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Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2106 – Bicicletas

This week was a pretty awesome week. On Tuesday we had
​Elder Anderson and I meeting at the transfer site
our New & Not-So-New Missionary Training. It used to be called Trainer/Trainee but President Lewis decided to change the name on us. That meeting was super awesome. We went to the mission home and spent some time talking about what we can do to learn together, then with about an hour or so left President Lewis pulled all of the trainers upstairs to talk for a little. During this, President talked to us about the most important qualities a trainer needs to have. He said that in his mission president handbook the qualities listed are: Obedience, Diligence, Experienced Teachers, and Preach My Gospel Knowledgeable. Hearing that I felt pretty humbled. I mean I've only been out a short time and being called to train someone is a huge responsibility. I feel like I know some, but I don't feel prepared enough to teach someone else. Anyway, that was an awesome meeting. It's nice to get to spend some time with President and Sister Lewis. They're both so awesome!
Elder Harman and I's last pic together as
companions. (We bought matching ties at
Burlington, don't worry they were cheap).

We also got a pretty sweet referral this week. So this lady named Roxanna had just moved into her house and found some kinda freaky stuff inside, so she was a little nervous and her mom told her to read the bible. So she downloaded it onto her phone. Well the church has free bible adds on a lot of apps, and when she saw that she figured why not try it out. She filled out all of the information and the referral got sent to the English missionaries in our area. They talked to her and she said she really wanted to learn more about God and start coming to church again. She wants her kids to get into it as well, but she said she learns and understands better in Spanish, so the sisters then re-referred her to us. She seems like she has a ton of potential, but we haven't taught her yet. Our first lesson will be on Tuesday with her. 

​Looking fly with our new bikes
One of the highlights of the week is that we got bikes!! A recent convert family (the Contreras) had some bikes that they haven't used in a long time, and when he heard we needed some he didn't even hesitate. We went over on Friday to have our Recent Convert lesson with them and as we were wrapping up he started to tease us about not having a car, and how we have to walk. Then like out of nowhere he was all we've got two bikes for you. We were pretty shocked. Honestly I wasn't ready for that. So we went out back and checked them out. They're kinda beat up but for the most part are still in good condition. Then we picked two huge bags of plums and they sent us home with them. Biking with those plums was pretty exhausting, but let me tell ya, my thighs are gonna be ripped after I'm done in this area. 

District pic from last transfer.
I'm wearing my new tie. 
I also gave my first district council this week. We met as a district and I had to run it and give a training. I felt pretty good about it, but hopefully the rest of the district thought it went well. I honestly love being a trainer, being a district leader is fun, but not quite what I expected. There is a lot of administrative, behind the scenes stuff, that isn't super fun, but someone's gotta do it.

We helped a member family this week create a family mission plan and it went super well. The family has already done some pretty awesome missionary work and we just wanted to help them kinda solidify what they're doing. 
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 - El Traslado

First off I want to let you all know that I forgot my camera. So I won't be able to send any photos of me and my first trainee. Things are going great though, here in Yakima South. I really enjoy this area and I really love the members of the Branch. 

This week as you know was transfers, so Monday and Tuesday Elder Harman said goodbye to some members. Then on Wednesday we had transfers. I finally got to meet my first son! (That's the mission term for your trainee's). His name is Elder Anderson and he's from Smithfield, Utah. He played soccer growing up and played for Skyview High School up in the Logan area. We connected instantly over that. He's super awesome and I'm super excited to be his companion for at least the next 5 weeks. 

Since it was transfer week we didn't get a whole lot of time to proselyte. We had to move apartments and help the new Elders figure out their area. Also, we no longer have a car. Technically we share a car with the other Elders, but since their area is a lot farther away they use it every day. As part of this we have been trying to look for bikes but haven’t been unable to find any yet, so we've been walking every day. It's been pretty tiring to be honest. I didn't think it would but the sun drains you. We've been really good about drinking water, but being out in the heat is definitely not very enjoyable, and it's been in the 90s all week. 

As part of the change of the areas, the new Elders took the part of our area in which we did most of our work, so we've been hitting the pavement hard this week. We've done a lot of walking, and a lot of knocking. We've met some pretty cool people that have some good potential. 

That's really been it for the week. Training is super fun, and I had my first District Leader meeting on Saturday. Basically they just ran over what the responsibilities are for a District Leader. I'm really excited for next week! I'll make sure to remember my camera next time! Love you all!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016 - El Traslado

Well, this last Saturday we had transfer calls and I was a little nervous. We were pretty sure Elder Harman was leaving but we weren't sure to where, and I had no idea what to expect, but I'll get to that in a sec. I wanna tell you about the rest of my week first. 

So on Monday we had another Noche de Hogar (Night of Home, or Family Home Evening). It went super well. Originally the Branch President had planned to give the lesson but we had to call an audible because we had an activity to prepare for on Saturday. On Saturday we were going tracting as a branch, so on Monday we taught the whole branch how to make contacts and how to knock doors. At first we were a little nervous with how it would go but we got set up and we started things off. We explained how easy it is to share the Gospel with people. We broke it down into 5 simple steps. 

1. Talk to them, get to know them 
2. Explain who you are and what you are doing
3. Share a principle of the Gospel (Joseph Smith Story, Families can be together forever, etc.)
4. Share your testimony
5. Get their information if they are interested in having the missionaries come by

We explained all this and then made them practice. We split them up into groups and had them contact each other. This was the part I was a little worried about but the Branch killed it! That's one thing about Mexicans, they are not afraid to talk to people, they just needed to be taught how to talk about the Gospel. The Branch loved it! They were having a lot of fun and taking it really seriously. It was super cool to see and we have already seen some awesome things from it. A recent convert, Hermano Oscar Contreras, decided one day at work to talk with a guy that he was decent friends with, and when he did so he invited the guy to church, and it turned out that the night before he had just met the sister missionaries in our branch! The sisters were teaching his wife and daughter and he had just met the missionaries. It was a pretty neat miracle. 

On Saturday the event went really well. The hope was that they would get more comfortable talking to people and also see a little bit of daily missionary life. I feel like it went super well. We found a lot of really cool potentials, and afterward the Branch President told us that he would like to do that more regularly. 

Daniel and Lucia are still doing super awesome as well!
"We found these awesome graffiti in our area!!!"
They came to the Noche de Hogar and Daniel's testimony was amazing! He isn't even a member and he already has such an amazing testimony, and his girlfriend, Lucia, killed it as well! They both really wanted to go tracting with the branch but were unable to because of family commitments. We've been working with them a lot to read in the Book of Mormon, and this week we felt like we should read the introduction with them again, so that they can understand why it's so important to read. I wasn't there for the lesson (I was on exchanges in another area) but it went super well. I guess Daniel had a ton of questions but decided to wait until the end of reading the introduction to ask them. When they got to the end all of his questions had been answered! Then Lucia was all "Oh that's why we have to read, so that we can have our questions be answered." We've been trying to get them to understand that for several weeks, but we are super happy that it finally clicked.

For transfers this week it got a little crazy. So on Saturday afternoon we were out knocking on doors when President calls us. He only calls you during the day if you are getting a leadership call. So anyway we answer the phone and he starts talking to Elder Harman. He tells Elder Harman that he is going to be going to Moses Lake and training a new missionary. They are taking over an area that used to be a sister area. I was like "Dang! You’re gonna love Moses Lake!" Then President asks to talk to me and I was all "Uh oh." He first asks if I would train a new missionary, I told him yes. Then he asked if I would take over the responsibility of District Leader as well, so again I told him yes. The whole time I was getting a little nervous inside. I have never been a trainer, never been a district leader, and never taken over an area, and now I had to do all 3 of those things at once. Plus I have to move, figure out the boundaries for a new area that was created in our branch, get new elders settled in (the branch is now going to have 6 missionaries), and do all of this without a car. We are now in one of three biking Spanish areas in the whole mission. Kinda crazy. They are giving our car to the new elders, but they're living with us so we'll be able to use it occasionally, like going to meetings and stuff. 

We had another crazy experience this week. We were
knocking doors and we knocked on one door. No one answered so we moved on to the next door. Well as we were knocking on this door the neighbors we had just knocked on came out of the door and started yelling at us. He told us that no one was home and that if we didn't leave he was going to beat us up. So we were all "Ok, we'll go." Well I guess we didn't move fast enough because the guy went and got his two huge dogs and brought them towards us as we were walking down the driveway, and he said "I'll show you what the real Jesus looks like." It was pretty crazy, but the whole time I honestly felt fine. We weren’t doing anything wrong. I felt like everything was going to be okay. Even if he had sent the dogs after us. So, yea, kinda crazy.

Anyway that's it for the week. Love you all! And I would highly recommend reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon. It's something we skip a lot as members but it's super powerful! Especially the last two paragraphs!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016 – El Gardin de Eden

Not sure how it happened but this week we just about doubled our usual hours of service. We usually hit around 7 or 8 and this week we hit 19. It was weird because we didn't seem to do too much more than normal. For service we usually just go to the Salvation Army and work in their Food Bank, but this week the Zone Leaders and another set of Elders told us about this place called the Harman Center. It's a place for older people to go and hang out. It's pretty cool. We went and washed dishes for them and helped them serve lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we also worked at the Food Bank a little this week. 
Elder Harman and Elder Miles

We've been working with this lady named Kika for a little bit. She was a referral from the English missionaries that also cover our area. She's pretty awesome and has had some neat experiences. Several years ago she was in really poor health and basically the doctors sent her home to die. They told her that there wasn't anything more they could do for her. So she went home and prayed. A little time later two young men with name tags and white shirts showed up at her door. They prayed with her and did yard work for her because she couldn't walk. Well shortly after meeting the two missionaries she got better. After a lot of prayers with the missionaries (and maybe blessings, we aren't too sure) she got better, but she moved from that house quickly and lost contact with the missionaries. Now we have the chance to teach her. She hasn't gone to church since she got sick and is looking for a church. She remembers what the other Elders did for her and is really interested in learning. She already believes that Joseph Smith had his experience, so that's pretty neat. 

Daniel and Lucia are both still killing it! They love the church! He just needs to be better about reading in the Book of Mormon, and by the time he is baptized he'll be so solid! They have a little boy named Manuel who just recently turned 2 and is so funny! He is always so happy and can get so distracted super easily. And Lucia has a kid who is 8 named Diego, and he is looking to get baptized which is super awesome! We gave him a children's Book of Mormon and he was pretty excited.

Our crazy experience for the week was we met a guy (most likely very, very high on drugs) who started ranting about his beliefs in God. There was a lot of swearing involved, like every other word, but his theories were super funny to listen to. His first theory was that Yakima was the Garden of Eden. He "proved" this by saying that Yakima used to be the most wicked city in the world, and that now God was trying to take it back (by putting religious people in it), and that obviously it was the Garden of Eden because every type of fruit grows here - including the forbidden fruit. I was a little confused about that one. Last time I checked pineapples and bananas did not grow in Yakima. His other theory was that God would give us anything that we wanted, like fame, money, or drugs. He "proved" this by saying that one day he really wanted some drugs so he prayed and asked for them. Well the drugs didn't show up but he found a 20 dollar bill which was then used to go by drugs. He was a super strange guy, but we gave him a Book of Mormon and he accepted it with teary eyes. 

This week has been super awesome! On Saturday we get transfer calls! I'll know by next Monday if I'm staying or not!

Love you!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016 - Un bautismo (de otros misioneros)

So this week was a pretty basic and chill week. Not too much happened. We did some tracting, taught some people, and just did a lot of normal missionary work. 
"Still reppin Lehi"

There were some pretty cool parts of the week though. We've started working with this part-member family, the Gurrola's. They're pretty cool. The mom is pretty less active, and the dad is 7th Day Adventist but loves the church for some reason. He just was never baptized. He said he's willing to give it another shot. His only concern is Joseph Smith. He struggles to believe that he was a prophet, so we talked to him about how in order to know Joseph Smith is a prophet is by reading The Book of Mormon, and then praying to know if it is true. He said that he would do it. So we're gonna be going by tonight to see how that went. One night while we were there, his son-in-law came in with like a broken knee and was in a ton of pan. So Hermana Gurrola started doing witch-craft doctor stuff on him. It wasn't witch doctor stuff but it was weird. She put burning rocks on his leg, and then put a glass jar over it, so all the oxygen would burn out and create a vacuum, then she would move it around. After that she would grab him by the ankle and whip it all over the place! It had to have been so painful. The guy was completely passed out on the floor and she looked like she was riding a horse at full speed, and during all this we were trying to teach the Restoration. So kinda an odd lesson.

"Elder Turley just went home.
He was an amazing Elder!"
The only other big event was we went to a baptism for someone named Reyna. She works at the Salvation Army where just about all the missionaries in the Yakima area do service. She started talking with the missionaries in her area about a month ago and just got baptized on Saturday. It was honestly so cool to see it. With her you can easily tell how much the Gospel has changed her life. Before she started taking the lessons, she was angry, didn't like to work, had anxiety attacks all the time, and now she is this upbeat, super happy person who is super cool to be around. When she came up out of the water she had the biggest smile I have ever seen. It was such an amazing spiritual experience to see the pure joy she had, and as she was smiling I had the reconfirming feeling that "this is what it's all about." We as missionaries are here to bring this message of joy to the whole world, and those who accept it, and live it, will have joy for eternity. It was super awesome! Oh and there were like 30ish missionaries there! So that was pretty cool as well. 
"The Zone"

Other than those things nothing out of ordinary missionary life happened. 

I love you all!!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission