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Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016 - La Pistola

This week was pretty darn awesome! With Elder Harman better we've been able to get out and find some pretty cool people. 

Elder Harman and Elder Miles

We knocked into this lady at the beginning of the week by the name of Esther and she told us that we could stop by on Thursday. We thought this was the whole "oh you can come by some other day" thing that Mexicans do because they are generally too nice to tell you no. So we figured we'd stop by but we didn't expect a whole lot out of it. Anyways, when we showed up that afternoon she was ready and waiting for us. It was kinda surprising to be honest. Anyways, we sat down outside with her and taught her the Restoration. It was a super good lesson, probably one of the most spiritual I've had. At one point I felt prompted to ask her how she was feeling and she told us that what we were saying was giving her a strength that she's been missing. She told us she could feel a peace and a calm. It was super cool. We extended a baptismal invite and she agreed to be baptized. She told us that "es me toca," which means it's my turn. She said she'd talked to missionaries in the past but she said she felt she was ready to do this. It was a super spiritual and amazing lesson. 

Elder miles, Elder Harman, Elder Vejnar, Elder Hansen
This week we probably also had the craziest experience I've had since I've been out. By crazy I mean dangerous I guess. First off don't worry I'm fine and nothing bad did happen, it just came really close. We were walking by a Fiesta Foods grocery store (only Mexican food) on our way to knock some trailer park and we saw this guy sleeping on the ground. We didn't think much of it but when we came back about an hour later to get in our car and go to dinner, the guy that was sleeping was standing up and yelling at two guys that had pulled up in a car. The guy in the car kept saying to the guy we passed by earlier things like "You ripped me off," "You owe me," all sorts of crazy things like that. The whole time they were yelling the guy in the car had his hand on his waist and was definitely hiding a gun under his shirt. As we walked by I said to Elder Harman "Dude, that guy's got a gun," and he was all "Yea he does." We ended up walking by like ten or so feet away. Super close, and the whole time the guy in the car was threatening the guy that had been asleep. I know for sure someone was going to get shot and we were going to be witnesses, and we definitely stand out, which is probably not good. So we were pretty nervous. Thankfully some Good Samaritan guy that was driving by saw what was going on and pulled up by them and honked his horn at them to get them to break it up. Finally, the two guys in the car drove off and the other guy walked away. It was pretty crazy though. I'm super glad nothing happened but it made me appreciate where I'm at right now and what I'm doing. So yea don't worry everything is fine.

Daniel is coming along really well. He and Lucia prayed and read in the Book of Mormon for the first time together this week. Daniel said that has helped them with their relationship, which is super good. He is so solid. This week he showed up to church and brought the 2 kids by himself. Lucia had to work so she couldn't come. It was super awesome to see that, even though it was going to be difficult with two little kids by himself, he still wanted to be spiritually uplifted by church. 

Another couple funny and crazy experiences. We met this ex-member this week who told us that Jesus was a gangster and that his 12 apostles were his posse, or his crew. Told us he hung out around all the crummy people and partied and whatnot. He said he still believed in Christ, just on a different level. Kind of weird, but it just goes to show how important it is to have Priesthood authority to interpret the scriptures. We also drove by this tent city on our way to correlation one evening. There are probably 50 or so homeless people living there. It's not in our area but it was pretty cool to see. They've even got Porta Potties now, it's been growing pretty fast I guess. The city decided that it was best to just try and support it rather than get rid of it. Oh, and I tried Mole (pronounced Moe-Lay) this week. It's this Mexican sauce that is made with chocolate. It's basically spicy chocolate, kinda
weird, but not too bad. 

I think that's all for the week. Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 20, 2016 - La Enfermedad

Well this week was pretty interesting. There wasn't a whole lot that happened because Elder Harman came down with a pretty nasty virus last Monday. So this week we spent a lot of time in our apartment so he could sleep. He's doing better but he's still struggling. While he's slept I've just been studying Spanish or taking a few short naps. It's been really weird. 

Elder Miles and Elder Allsop
Really the biggest update of the week is that Daniel is still going strong. He's struggling a little but he really wants to get baptized and just keeps pushing forward. On Thursday we had a lesson with him about the Atonement and all the strength that someone can receive from it. It was a super good lesson and he really seemed to want to use that to strengthen himself. Thursday was also exchanges with a couple Elders in our District. I stayed in our area with an Elder Turley from Mesa, Arizona. He is a stellar missionary. He goes home in about a month and has spent a lot of time serving as a zone leader, so I was able to learn a lot from


Elder Miles with his birthday cake.
Oh a funny story. We met this guy the other day that told us the reason we were out on missions is because we have dysfunctional families and struggle socializing. Kinda weird, but he also tried to prove that Christ came by talking about solstices and equinoxes and whatever, so not too reliable I guess.

I absolutely love the Atonement. I love that it covers every little pain that we experience throughout our lives. It's astounding to me how it's possible but I am so grateful for it. It has helped me so much in my life, and being strengthened by it was what really drove me to get out on a mission.

On Saturday we had a Branch activity to celebrate Father's Day. It was super good. They fed us Tinga which as usual was amazing. Also there was cow feet on tostadas (can't remember the name), and ceviche (not sure if that's spelled right, but it's a bunch of seafood on a tostada), definitely did not try that one. The Branch is super awesome here. It's one giant family, literally and figuratively. About 70% of the branch all is connected by the same family. It can get really confusing to try and figure out how everyone's related. 

Anyways sorry I don't have much more, but I can at least bear my testimony. I know that Joseph Smith restored the same church that Christ established. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is the word of God. I know this is the only true church on earth, the longer I've been out the easier it is to recognize it.

Love you!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 – Como ensenar a las personas de Mexico

Well this week was pretty jammed packed full of some really good info from Elder Daniel L. Johnson. He's a member of the Seventy that was born in Mexico and has spent a lot of time working over there. So he knows how to work with the Mexican people. He told us a lot of really neat things about their culture and generally how they think. 

But before I get into that I'm gonna talk about the rest of my week. It was pretty darn hot at the beginning of the week, but it cooled down and eventually rained on Thursday I think. It was super nice to have it cool down and not be over a hundred degrees. Sadly it's back up there again and this week is looking pretty darn hot. 

Daniel is progressing really well, but he's not actually married, and his wife is still married to someone living in Mexico right now. So once we figured this out we brought our branch president over and they spent a long time trying to figure out how that would all work so they can get married. I guess the fastest it can take is at minimum a 3 month period, so your prayers on their behalf would be really appreciated. They’re both still doing super great though. They showed up to church yesterday in nice clothes for the first time since they began coming to church. He loves to learn and his natural instincts on gospel topics are surprisingly accurate. We also met someone else really cool as well. Her name is Harmosa, or Armosa, you never know because "H" is always silent. Her and her family have had a rough last few months and they're looking for some strength in their lives. 

Ok, now to get to Elder Johnson. So the first time we had a meeting with him was on Thursday. So it was a pretty sweet birthday present. Anyways we had a special Spanish conference up in Wenatchee which is about a two hour drive from Yakima. It was a super good conference and I learned a ton from it. To begin we talked about all the promises and prophecies that have been given to or about the Hispanic people, since they're descendants of Lehi. Basically that they are going to grow and become a powerful group of people (or leaders) among the gentile nations (US and Canada). That was really cool to see and it's something that we can see right now. There are a lot of Hispanics with really good paying jobs, working in the government, and such. One of my favorite things I learned from Elder Johnson was that he said that the biggest difference between Mexicans and white people is that Mexicans learn by feelings and white people learn by logic. So he said the best way to teach them is to not beat around the bush trying to explain things. Be blunt, straightforward, and simple, and then bear your testimony to them. I've been working on that a lot this week and have seen some good success. Not that I didn't bear my testimony before, but now I'm focusing on the testimony instead of doctrinal topics. He taught a lot of really good stuff but that's what stuck out the most to me. 

Then on Friday we got to have zone conference with him again, so that was pretty awesome. A quote that I really liked from him was "A logical answer leaves as quickly as it comes, but when the Holy Ghost testifies to you - it's yours." I thought that was really cool and it shows just how important praying to know is. So many people try to reason things out, and with this they may get an answer but it won't last long. Another thing that he focused on was the importance of teaching our investigators the nature of God. He said that this is the most skipped over thing by missionaries but it is easily one of the most important. Then he challenged us to figure it all out ourselves. He gave us 5 questions that he challenged us to pray about.

1. Are you really there? / Do you exist?
2. Do you have a body of flesh and bone?
3. Do you know that I exist?
4. Am I really your son (or daughter)?
5. Do you really love me?

He said in order to challenge our investigators to do this we have to do it ourselves. So that night I took the challenge and prayed about all of those questions, and wow it was quite the experience. I'm not really sure how to describe it, but it kinda felt like my soul expanded each time I asked a question and I felt a confirmatory "yes" every time. It was such a strange feeling that describing it sounds weird, but I'm not denying what I felt. What I felt was the Holy Ghost confirming that the answer to each one of those questions was “yes”. It was a really amazing experience, one that I will always remember. 

Now what kind of missionary would I be if I didn't challenge you all to do the same? I can promise you that if you do it, that you will get an answer. I know that because I did it and got an answer. 

Love you all!!
Les amo!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016 - La Reunion de Zona

This week was a pretty normal missionary week. Not a whole lot seemed to happen. We just jumped right into the area and spent a good chunk of time finding people. We taught Daniel several more times. He's doing super well and is ready to be baptized, he's just got to get over a few issues which look like they won't be a problem. He's got a strong testimony and a really good fellowshipper so things are going really well with him. Saturday night he made Prime Rib and fed the missionaries. Sadly I was on exchanges so I didn't get to enjoy it. It was a bummer but exchanges were fun.

We went on exchanges with Elder Turley and Elder Najarian. They are two other Elders in our district. I went with Elder Najarian to his area and we taught some pretty cool people. The area he works covers a couple small towns just outside of Yakima so we were driving through a lot of apple, pear, and cherry fields. Which reminds me, we had a lesson with a recent convert family and they have a ton of cherry trees in their backyard, and they loaded up three huge bags full of cherries for us. We've been eating cherries since Friday and have only eaten 1 bag between 4 Elders. We haven't been given any other fruit but I guess pear and apple season starts here in a month so hopefully we get some of those. 

The biggest thing we had this week was Zone Training meeting which was super good. The focus was to help us focus on cultivating our desires. We talked a lot about how the desire is everything and that once you get your desires in the right place you can then set goals to help you get to, and become, the missionary that you want to be. I really love the zone I'm in. It just has an atmosphere of success and they are determined to work really hard. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but Elder Allsop is in my zone now, so we get to spend some time together, which is pretty cool. 

Sunday for dinner we had another Carne Asada which as usual was super good. 

The upcoming week looks really good. Elder Daniel L. Johnson from the seventy is coming to do a mission tour and he is giving a special Spanish Conference on Thursday for all the missionaries in the mission that are Spanish speaking and then on Friday he's doing Zone Conference. He's worked a lot with Spanish speakers so he is going to train us on how we can work with their culture. 

The past few days have been super hot, like over a hundred and boy it's tough. Thankfully our car has AC and we just got our apartment AC fixed. We spent the time since I got to Yakima with an AC that only works for a short time before cutting out but Saturday morning they installed a new one and man that thing was a lifesaver. 

Just so everyone knows the Spanish is coming along really well. I can testify to you that the gift of tongues is something so real. I can do just about everything a missionary needs to do. I can give full lessons, do door contacting, and anything that has to do with the gospel. I'm amazed at how fast it has come, and others are amazed. Oftentimes people ask how long we've been studying Spanish and when we say only a few months they are stunned. I definitely still have a lot to improve on but God definitely made sure that I can teach and do all the missionary work I need to. 

Sorry I don't have a whole lot more to say! Love you all!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission