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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 30, 2016 – Nuevo Area (There should be an accent on the first a)

Ricardo and Maribell and their family. They
 were really hard to say goodbye to. Ricardo
even gave me a hug. He's the super tall one.
Well things are pretty awesome here in the new area of Yak South!! The missionaries call Yakima, Yakistan, or the Promised Land. It's a pretty awesome area and I am super pumped to be down here. I honestly cannot wait to get to know the people really well. I can already tell that I'm going to love it. The area we work in is super Spanish, we talk to more Spanish speakers in a day than we did in a week in Moses Lake. It's fantastic! I've already been able to see my Spanish improve since I've been here and I'm really starting to get my confidence in communicating up. I love the Spanish work. The Spanish culture is honestly so amazing! You're hard pressed to find a rude Spanish person. Everyone I talk to is just so nice even if they aren't interested. They always offer water and food, which I'm definitely not complaining about. 

Our area is pretty small. We cover like a two block radius going North to South and like 12ish miles going East to West, but even though it's small it is just packed to the brim with Mexicans. This means that we get a lot of people to talk to and so our pool for teaching people is pretty big. We have a really solid investigator right now named Daniel. He's had a rough life and his wife is a less active member. The first night I was in Yakima he accepted a baptismal date of June 25th! He really wants to be baptized then and is really looking forward to it. His wife, Lucia, told us at church on Sunday that she wants to start participating in the lessons and to start coming back to church. Oh and she wants to feed us which again I ain't complaining about. He is really the biggest investigator we have right now. There are a ton of potentials though, the key will be sorting through them to find those that are interested and ready to listen. 

Refugio and Marisol
The Branch is pretty spectacular. It just split like 6 months to a year ago and really wants to work at growing their numbers again. The Branch President and Branch Mission Leader are working really hard to help the members get excited for missionary work and it looks like they're getting there. I am really excited to be working here though. 

Transfers were a little interesting. According to all the missionaries you never have any idea what is going to happen on transfers with President Lewis. It was tough to say goodbye to some missionaries that I won't probably ever see again and it was tough to say goodbye to some of the members and our investigators. I'm gonna miss Moses Lake but I am so excited to be here. My companion is Elder Harman from Westlake High School. He played basketball over there. He's been out like 7ish months. He and I get along really well already and I'm super excited to keep working with him.  

The apartment isn't too bad. We're living with two other
Sister Wilson and her son.  Sister Wilson fed
Elder Miles many meals and went with on
visits to 
Refugio and Marisol.
English Elders in a little apartment complex thingy. The church has had this apartment for like 5 years and I guess it was pretty gross before I got here. Elder Harman told me that they spent a lot of time cleaning it and trying to make it nice before I got here. 

There is this super good pizza place here in Yakima called Mod Pizza that we were told we had to try. It's like subway but pizza status. You tell them how big you want your pizza then you can put whatever you want on it and however much you want of it. It was so good. I loaded up a pizza with all sorts of good things and practically inhaled it. Thankfully it's not too expensive. 

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 - El Traslado

Well we had transfers this week, and I am being transferred to the Yakima South Spanish Area. I will be serving in the Terrace Heights Branch with Elder Harmon. He's been out like six months more than me and is the District Leader. I don't know much else about him but everyone says that he is a pretty awesome guy. I'm super excited to be going to Yakima and I'm looking forward to serving the people there. The area that I am serving in is super heavily Spanish populated so I'm really excited for that. Moses Lake has quite a few Hispanics but not as many as I would like. We got the calls on Saturday night and then they announced it in our Branch the next day. 

On Sunday I got to give my talk that I had been working on for several days and it turned out really well. It was
This is the Luna family from Moses Lake. Brother Max
Luna is the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency
and is soooo cool. I think I might miss their
family the most. They are just so awesome!!!
on temples and family history work. I mostly just talked about when we take family names to the temple it can be a special experience. It was super fun and I thought it turned out pretty well. So Elder Spackman was translating into English during sacrament (there are a few English families called to work in the Branch), but he had to say the closing prayer so the second counselor, Hermano Luna, asked if I would do the translation for his prayer. It went pretty well, but man it required a lot of thinking. I really enjoyed it though. I can't wait til I get to the point where I can translate anything. 

This week has been a little different than the past several. We spent most of the time doing tracting and finding again. We've had to drop a few investigators and a lot of lessons were falling through. So we didn't teach a whole lot but what we did teach was super awesome. We taught several Less Actives this week and one showed up to church! The Rubio family has been less active for a while because the father has had some killer Arthritis pain but his wife and son showed up yesterday, which was so cool, and he has been improving a ton lately.

This is me with the Moses Lake Branch
Mission Leader: Brother Freddy Alva.
We were also able to teach Hinocencio and Ricardo again. Ricardo is doing super awesome, he still just needs to get that desire to find out if it's true. He loves coming to church and has been coming for like two months straight now but he doesn't quite want to commit to really trying. 

Hinocencio is doing really well but he struggled this week with alcohol. We have a lesson with him tonight that should be really good for him. He went to an addiction recovery class this last week and it went really well. He seemed to really enjoy it and really soaked it all up but then he struggled a few days later. We'll just have to keep working with him. 

We ate dinner at the Bergeson's house the other night (branch member family), and they had a really neat quote above their sink. It said "Testimony does not come without the TEST." This quote is definitely so true. We will never be able to grow our testimony unless our testimony is tested. In addition to that, during district council this week the quote came up "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." So if God allows you to be tested, then if you ask Him for help, He will bring you through that trial.

It's been a really awesome week and I'm really excited to be moving on to Yakima! I'm gonna miss Moses Lake, and the missionaries here, but I'm really looking forward to it. 
This is the group of us that plays soccer every morning.
Back row: Elder Spackman, Elder Johnson,
Hermana Luevano, Sister Hirsche, Hermana Palsson,
Hermana Oliva.  Front 
row: Elder Bonzo, Elder Miles

Oh for those of you who are fish lovers I tried some sushi this week. Sadly I'm not converted yet and I probably won't ever be. 

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 16, 2016 – Entrevista

Well this week was pretty spectacular. You know I think I say something like that every week. Even the ones that are not super exciting. I guess missionary work is always just amazing. Every week I am stunned by just how awesome it is and I can't really explain why. Serving others and the Lord is really the most amazing thing to do. 

Elder Spackman and Elder Miles
I love the work and the people here in Moses Lake. It's crazy to think that I have already spent almost two transfers here. The work is continuing to progress really well and we just keep finding people that we can teach. This week we met several new people that could be really strong members. The difficult thing that sometimes we find is that we find someone who is super ready and then for some reason they just kinda disappear. Not sure why that happens, but the people we have found this week, we've been able to stay in contact with and also teach a lesson or two. 

Hinocencio is doing really well. He's continuing to progress but he drank again this last week so canceled his baptismal date and now are trying to help him prepare for sometime in June. He is working really hard at giving it up and really is trying to better his life. We also taught Ricardo this week and committed him to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He says he will and that he enjoys going to church and stuff so it's only a matter of time before he gets baptized as well.

On Tuesday this week we had interviews with President Lewis. Every time I talk to him I am amazed at how spiritual and loving he is. He cares so much about everyone and just has this awesome presence about him. During the interview he shared Alma 43: 45-56 and talked about what the Nephites were fighting for. Then he compared that to what we are doing as missionaries and what it is we are fighting for and why we are fighting for it. So we talked a little bit about how important having the right desires is to missionary work. When it all comes down to it it's all about love. Everything we do should be out of love for others. This is so important to all of us. If we can work on growing our love for everyone and everything around us, our spiritual sensitivity increases and we find that the challenges in life are easier. 

Elder Miles wrote a note to his future children
Then on Saturday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I went with Elder Wilkey to his area which was really odd because I got to speak English for a whole day. It was weird giving lessons in English and was actually kind of tough. The exchanges went super well and I learned some good stuff form Elder Wilkey. I'm not sure if the family still does this but lately Elder Spackman and I have been switching the first letters around on words and I guess I got used to it. So when I was on exchanges with Elder Wilkey I accidentally said "pan of caint" instead of "can of paint" and Elder WIlkey looked at me like I was crazy. It was pretty bad but it was funny. 

So I've finally tried my first weird food this week. The Wilson's had us over for dinner last night and she is from Guatemala so I guess she loves all sorts of strange things. Anyway we got over there and we walked in and told us that she had a special surprise for us. Turns out that the special surprise was Menudo. Menudo is cow stomach. It was definitely something different and was a little odd but it was actually pretty good, just a little chewy. 

Love you!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016 – La Invitacion

Well this week was pretty great! Things are definitely going really well in the Moses Lake 9th Branch. It's been really cool to see how much the Lord prepares people to be taught. 

Since we just Skyped yesterday I don't have a whole lot of
Just a couple pics of the apartment. We are staying
in a members basement apartment. It's pretty nice.
new things to say but we've had some really good lessons and some really cool experiences. We're still teaching Refugio & Marisol, Hinocencio, and Ricardo, and they are all doing really well. Hinocencio and Ricardo showed up yesterday both with white shirts on for the first time. Now all they are missing is the water and a tie (haha). Hinocencio is doing really well. He's been really good about drinking lately and has been asking a lot about baptism so last night we set a baptismal date with him! It was super cool! He told us that he would do whatever it takes to be baptized by the end of the month and he's is definitely trying super hard to reach that. So right now he's scheduled to be baptized on the 28th and he can totally reach that. He just needs to keep up what he's been doing. 

Refugio and Marisol are progressing just a lot slower than we would like. It's a constant struggle to get them to come to church. They're pretty good about reading and praying but the biggest thing for them right now is to come to church. 

Ricardo just keeps slowly improving. He's got great fellowship right now from the branch members and that might be the most important thing for him right now. 

We've done a lot more finding this week and have found some pretty good potential investigators. It's always super awesome when you find someone that just seems to be so prepared to hear the Gospel. 

One thing I've been studying lately is the idea of being perfect like it mentions in Matthew 5:48 and 3 Nephi 12:48. Something I thought was really cool was that in Matthew it only mentions to be perfect like the Father then in 3 Nephi Christ mentions to be perfect as He is and like the Father is. I thought this was really cool because obviously Christ was perfect while he was on the earth in the sense that He did not commit any sin, but it wasn't until he was resurrected that he became like the Father. So our job is to make the constant and consistent effort to become like Christ and then through the power of the Atonement and Resurrection we can become perfect even like the Father. I heard a quote that says something like "We cannot be perfect, but we can be perfect in trying." This quote describes perfectly what enduring to end is, or our quest for perfection, we have to constantly be trying to better ourselves one thing at a time, because if we aren't progressing we are digressing. And that constant effort to move towards perfection is what has been asked of us. 

Well love you all! Hope you all had a great Mother's Day!!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 2, 2016 – El Templo

At the Columbia River Temple - Elder Miles is the 4th from the left
This week has been an awesome week! The best part of the week was definitely being able to go to the temple! It was such an amazing experience and I can't wait to go again! We left pretty early Wednesday morning and went to the Columbia River Temple. Getting to go through as a missionary was really neat but I think my favorite part of the temple has become taking a question to the temple. It's such an amazing place to feel the spirit and receive revelation, and it really helps to focus your thoughts on what you’re doing there. Afterwards we got to go out to eat and we went to Costa Vida! Not quite the same as Cafe Rio but it was still super good.  
At Costa Vida - Elder Miles i the 4th from the left, in the back
We've also had a couple more amazing lessons with Hinocencio this week. On Monday he told us that he wants to do whatever he has to so that he can get baptized. It was so awesome to see how much he's progressed and how much of a desire he has to change his life for the better. He's also been doing so much better with drinking and he's starting to become good friends with everyone in the Branch. We had a member come out with us the other night that clicked really well with him. It was really cool to see.

We got the chance to teach Refugio and Marisol again this week. They are really starting to open up to us and our lessons are always super good but they just are struggling to keep their commitments. They are doing so well and love to learn but if they don't start keeping their commitments we won't be able to teach them anymore. 

The Columbia River
This week the Branch had a Carne Asada (basically a grilling party). The meat was so good! I was dying because the food was so good. We went for our dinner for that day and Hinocencio and Ricardo came along as well. It was super cool to have two investigators there and it was really nice to see the Branch do such a good job at fellowshipping. It will definitely help them as they progress to being baptized. 

Ricardo is doing super well still but he just doesn't have the desire quite yet to actually be baptized. We'll keep working with him, and hopefully something changes. He's been to church for the past month or so and has really enjoyed it. He knows that the church is something really good but he just needs to make the next step and make the effort to figure out if it's true. 
At the temple - Elder Miles is on th
back row, 4th from the right

We also picked up this new investigator this week named Samuel. He's this super awesome, super friendly guy that has so many good insights He's already become a really good investigator and we have planned to meet with him again tonight. Hopefully it goes well. 
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission