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Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016 - Too Much to Write About!!

Ahhhh - it's been two weeks since I was last able to write a letter and I have so much to write about!!! I don't know if I'll have time to write everything!! So I'm gonna jump right into it. 

Two weeks ago we had the chance at the CCM to listen to President Oaks and Elder Clayton. The devotional was absolutely amazing!! Except, I can't remember a whole lot. I left all my notes in my journal and sadly my journal is back in my house, so I'll do my best to remember that for next week. It was spectacular though, and I even got to sing in the choir, though as most of you know, I'm not much of a singer. The spirit during the devotional was absolutely amazing!! Listening to a prophet of God speak about missionary work strengthened my desire to serve so much, and my testimony of the prophets and apostles grew tremendously. 

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The rest of the week at the CCM was pretty much the same as usual. Nothing crazy happened and we did class like normal, the craziness started as we began to pack for our flight to the mission field. The night before we left Elder Allsop and I were up until midnight finishing packing, then we had to wake up at 2 to get to the airport on time. SO we were running on pretty low energy, but it was all worth it, because at the airport Elder Allsop and I had the opportunity to teach this man named Jugo, and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was this older guy from Columbia that we sat by while waiting for our flight, and as we got talking we just kinda started teaching him the Restoration. The whole time he seemed pretty interested but when we got to the part about Joseph Smith and the First Vision Jugo began to tear up. I could tell he was feeling the spirit, and I pray that he read the Book of Mormon and upon his return to Columbia he looked up the church and had missionaries come over. If not, we got the chance to teach and help a man feel the spirit. Thankfully he understood English, otherwise it would have been much harder to teach him. 

It's time to do this!
Then in the LA airport we met a guy named Zachary who had been investigating the church for about a month and a half. He approached the Sisters while we were getting some lunch and asked if he could pray with the Elders because he was terrified of flying. So we got back and prayed with him. Elder Allsop offered the prayer, we talked with him some more and he was on his way. He was a really humble man, and I hope with all my heart that he continues to investigate the church. He definitely has a lot of faith. 

Elder Miles with President and Sister Lewis
Eventually we got to Yakima where I had the chance to meet the mission President. President Lewis is an absolutely amazing man. He's so humble, so intelligent, and so full of the spirit it's astonishing really. I am so excited to have him be my mission president for the duration of my mission. We spent the night in the mission home, actually Elder Allsop and I went next door because there weren't enough beds for the 24 new missionaries, but wow the beds were comfy. 

The next day we left for transfers and I got to meet my trainer!! His name is Elder Spackman from Bountiful. He's an amazing missionary. He is currently the district leader, and last transfer was a zone leader - so a super good missionary. He's been out like 20 months. He's way cool, we get along really well, and we have a lot of the same likes. He wants to do Aerospace Engineering as well! Also the other missionaries in my apartment are the zone leaders, so I am just super blessed to have very diligent and hard working missionaries that I can look to as an example.

We've been doing a lot of tracting since I've been here. Elder Spackman and I got doubled into our area, so neither one of us had any idea about where to tract and really what's been going on in the area. We are currently serving in the 9th Branch in Moses Lake, and we are in the North Area, which is pretty beat up. Most of our area is really old trailer parks or super beat up apartments, kinda sketchy at night. 

We are currently teaching three investigators. An 18 year old named Jesus whose sister is a member. He's way cool and already knows that he needs to change, we just need him to come to church. He's currently got a baptismal date for March 19th. Then last night, we tracted into this awesome little family. It's Elario and Roxanna and their two year old son Andreas. They are super ready to hear the Gospel and when we gave them a Book of Mormon Roxanna was so excited to receive a copy. They are both really cool and really humble. They are living in a little 2 room super beat up apartment. If everyone could pray for my investigators that would be awesome! I know the power of prayer works!! Also put their names on the temple prayer list please. The more prayers the better!
One last one ...
That's just about it. I'll end with a little but strange experience. We were tracting an apartment complex and we knocked on this older guy's door. Upon opening he asked for identification, like a temple recommend, because he was worried we were part of the CIA. He claims to be an underground Mormon. Not sure what that means, but basically what I got was that he was put undercover by the government and they were forcing him to not practice. Not sure what that means, but it was fun!!

Love you all!!!

Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 16, 2016 - Only One More Week to Go

Elder Miles -2nd from left
These weeks just go by faster and faster. It only feels like yesterday that I was emailing everyone again. It´s amazing how much the time flies when you devote your service to the Lord. We were talking as a district about how we celebrated our one month last Saturday. It was super odd because it feels like I just left. It's a good thing I write little notes down as the days go on or I would get so confused with what has happened one day to the next. 

Last Tuesday after we finished emailing we went and played futsal for like 2 hours. It was the funnest thing we've done in gym time. I got the chance to play with Elder Clements a little, though sadly it was against him not with him. 

Elder Miles with his Zone
and a maestros
Wednesday was kind of a stressful day, not because I was trying to learn a lot, but our service project had a huge mix up. Our zone each week welcomes the new missionaries and generally we meet at the main building at 6, but one of the MTC Presidents said we needed to be there at 5. So we tried to tell our teachers but then they said the Director of the MTC said we had to stay in class. Anyway there was a huge mix up and Elder Allsop and I being the Zone Leaders spent like 30 minutes running around trying to figure things out. Thankfully we got it all resolved and everything worked out, but each week those welcoming things are super stressful. 

Thursday we had another fantastic TRC. This time we taught two members. It was awesome and each had such neat experiences to share with us. I love TRC, because it just feels so realistic and rather than teaching a pretend investigator we are teaching someone who may desperately need some hope in their lives. As we were teaching I felt like I was able to teach well in Spanish. I felt that as I opened my mouth the Lord was blessing me with what to say. I didn't have to spend time thinking beforehand what I wanted to say. I was able to listen and respond reasonably well. There is definitely always room for improvement but I know with the Lord on my side I can do all things. My faith these past few weeks has grown tremendously and I can´t wait until the field when I can share that with others.

On Friday during lunch we sat with a bunch of Latinos in order to practice our Spanish. It was a little difficult but it was way fun, because they were doing their best to speak to us in English and we were doing our best to respond in Spanish. We also had a little Zone Devotional that night, and I got the chance to share a quick spiritual thought. I shared 2 Nephi 33:1 and D&C 50:13-14. I talked all about how the most important language we can learn here is the language of the Spirit. Sometimes people stress themselves out too hard by only focusing on the language and what they really need to learn is the Spirit. The language is definitely super important but the Spirit is what guides our questions and will give us words in times of need.

Can you see who has the broken foot?
On Saturday one of the Elders in our Zone fractured his foot while playing basketball, and that night he asked all the Elders in the Zone to stand in a circle while his companion gave him a blessing. It was a really neat experience. He was in pretty good pain before, even while wearing a boot and using crutches, then afterwards he was able to stand and kinda limp around to give us all hugs. He also said that that was the first time he had been able to put any weight on his foot since he had been hurt - another great testimony builder on the power of the priesthood. 

Sunday's are always fantastic as usual. The spirit is just great. I thought for sure I was gonna give a talk but others got called instead. I don't want to jinx myself but I'm pretty positive that I will be giving one this Sunday. They don't tell you who is giving a talk until sacrament meeting and whoever is conducting announces it. So everyone has to write a talk, but I guess I'll just have to wait until this Sunday.
Elder Miles doing yoga on his P-Day
Yesterday we lost one of our Districts. District 12A left yesterday for the field. They were the greatest people and all had such powerful testimonies and it is really sad to see them go, but I know they are all going to be amazing missionaries. It´s also weird to know that we will be leaving in just a week. 

Tonight we get the chance to listen to Dallin H. Oaks for our Devotional and strangely enough I'm in the choir. Originally our trio wasn't going to sing, but after their practice on Sunday the director felt like he needed three more Elders to sing and since we´re a trio we fit that bill just right. He told us he needed some volume, so I may not be the best singer up there (actually I know I won´t be the best haha), but I will give it all I’ve got. I am super grateful for the opportunity to listen to one of the Lord´s chosen. I know he speaks the will of the Lord and that he has been called by God. I´m super excited to be able to listen to his message!

I know with all my heart that this is the same Church that existed at the time of Christ. I know that the Atonement of Christ can help us in all things. I know that he has called twelve apostles and a prophet to lead us and guide us in these troubling times, and that they all speak the will of God. I know that Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation, and that he translated the Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth.

I love you all so much, I plead with you that you ask God with all your heart to assist you in your trials and tribulations, and I promise that he will support and lift you up.

Love you all!

Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 9, 2016 - Attitude not Aptitude determines Altitude

Our Branch President loves to quote that all the time. He´s such a cool, amazing and kind guy. President Machadoloves wants to inspire and uplift and I think he says that quote just about every time we see him. 

Anyways, to get down to the nitty gritty. I don't have as much to talk about this week since our last week the P Day was changed to Wednesday instead of Tuesday but we´ll still had a lot of good experiences. On Thursday we had our second TRC which was really cool. We taught this older guy about prayer, and he shared this awesome experience with us about how he meet the missionaries through the power of prayer. It was such a neat experience and the whole time I thought he was an inactive member, but afterwards I found out was a member. Guess I still need a little work on my Spanish. Oh, also on Thursday, we had another Zone issue. One of our Elders was caught looking through the personal journal of another Elder and we had to tell the Branch President about it. Everything seems okay and it seems to have blown over. Every week I hope that there isn´t another problem, but sadly my wish hasn´t come true yet. 
Zone "Selfie"

Friday was a very spiritual day. I spent a personal study time, about an hour, talking with an Elder Hasara about spiritual gifts. I really love Elder Hasara a lot. He´s in one of the districts in our zone and is just the nicest most Christ like guy I know, but anyways, we got talking about spiritual gifts and I decided that I needed to spend some time trying to develop those gifts that I have been blessed with. As I have worked towards developing this gift my mind recollected on several things in my past and I realized that those gifts had been developing inside me and that now it was my duty to work on those gifts so that I may use them to bless the people in Washington and those around me. 

Saturday was a pretty mellow day, just a basic day of class and few problems. We taught one of our investigators and she brought her "husband" along because we had invited her too, and it was really neat to see how the Gospel can bring happiness into the lives of families. He didn't seem to take it as well, but it was pretty awesome. 

The Guys
Wow, Fast Sunday was pretty spectacular. Every time, just when I think I can´t feel the spirit any stronger, we have an experience like that. We had a 24 hour fast that started on Saturday after lunch and ended Sunday at lunch. Anyways, during sacrament meeting listening to the powerful testimonies of the missionaries was awesome. I could feel the spirit so strongly, and then I got up and bore my testimony on the power of the Atonement in my life and how through its strength we can do all things. I shared my experience with Terik and could barely make it through. I was choking up a lot but I could feel his spirit and the Holy Ghost as well. Then as I was breaking my fast I had an extremely personal experience while praying that I will never forget, and through that prayer I learned several things. First, that God listens and answers all those who seek him with pure faith. Second, that the power of prayer is so real. My testimony on prayer has grown in huge leaps since I've been here, and I can't help but wish that I had prayed with more intent at home. 

Monday was another rather basic day. We had four teaching visits, which was extremely stressful because we generally get about five minutes to plan for each lesson when we are only teaching two investigators, but with four we had probably 2 minutes. It was crazy but I have learned that when you rely on the Spirit after doing all you can to prepare, that he will guide your words.

Also Elder Zippi left Monday for Chile. It's sad to see him go
Elder Miles and Elder Zippi
because it was always good to have a friendly face to see, but I'm excited for him to get to the field.

As a little bonus I got a hair cut this morning. In fact the whole trio did. We all look a little different, but mine the least of all. My hair was probably the shortest before I got it cut. 

I found a scripture this week in Mosiah 24:14 and 15. I suggest everyone go read it. It's an amazing scripture!!

Love you all so much, and I know that the Lord loves you all so much more than I ever can. 

Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 3, 20126 - Week 3 in the Bag

This week went by super duper fast. It´s really weird to think that I have been in the MTC for half my time now, and it just keeps getting better. I really love it here and my companions are fantastic as well. Though this week went by fast I don´t feel like I have as much to put in my email this week as I did in my last few. 

Elder Miles and Elder Clements
(soccer teammate)
So last Wednesday was our welcome service project for the new missionaries coming in (I think in my last email I said it was on Thursday but I was mistaken). It was super cool, Elder Clements showed up and it was really great to see him again. He seems to be doing really well, and I´ll send a photo of us together. 

So as Zone Leaders we really don´t have to do a ton. Mostly it´s just getting feedback from our districts and then reporting that to our Branch President every Wednesday, also we have to run Priesthood meeting on Sunday´s and we get to choose the Hymns for Sacrament each Sunday. But anyways, so on Wednesday one of our districts has been having a really tough time following the be with your companion rule. They would just go on splits whenever they wanted simply because they didn´t care much for their companions. So Elder Allsop and I had to talk to each of the companionships and let them know that they need to do better at staying together and to work harder at becoming friends.

P-Day Activity
Thursday was hectic. For some reason our alarm didn´t go off so we ended up running full speed to our early morning study, kind of awful but we do all we can to be exactly obedient. We have been taught that being obedient brings blessings and being exactly obedient brings miracles, and I definitely feel like miracles are something I could use. We also had our first TRC on Thursday which we joke means Teach Recent Converts. It´s really something like Teaching Resource Center, but every Thursday we do TRC and you either teach less actives, non members, investigators, or potential members. One of our "investigators" turned out to actually be a non-member and it was super stressful trying to teach them, cause we don´t really understand Spanish very well, and they are talking super fast and really quiet. Though it was hard I felt like the lesson went well and the spirit was good. At the end the non member even prayed for us and committed to reading the BoM. Then that night we had a welcome meeting for our new district. So now in our zone we have four districts, and I guess before we arrived there was only 2. So it´s a lot of work but I really love the districts I get a chance to get to know. They are all so fantastic.

On Thursday I also got the chance to give a blessing to one of the Hermanas in my district. She was super stressed and freaking out, but she asked for a blessing and as I gave her one I had the oddest feeling like I wasn´t even the one talking. It was an awesome experience! At one point during the blessing I said "This is exactly where the Lord needs you to be." I didn´t realize it at the time of the blessing but the Hermana was seriously considering going home. This was such a testimony builder on the power of the Priesthood.

Nothing spectacular happened Friday or Saturday really. They were just basic days of learning and teaching but they were really cool though, full of the Spirit and good laughs.
The District

The Sundays are wonderful, this one wasn´t really any different than the last few but I did learn that Dallin H. Oaks is coming to give a devotional in a few weeks. So thankfully I´ll be here for that. I love Sundays in the CCM so much, they are just so full of the Spirit and strength of the Lord. 

On Monday we had our first "ayuno de ingles" which is a fast from English for the entire day. It was really hard, but I was surprised at how much I was able to speak. It was hard, but I definitely feel like it helped. Elder Klossner got really sick that day and we didn´t spend a whole lot of time in class unfortunately. The doctor said he needed to rest, so Elder Allsop and I just studied Spanish while Elder Klossner slept in the infirmary. 

Tuesday was pretty basic, nothing too much to report other than we spent the second half of the day in the casa, because Elder Klossner was struggling in class. It was supposed to be our P Day but they switched it to Wednesday because our maestros were being evaluated by their bosses on Tuesday. 

I really love being here. I know the church to be true and my testimony on the Prophet Joseph Smith has been strengthened as I´ve been here. I love you all!

Hasta siguente semana!!

Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission