also went back on Saturday. On Saturday Jose asked our Josh if he would be able to pick him and a friend up for church the next day. And when he showed up to church he had brought two friends with him! And now all 3 of them want to learn!! 

This experience was super neat. It helped me to realize that God answer's prayers but in his own timing. It doesn't always come when we want it, but it does come. 

We had another visit with Trinidy this week. Which was really good, but she's having a hard time. I guess both her parents are extremely awful to her, so she has to pick which one she hates less, and that's the one she lives with. It was super sad to hear about her struggles so if you could all keep her in your prayers it would help her immensely. She needs the Gospel desperately in her life and if she can figure out how to apply the Atonement it would be so good for her. 

Angi is doing well. She's been hard to meet with but is doing well. We've been trying to work with Tasha but it's been super hard because she spent all week at her dad's house. But we saw them last night for a brief moment and talked with Tasha and Lydia about being at Angi's for the week. Pray that they stay with Angi all week so we can work with them and help Tasha get to baptism. 

For the 4th, Elder Allsop and I spent it in Yakima at the mission home. It was super fun and is always an awesome learning experience. I think my favorite part about MLC's are that the entire time we are discussing the focus on the missionaries in the mission. It's a "How can we help the entire mission?" attitude, which I absolutely love. As with every MLC Elder Allsop and I have a 5 hour trip back to Omak, which is not too bad, and this time it was even better. As we neared our apartment, at about 10:15, all of Omak was lit up in fireworks. There were so many fireworks going off as we pulled into town. It was super cool. 

There were a couple really neat experiences this week that really touched me, and both of them happened last night. So every Sunday we go over the Bauer's, who are the fellowship family for Trinidy, to have a lesson with them and Trin. Trin calls them her mom and dad, and her brothers and sisters. This family literally has created a safe haven for Trin from the awfulness she faces on a daily basis. Being at the Bauer's is always a spiritual and special experience but last night there was a brief moment that really touched me. 

We were waiting for Trinidy to come into the living room and I looked to my left and I saw the Bauer's 7 year old son praying personally over a small bowl of noodles that he was having for a snack. When I saw this, the thought came to my mind "This is how you make sure your kids can withstand the temptations that they will face." Because of this experience I want to make sure my kids understand prayer at a very early age, that it is more than saying a few words to God, but rather that it is building a personal relationship with him. I don't know if I ever prayed personally over my food until I was in High School, and seeing this young boy already beginning to understand why we pray really touched me.

The second experience was later that evening while talking to an elderly gentleman. This man poured out his soul to us and explained how when he was a child his father used to beat him mercilessly and that he had "angels pull him out of his body, and he was held by God until his unconscious body woke up." It always amazes me how people seem to trust a couple 20 year olds with their most painful memories, but this experience helped me to understand a little more about the special spirit of the calling we hold as missionaries. 

Love you all!!

Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3, 2017 – Zone Conference

This week was a good week but not very eventful. We kept well busy but nothing too crazy happened. This week we did have zone conference which ended up taking all day Wednesday. It was planned to only take
part of a day but it ended up going two hours over. It was a really good zone conference though. We focused on all the different ways we can find people to teach. Elder Allsop and I got asked to give a training on tracting, which was super fun. We talked about how to make tracting effective in finding new people to teach. Then we did some practicing with the five zones that were there. 

Angi and her family are doing well. Lydia turned 11 this week and the ward missionaries bought her a cake so we took it to her on Thursday and she stuck her face in it. We're working with Angi right now to help her get to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, which would be super good for her. It would help her solidify her testimony and give her continued motivation to stay on the right path. We're still trying to work with her oldest daughter Tasha, which has turned out to be harder than we thought. She’s your average teenage girl who isn't super interested in much, so pray for her and we'll see what happens. 

We had the chance yesterday to teach Trinidy again. She is doing really well. We are still trying to make plans to help her fix her garage, but most important is that her mom is starting to get on board a little. Her mom was at the lesson last night and Trinidy was answering all of the questions and was showing her mom just how much she knew, which was awesome! Her mom still wants her to wait a year because she feels like Trin needs to know more before she gets baptized, but man Trinidy has learned a ton and now her mom is able to recognize it, so that was super cool. 
Other than that there aren't a whole lot of updates from this week. Happy 4th of July tomorrow!!! Elder Allsop and I will be down in Yakima for MLC. Hopefully we'll have a good barbecue for lunch!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017 – Angi, Lydia, and Ryley got baptized!!

This week was quite the week! We had a lot going on, but
Top: Elder Allsop, Me, Tasha, Angi, Josh Lyles (Ward Mission Leader)
Bottom: Lydia and Ryley​
the busyness was totally worth it. The biggest part was making sure Angi and her kids were ready and had been taught everything in preparation for their baptisms. We had taught most things but they were missing just a little. It was super fun working with them this week but Angi was still super nervous about going into the water. So one of the lessons had a huge emphasis on the Priesthood and the power of Priesthood blessings. She was excited to learn about that and little Lydia was blown away that we had the Priesthood. 

Another exciting event from this week was that President Lewis came up for interviews on Tuesday and asked to meet Angi and her family after he had finished interviewing all of the missionaries. It was super awesome. He just talked with her and her family a little about the journey they had made to get to this point and about how excited (and nervous) they were. There's a picture on the mission blog of Elder Allsop and I with Angi and her kids after that little meeting. You'll have to try and track in down. 

This is Sister Mills, Tasha (black beanie on), Lydia,
Angi, and Ryley. Sister Mills was a huge fellowshipper
for them. She's taught just about all of Angi's kids.
Of course the biggest update from this week though was the baptism! It was soooo cool! Angi was terrified of the water but we gave her a blessing beforehand and she told us that she felt "a warm fuzzy feeling" come over her and that she felt like it was all going to be okay. When it was time for her baptism she beat the member into the font and had a HUGE smile on her face, and there was absolutely no trace of fear in her. It was so neat! I got to baptize Lydia, which was awesome, and Elder Allsop baptized Ryley. All around it was a neat experience and I am super happy for them. They are going to make great members. Now we want to work with Angi's oldest daughter, Tasha, to help her get baptized. We're hoping by mid-July she'll be ready.

I'm gonna try and attach a little voice note thing that will allow me to explain it more in depth and you'll be able to hear my voice. So look to that for the details. I hope the voice recording makes sense. It honestly was such a cool experience!!!!

One thing I forgot to mention in my voice note was about the Spirit. Angi asked that I give her the blessing before her baptism and it was probably one of the most humbling and powerful experiences ever. I felt completely and 100% guided by the spirit during the blessing. Not a single word I said was my own thoughts and it felt like the Lord was working through me to talk with Angi. It was so neat! This helped me a ton to strengthen my testimony about the Holy Ghost and his role in our lives. 

Everyone else we're working with is doing well. Trinidy is doing good but she didn't come to church on Sunday. Our member told us that she said she was out of town. The garage project is about to be started but we're waiting on just a few members who can help us really get it going. 

Almost ran over a turtle this week.

I honestly think that's it for the week. Making a voice note makes everything much simpler.

Oh and thanks for all your prayers on behalf of Angi. I'm certain they helped her out a lot. Love you all! The church is true!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017

So as usual this week was super good. We had MLC again on
A picture at MLC. It's Me, Elder Allsop, Hna Andrews,
Hna Fano, Hna Stocking, and Hna Torrez. All of us were
in the MTC together. The sisters all go home
at the end of this transfer. 
Tuesday down in Yakima and we talked about how to implement more of what Elder Anderson talked to us about. It was an awesome meeting, but took up all of Tuesday. We didn't get back to Omak until late Tuesday night, but it was totally worth it. 

This week we've spent a lot of time working with Angie and her kids Lydia and Ryley. They are doing super well. Last night they had their baptismal interviews and it all went really smoothly, though Ryley was a little crazy. He has some autism and ADHD and some other stuff so it was really difficult to keep him focused. He spent like the first 45 minutes at the church at full speed and then totally crashed at the end of the interviews. 

Elder Allsop and I made the cake you sent
us to celebrate our 20th B-Days. He turned 
20 on the 15th

As part of the interview we took Angie down into the baptismal font and filled it up about 6 inches with water so she could walk into it. It took her a while but she slowly moved down into the font and stood in it for a while. She made the trip several times and each time she did better and better. Eventually she was able to sit down on one of the steps and let her hands and feet be in the water. She also at one point put a little bit of water on her face, which was extremely tough for her, but she made it. It was really neat. The entire time she was whispering a prayer that she would be okay.
The drain plug in the font wasn't working correctly
for Patrick's baptism, it was leaking slightly,
so I went in and did my best to fix it.
I got a little wet though.

If you could all please remember her in your prayers this week as she prepares to be baptized this weekend that would be extremely helpful. I don't know if I ever told you but her struggle is that her brother drowned in a river up here in Okanogan and ever since then she has been terrified of the water. So please pray for her so she can make her first covenant with God. She wants it so bad and your prayers will help a ton. 

At Coulee Dam.  We went a few weeks ago.
Other neat highlights of the week - We have been working with a girl named Trinidy for a couple months now and for the first time her mom came to church yesterday!!! It was so cool! Her mom at first was really distant from us, but as we have had more contact with Trinidy we have slowly grown a really cool relationship with her mom. This week her mom offered to let us help her fix up their garage. It was pretty beat up and missing some basic things, like a wall and a door. So we got the Bishop over to their house on Saturday and we took a look at it and the Bishop took some measurements, and then yesterday at church he set up a cool service project with the ward to make sure it got done. This service will be huge for Trinidy and her mom. Trinidy's mom initially didn't want to let Trin get baptized until she had been going to church for a year, but she has seen Trin changing a ton, and this service and her coming to church may just be enough to allow Trinidy to get baptized much sooner!!

The other elders in the ward had a baptism this week as well. He is
the husband of a long time member and just about a month or two ago he told us at dinner that he wanted to start coming to church, and now he's been baptized. This week I had the chance to interview Patrick for his baptism and it was an extremely spiritual experience. He explained to me how he initially didn't like organized religion and had had some bad experiences, but had just recently recognized the power that is in the true church of Christ. He had had some struggles in his life but when I asked him what differences he had seen he told me "It's hard to explain, everything is just better." It was super cool! My favorite part of the interview though was when I asked him if he felt like he was ready to be baptized, and remain true to his covenant for the rest of his life, he said "Yes. I will stick with it until the day I die. I used to question myself out of everything, even the simplest of things, but this I will not question. I know it's true, I know the doctrine is true, and I will always be a part of this church." It was so cool!!! It hit me so hard when he said that and I felt the spirit so strongly. I was extremely impressed by his faith and example. 

Coulee Dam is the largest man made dam in
the world...I think. It's up there. The thing is
absolutely massive
I think that's it for the week! Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 12, 2017 - What a week!

This week was definitely a highlight from the mission. We've been teaching a lot of awesome people and finding a ton of people, and then to cap it all off we had an amazing mission conference in Kennewick with Elder Neil L. Andersen and President Donald L. Hallstrom. The conference was so good! It was so full of the spirit and was so powerful. There is definitely a special presence around those men. 

President Hallstrom talked a lot about being humble and willing to change. He also talked a lot about how when we go to meetings, we go to be edified, and that the only way to be edified is to feel the spirit, and that the only way to feel the spirit is to have faith, and faith is action. So when we go to meetings we must be willing to act on any impressions that we receive or else we will not get as much out of it. 

Elder Andersen talked a lot about different ways to find (investigators) and how we have to be doing everything we possibly can to find people to teach. That includes being as creative as possible. He talked a lot about focusing on the youth, the less actives, and the part member families in order to receive referrals. It kinda humbled me listening to this because I've never been very good at asking for referrals, but Elder Allsop and I have already made goals to ask for as many referrals as possible, and we have already seen a couple successes. 

Elder Andersen also spoke a lot about how important our time in the mission is. He talked a lot about this is the time to have our own personal conversion. He mentioned that while on a mission we need to develop our testimonies in such a way that we will never be able to imagine leaving the Savior. Then he gave us some ideas on how to do that. He said to pick 10 scriptures from the New Testament and 10 from the Book of Mormon that we know to be true without a doubt, and then memorize them. He said that once those scriptures are part of us they will become part of our heart and part of our bones, and they will come to us in the times of trail that we will face. 

Also, at the conference I ran into some old faces. Colin Van Wagoner is currently serving in the Kennewick mission as well as an old classmate from Lehi, Jaxon Tollman. It was fun to see the both of them again, and they seem to be doing well.

As far as investigators go everyone seems to be doing really well. Angie, Lydia, and Ryley are all doing well. We met Angie's other daughter this week, a 15 yr old by the name of Tasha. They are still doing super well. We had to push Angie's date back a week because she smoked on Monday (they need at least 2 weeks clean), but she has been clean ever since. Angie's been through a lot this week, but she has made some amazing progress. On Tuesday night we got a text from Angie saying her oldest daughter Tasha had disappeared and she was in a panic. We called her and said a prayer with her over the phone to help her rely on the Savior. 

After we hung up, Elder Allsop and I were super nervous that she was going to smoke in order to calm her nerves. We went to bed and the next morning we had a text that said that Tasha was alright and that it was a miscommunication between Angie and her ex-husband. Apparently Tasha had gone on a field trip and the bus had broken down, so naturally the ex-husband told Angie she's missing even though he knew Tasha was on a field trip (kinda messed up). So we went over to Angie's house that afternoon thinking she had smoked a bunch to deal with her panic, but instead she had read like 30 chapters in the Book of Mormon!!! She didn't smoke a single cigarette even though it was probably one of the most stressful moments of her life. She relied on the Lord instead, and because of that her testimony of the Book of Mormon grew so much! It was really, really neat to see. 

Evva, Trinidy, and Jeff and Amanda are all still doing well. Jeff and Amanda have been super hard to be in contact with them these past couple of weeks.

That's all I really have time for! Love you all! 
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

June 5, 2017 - Transfer Week

It's been a great week! This weekend we got our transfer calls and Elder Allsop and I get another transfer together here in Omak! We have been super blessed with so many people to teach and it looks like the Lord wants us to continue to work with these people. I am super pumped for these next 6 weeks! So many good things are happening! Probably the coolest thing is that this Saturday we get to go to Kennewick for a joint mission conference. It will be our mission and the Kennewick mission and we get a chance to hear from Elder Neal A Andersen and Elder Donald L Hallstrom!! It's going to be so amazing! 

This week we got to spend a lot more time working with Angie. She's doing super well. She quit smoking and is really excited for baptism. Yesterday at church we had her and her kids, Lydia and Riley, walk down into the baptismal font. The goal was to help her feel more comfortable about having to be submerged in water, which she is terrified of. At first she panicked. She stood at the glass and breathed for a while, and then once she was comfortable there she walked around through the bathroom and came into the baptismal font area. Again she nearly had a panic attack, but with the help of her kids she slowly moved down into the font. She was super anxious but her daughter Lydia said "Its okay mom, just rely on Jesus." After that she totally was able to walk down into the font and stand there. Angie told us that she was about to give up, but her daughter saying that totally helped her to realize she could do it if she relied on Jesus Christ. So, small miracle. Keep praying for her as she prepares for June 17th!

Evva is doing well still. She still hasn't talked to her boyfriend about how she wants to get baptized, so we're still working on that one. She has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon though and is really enjoying it.

Also, Trinidy is still doing well. She's also been reading and praying everyday and came to church as well. She has really enjoyed what she's been feeling. She suffers a lot from anxiety and she told us yesterday that whenever she gets anxious she reads in the Book of Mormon and that it comforts her. Sadly, her mom wants her to wait a year before she gets baptized, so we're still working on that. 

I'm really looking forward to this upcoming week!
Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission