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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 26, 2016 - Jammed Packed Week

This week was insanity. We had so much going on if I wrote it all down I'd have to send like 10 emails. I want to start by saying that the Spirit is such a real and powerful thing, and without it there would be no way missionaries could convert people. 

At the Mexico City Temple
Last Wednesday we had a worldwide broadcast just for missionaries. I dunno if you heard about that but it was all on how to use to Spirit as we are teaching. They broadcasted it from Provo and I tried to look for friends in the audience but couldn´t see any. It was such an awesome and powerful broadcast. At one point I got an impression from the spirit that basically said "A missionary is measured by how diligent he is at doing all he can to bring the Spirit unto the hearts of the investigators, he is not measured in baptisms." It went something like that. I don´t have my notes with me right now so I don't really remember exactly what I wrote but it has the same idea. Then Wednesday just picked up with craziness. Shortly after the broadcast we ran into our Branch President on campus, his name is Presidente Machado, he´s a great guy, but anyways, he tells us he wants to meet with us and takes us into a classroom and boom - he makes Elder Allsop and I the new Zone Leaders. Completely unexpected. We´d been there for just over a week and we hardly know the language, yet he calls us as Zone Leaders. It was crazy, and ever since we´ve been doing our best to help the Zone progress and become unified. I really love the Zone - the people in it are awesome. 

On Thursday we taught Louis our last lesson. It was kinda sad, even though it was just our teacher pretending. I learned a lot about how when the Spirit prompts you to say something you better say it. I really enjoy teaching people and I can't wait to be out in the field. Then that night we had our first service project and it turns out that we get to welcome all the new missionaries. It was super cool and I recognized several kids from Lone Peak, hopefully Thursday I´ll get the chance to see Jake (Elder Clements). 

Elder Miles' Zone
Friday was a little bit of a rough patch. I got kinda frustrated with the language and the pace I was learning at. I think to be honest I was expecting too much out of myself. The worst part was they about quadrupled the amount of stuff they wanted us to learn. It was insane but I keep praying for strength and support in learning the language and it has certainly helped. 

I found a really awesome scripture in Alma on Saturday. It´s Alma 36 verse 3. It´s an amazing scripture and I highly recommend that everyone go read it. Kind of a funny moment happened Saturday night. Each Saturday the city around us goes crazy, and last Saturday night they were playing the Macarena, so we kinda had our own little party. The funny part was both Elder Allsop and I had the thought to email about it, but we had no idea how to spell Macarena, so I hope it´s right. The spell checker line isn't there so I hope its right.

At the Temple

Sunday was another super powerful day in the Spirit. We had the chance to take the Comedor (Cafeteria) the sacrament. It was really neat and I got the chance to say the prayer in Spanish for the first time. I had to go a little slow but it was really neat and definitely had a cool Spirit to it. 

Monday we got two new investigators. The first is Alejandro and the other is Patricia. Both are our teachers - Hermano Vargas and Hermana (sorry it's something weird I'll figure it out and report next week). The lessons went great and the spirit was really neat. In the first lesson I got this huge prompting to ask Alejandro what he was hoping to gain from our lessons and I think this really helped to build trust. 

Playing cards
Today we got the chance to go to the Mexico Temple. It was incredible!!! The temple looks like an ancient Aztec or Mayan temple and it's extremely beautiful. Might just be my favorite temple. It took us about 30 minutes to get there. The city was crazy, we saw all sorts of weird things. There was someone driving a construction backhoe on the freeway, there were dudes selling stuff in the roads, and last was three guys playing cards in the back of a dump truck. It was all super funny, Elder Allsop and I were getting a kick out of it. Anyway the temple was awesome. We had to use headphones so we could listen in English but it was really neat to get the chance to speak Spanish at the end.

View of the city
Let´s see a few other random things. We´ve now had three fires on the mountains surrounding the campus. Not sure how they got started and they don't ever last long but it´s been weird. The CCM sits in a bowl like valley that's completely surrounded by mountains. It's super cool but honestly not very pretty. Everything is pretty dry and lifeless. I guess that´s just because of the winter. Let´s see - there are 4 Hermanas and 3 Elders in my District, and in my Zone we have 9 Elders and 12 Hermanas, but we get a fourth district on Thursday so we'll see how many more we get.

Our days are basically wake up, do personal study, go to breakfast and then gym. At 9:45 we start a three hour block of class, have lunch and then two more hours of language study. Then starting at 3:15 we have three more hours of class. Then dinner, after dinner we do another two hours of language study. Everything is completely packed in there. We barely have time to eat meals. I´m really getting to know my companions well. Elder Allsop and I get along super well. We seem to like just about all of the same things, and Elder Klossner is hilarious - I´m always laughing around him.

Well I believe that´s everything.
Love you all!
Hasta luego!!

Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 19, 2016 - Adios Week One

 Well, it’s been a pretty great start, so far nothing too crazy has happened. After we 
Elder Allsop, Elder Klossner, Elder Miles
landed at the Mexico airport we took a bus to the CCM (the Mexico MTC). The drive through the city was really cool, all the buildings are concrete but most have some bright color to them so they look really pretty. The roads are terrifying though. If you see a space you take it, everywhere but stoplights there were no lines. So cars were all over the road, it was kind of a stressful trip from the airport but we made it okay. Once we got to the CCM they had a little introduction meeting and we met our companions. My companion is Elder Klossner, who played rugby at Olympus High School. The next day Elder Allsop, he ran cross country at UVU, became part of our companionship, so we ended up being a trio. Elder Allsop’s companion never showed up for some reason and we still don't really know why. The campus is really pretty big, I want to say that it’s like a hundred acres but I’m not sure. Also fits right in the middle of the city, we can constantly hear things going on, and at night it can be pretty loud. 

The second day we had tons of meetings, the day felt extremely long and I was quite tired at the end, there wasn't a whole lot that happened but it was a good day. We met our maestros (teachers) and had an introduction lesson to Spanish. I was surprised at how much I was able to remember but I am a very long ways off from being able to speak Spanish fluently. I think I learned more in that introduction meeting than I did in an entire semester in high school. Our maestros are awesome, they are Hermano Vargas and Hermana Alonso. Both are fantastic. They are some of the nicest and most patient people I have ever met.  

Elder Miles in his MTC room
On Friday we had several more meetings which got really tiresome because I just wanted to learn Spanish but they're important so we make sure to get to all of them. On Friday during our language class our maestros surprised us by telling us that we will be teaching a "fake" investigator that very same day. In Spanish!!!!!!!!!!! It was insane. I felt like I understood sorta what our investigator was talking about (his name is Louis, he is also a maestro here), but I had absolutely no idea how to respond to him. It was a rough lesson, Elder Klossner and I have each had some Spanish training but poor Elder Allsop had no idea what was going on as he took French in high school. 

On Saturday we taught Louis again and did much better with our lesson plan, but the language was still quite difficult. It's been a lot of fun though teaching him and seeing the "progress" he's made. It's making me extremely excited to get out into the field and teach those who are desperately searching for truth. Saturday was a bit more difficult for me, I was getting frustrated with myself that I should be able to understand the language, but then I realized that I was on day two and had already seen so much improvement. 

MTC Group - Hermana Fano, Hermano Faulk, Elder Allsop, Elder 
Miles, Elder Klossner, Hermana Andrews, and Hermana Shuman
So after Sunday, I have decided that the Spirit communicates better through Spanish than it does English. I had no idea what was being said or sung, but I have never felt the spirit more in my entire life. It was crazy! The songs are especially amazing, they are so beautiful in Spanish and I can't wait to be able to understand what is actually being sung. Sunday was probably the most spiritual day in my entire life up to this point, there were several moments in sacrament meeting that I had to look out the window and compose myself. It was an awesome feeling!!

Monday I felt a HUGE improvement to my understanding of the language! I am still learning to respond but in our lessons (which are only in Spanish, or Spanglish) I felt that I understood almost ninety percent of what was being said. Granted they were using small and simple words I am very grateful to my Father in Heaven for blessing me with that understanding. We taught Louis for the third time and we committed him to baptism. 

Today being our P Day was so nice. It was been crazy stressful trying to get things done and still have time to study Spanish. They ask so much of us and then add Spanish on top of that and then add even more on top of that. So having a P Day was really nice. We spent most of the day buying things from the Tienda (store) and studying Spanish, with a little laundry thrown in. I have learned so much and I've not even been here a week. The blessings of the Spirit are so true, especially el don de lenguas (the gift of tongues). I love being here and if being here is anything like the field, I can't wait!

I love my companion,s they are both great guys. Elder Allsop was made district leader and Elder Klossner is such a nice guy. I really am grateful to have been blessed to be their companions.

MTC Room
The food here has been pretty good. It's got a nice level of quality but can be kinda iffy at times. The only problem with meals is how little time we actually get to eat. If lunch starts at 12:45 we don't get there until 12:50 and then are expected to be back in class at 1:20 which means we have to leave the cafeteria at 1:15. This makes it really hard to get seconds unless you eat like a vacuum.

I don't think I have ever prayed this much or felt the Spirit this much ever. I love the feeling of this place and I love the Spirit I have felt. There was a huge difference to the spirit outside the fence (which is covered in barbed wire) and within the fence. It just feels so peaceful yet powerful here and I can't get enough of it.

The CCM Presidents are all really cool guys. In all the meetings we've had they are always there and usually the ones leading the meeting. Two of the three are Mexican and the other is from Arizona I think. Our Branch Presidency is also the same way, with the Branch President and his first counselor being Mexican. The other is a Psychiatrist from somewhere near Bountiful I think. He's really cool. His name is Elder Packard and is super awesome.

So I was told about this website that delivers packages and whatnot. If you search missionarypresents.com it should come up but it might be missionarypresent.com. Also there is this email that you can send your email to and the CCM will print them off and put them in your mail box. This is really nice and would give me more time to write my weekly email as I only get an hour. The email is letter@mtcmexicocarepackage.com and put the subject as Elder Conner Miles District 12C. Just some food for thought.

MTC building
It´s been so much fun being here and meeting so many people. I love it so much and the Spirit is astounding!!!

"Al que cree todos le es posible" "Y por el poder del Espiritu Santo, podries conocer la verdad de todas las cosas" I'm not gonna translate these for you but Google Translate should. They are both extremely powerful scriptures that I have had the chance to memorize. Love you all!!!!

Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

The correct link for packages is missionarypresent.com