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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 26, 2017 - Christmas!!

We had a zone breakfast on Christmas and this
is the crew that helped make the breakfast. As part
of the breakfast President Lewis let us watch a movie
as a zone, so we watched Prince of Egypt.
It was super fun!
It's been a wonderful week leading up to Christmas! Probably one of my favorites of the mission. I feel like in this last week I have learned so much about the Savior and His Atonement. This month President Lewis challenged us to study the books of Matthew and Luke in an effort to get to know the Savior better, along with that I have been studying what it means to come unto Christ. These things have filled my studies this last week and I feel like I have gained such a greater understanding of Christ's role in my life. I also have learned so much about what is required of me to receive of the power of the Atonement.
Getting ready for Christmas dinner at the Magalei's
We've been able to do quite a lot this week. We did two more sets of exchanges with Zone Leaders here in the Yakima area, and we started transfer planning early. This was done so President would have more time to spend with his kids when they came up for Christmas. We still have a fair amount to do, and that will fill quite a bit of time this week.

On Christmas Eve Elder Walker's parents had sent a bunch of little presents with scriptures attached to them as clues for what was inside. We decided that we didn't need all of these presents and so we delivered a lot of them to the families in our ward. When we delivered them, we would leave the presents on the porch and then doorbell ditch the family. It was a ton of fun! But we realized that everyone in Washington seems to have huge front windows right next to their doors, so things got a little dicey. We ended up getting caught a couple of times, but of the 12 we only got caught 3 times, which isn't so bad. 

President Lewis, Elder Miles, Elder Walker
Stevey is doing well. We visited her several times this last week and she's been reading in the Book of Mormon quite a bit. She's starting to understand the role of the Restoration and the importance of it, which has been really fun to see. She tells us that her only desire is to get closer to God and Christ, which is perfect because that's what we do. We went and caroled to her on Christmas Eve and it was super neat. Her boys were so excited and she was all smiles the entire time. I think she'll get baptized soon. Not while I'm here sadly, but soon.

Merry Christmas!!
His last transfer planning has begun
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 18 2017 - Christmas Parties

So, this week was super fun. We got to go to both sets of
"It was super weird at the Christmas gatherings.
I would look at all the missionaries and think
about how I would likely never see them again.
It was a very strange feeling. Kinda surreal." Elder Miles
Christmas gatherings in the mission. The first was on Tuesday and that was for all the zones in the southern half of the mission. The second was on Wednesday and that was for all the zones in the northern half. Both were super fun. It was so cool to see all the missionaries in the mission again. This mission is incredible. There is such a strong presence of the spirit here and I am so grateful for that.

At each Christmas gathering each zone had to do a musical
A Thank You for the Christmas Party hosts
number and a short message. They all were pretty great. Our zone, the Selah Zone, did what's called a "riff off" I think. Basically, we combined a bunch of different Christmas songs, but it was divided into groups and we would interrupt each other to sing the different songs. It was pretty fun and definitely unique. There was a lot of really good musical talent as well. 

Also, we watched a movie called "Freetown" at each
Getting ready to give out the missionary
Christmas Packages
gathering and man it was incredible. It's about 6 missionaries that are caught in the middle of a civil war in Liberia and all they want to do is teach, but it becomes way too dangerous, so they make the trek to Sierra Leon (I think). It's based on a true story as well. My favorite part I think was right near the end. Throughout their journey they have miracle after miracle, and at the end of the movie one of the main guys lists a bunch of the miracles that he had seen and said after listing the miracles "It just doesn't make sense to doubt." That rang very true to me. I feel the same way. After all the miracles I have seen on my mission and throughout life "It just doesn't make any sense to doubt."

This week was taught the lady Stevey, she was the one who
Elder Miles, President Lewis, Elder Walker
came with her boys to the Christmas party last week, several more times. She currently attends another Christian church but she says that all she cares about it where she can learn the most about God. So, we're pretty excited about her and her potential. She's said some pretty awesome prayers since we've started working with her.

Leann is doing well. I don't know how much I've told you about her, but she has been going through some tough stuff. She's a less active member who has gone through the grinder recently, but she's been doing pretty well. This week the ward the members pulled through and have started visiting the family, and they did a 12 Days of Christmas for them which really was quite spectacular. This little family is incredible. I'm going to miss them a ton.
Me, Elder Walker, Sister Banks,
Sister McCourt, Sister Field

Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 – Return to Wenatchee

During our late night office prep for MLC we
made Cookies and Cream hot chocolate
and drank it with Oreos

So, this week was absolutely incredible. I finally got to go back to Wenatchee on exchanges!! It was so good to be back in my old stomping grounds. For exchanges I was with Elder Klossner! It was so fun being with another old companion! Elder Klossner is incredible!

I also was able to see Jose Rios again!!! He's doing so well. He's in the Elders Quorum Presidency, he teaches priesthood often, he's read The Book of Mormon several more times, and he says he's still learning a lot. I miss that man so much. It was really neat. When he opened the door, he got a huge smile on his face and said his classic phrase "Que tal?" which means more or less "What's up?" It was perfect.  I also saw his kids Melissa and Ivan again! They are doing super well! Ivan is huge! He's taller and bigger than Melissa, but he's a year and a half younger. Melissa is still adorable. It took them a minute to remember me but when they did it was so cool.

We also ate dinner with the Clive's. Brother Clive was my ward
​Jose!! Melissa! and Ivan! I love them so much!
mission leader while I was there and we would eat dinner with them every week, so it was really neat to see them again. Their little boy, Russell, has grown a ton as well. It was so good to see them!

We also had MLC this week, which went super well. Elder Walker and I led a discussion on our mission culture and what we hoped to see as far as improvements go. It was a really eye-opening discussion and we are going to roll out some trainings on it in the coming months. I also had to give my departing testimony. That was super weird. I had not thought beforehand what I was going to say. In fact, it didn't register that I was going to actually have to give one until I announced who was going to be sharing their departing testimonies. It's really weird thinking that was my last MLC. They've become such a normal part of my routine. I'm gonna miss them.

We also had two other exchanges this week. The Omak Zone
Elder Miles and Elder Walker teaching during MLC
Leaders stayed here in Yakima after MLC and then on Saturday the Othello Zone Leaders were here in Yakima. I love doing exchanges with other Elders. It's always so fun getting to spend a little time with them.

This week we found a new investigator, Stevey, who is a young mom who is going through a divorce right now. She has two kids both under the age of 4 but she is really quite interested. Elder Walker met her on exchanges on Tuesday and she came to our Christmas Party on Saturday. We have a lesson with her tonight. Hopefully that goes well. Her little boys were such a big help as we cleaned up the party. The older one, who is maybe 4, was right in the middle of everything. Grabbing chairs and putting them on the racks. He just wanted to be a part of it all and he wouldn't leave until it was finished.

We've seen Sarah once this week. Luchi went in for surgery on
Elder Walker, President Lewis, Elder Miles
Saturday and the whole family has been super sick, so it's been really difficult to meet with them. Plus, her work schedule is crazy. Because of all the craziness we went over to the Magalei's house and did some "planning" with them on how we can best help Sarah and her kids. it was super effective and we've got some darn good plans for this week.

Alicia and Evelyn came to the Christmas party also. We had a "planning" session with the Gilman family (he's also our WML) for how we can help Alicia come to church. It also went super well.
I think that's it for the week! Love y'all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017 - Lots of Travel

So, this week we've been doing a lot of traveling and we've had quite a few meetings. We started this week with our Trainer/Trainee and Doctrine of Christ meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday we spent nearly the entire day in the mission home for both meetings, and then on Wednesday we went to Quincy, which is a little over an hour away. The meetings went really well. Every new group of missionaries that we get always impresses me. They always seem so prepared and well versed in the Gospel. It is heartwarming to me to see their desire to work and bless the lives of those who they don't even know yet.

After the meetings on Wednesday President and Sister Lewis took us out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Tijuana's
Dinner at Tijuana's
. It was super good. I ate a huge burrito! It about killed me but I ate the entire thing. It was super tasty. Then after dinner we continued on to Moses Lake for exchanges with those Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Palacios (he was my District Leader when I was a Zone Leader in Wenatchee), and Elder Walker was with Elder Anderson (my trainee from forever ago). It was a really fun exchange and it was neat to be back in Moses Lake. 

We drove back to Yakima on Thursday night and then spent all day here Friday trying to play catch up on a few things. Then Friday night we took off again and headed to Ephrata for another exchange, which is about 20 minutes past Quincy. It was really fun being in Ephrata. It's a really small farming community but there are a ton of members there. 

Sunday was a good day. Matt Palmer came to church in the
Elder Miles and Elder Walker
morning and then him and Sarah and the kids all joined us for the Christmas Devotional in the evening. They really enjoyed the devotional and it was really good for them. Especially Sarah. Their family is doing really quite well. 

Evelyn and Alicia were up in Leavenworth for the weekend so they didn't come to church, and it's been really hard to meet with Sarah and her boys. They are still doing well. The boys are still going to mutual, but she started a new job and is trying to wrap up some finals for school so she's been extremely busy. We are very prayerful that we will be able to meet with her this week. Please pray for us to be able to visit with them.

Love you all!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
Grabbing lunch between meetings

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017 - Transfer Week

Sorry this email will be very short. I spent all my time
Surviving Transfer Week
registering for classes. This week was great, we welcomed in a ton of new missionaries and sent home some really good ones. I love being comps with Elder Walker. He's from Midvale and played soccer, basketball, and football in high school. He's sweet! I'm gonna miss Elder Allsop.

This next week is going to be another wild one. Sorry about such a short letter. Love ya!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
With the departing missionaries

With some arriving missionaries

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017 – Transfer Planning Week

So, I don't have a ton to report this week and I am very
Elder Walker, Elder Allsop,
Elder Miles, President Lewis
limited on emailing time this week. It's official however, Elder Allsop and I are being split up for the final time. It's amazing how much time we have spent together and as companions. I have learned so much from him. It's gonna be really sad to see him go, but it won't be for long. We'll see each other a couple times this next transfer (he's staying in the same zone). He goes home December 19th. 

My new companion is Elder Walker. He's from Midvale, Utah. He played soccer in High School at Hillcrest. He's a super good Elder. I'm really grateful he's my next companion. He'll be a good one to finish with. 

Transfer week was really good. I always feel like I learn so
much when I'm around President and Sister Lewis. I'm super grateful for them. 

Sarah and her boys are doing well. They've continued to read and pray, but they just can't get to church. This Sunday they were planning on coming to church but they had a darn plumbing issue and the plumber came on Sunday. What kind of plumber works on Sunday? Anyway, they're doing well. The ward has really grabbed hold of them, which is awesome. They have some great friends and the boys love mutual. 

Alicia is doing really well. She also didn't come to church (because it was Stake Conference) and she wanted to go to Primary. It was too bad, but she is excited to keep learning. She wants to be baptized but she's a little nervous about it. In a lesson we had the other day with her she prayed and asked if she should be baptized in December. Hopefully that happens. 

Oh, with Stake Conference I ran into some members from
Erika, Me, Diana, Elizabeth -
It was crazy running into them again
when I served in Yakima a year ago. It was super good to see them again. I'll attach a picture of us. It was the daughters of a member family that we always ate dinner with. 

Love ya!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
A visit to the Yakima Museum

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 13, 2017 - Zone Conference Week

So, this week was pretty much a Zone Conference every day
in a different part of the mission. This round of Zone Conferences was super good. We focused on all sides of missionary work. From consecration to planning. 

The biggest focuses of the Zone Conferences were preparing for this year’s Christmas initiative #LightTheWorld and planning. I hope you all remember last year when the church did Light the World. It was super good, and I hope that you're planning on doing it again. It's more or less the same thing just a little revamped. It's still focused on doing service over the 25 days leading up to Christmas. I highly recommend that you go to mormon.org/download and take a look at some of the stuff
that the church will be putting out this year. The video hasn't been released yet, it comes out on November 24th, but you can start preparing for how you all are going to #LightTheWorld. I invite all of you to get prepped now, so you make a bigger impact in the world this Christmas season.

The Light the World part of Zone Conference was super good. Elder Allsop and I did the training on planning, which could have been super boring, but it turned out pretty well. We did a huge planning as a group during each of the Zone Conferences and those all went really well. It was a ton of fun. I'm sure there are a ton of photos from the blog of Elder Allsop and I giving our training.

Sarah and her boys are doing really well. They all went to
mutual on Wednesday and had a blast. Then on Thursday we had a church tour with them. Basically, we showed them around the church building and helped them feel more comfortable with where their classes were going to be. Plus, we talked a little about the Sacrament. It went really well, and they were planning on coming to church but Sarah had a migraine and Tonie was sick. They're so awesome. I love working with them! They are such an awesome family. 

Also, we had a nice lesson with Alicia this week. She's doing well. She still wants to be baptized, but she will probably be towards the end of December. 

Transfer planning is this week. It's gonna be super crazy and
super busy. I'll also find out who my next comp will be (Elder Allsop will probably be released). 

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 6, 2017 – We Found Our Family!

So, I think a few weeks ago I told you that Elder Allsop and I
began praying for a family to be baptized in our area before the end of the year. Well we're pretty certain we found our family. It's Sarah and her boys Victor (16), Luchi (14), and Toni (12). We are super excited for them. They didn't come to church yesterday, but we had an awesome lesson with them last night! 

We taught them about the Restoration and the importance of having the Priesthood and a prophet. All four of them loved it. It was a super powerful lesson. Probably one of my favorites. Since we've met them we've been talking about baptism and last night we decided to extend a specific date for them to work towards. So, at the end of our lesson we set a baptismal date for December 9th!! They are pretty excited for it. Sarah and Victor told us that they wanted to be certain first but they seemed willing to go for it, but Luchi and Toni were all for it. 

Accepting the Gospel will change those boys’ life. It will put them on a completely different course in life. So please pray for them. Especially that they will have the desire to come to church.  

Alicia is still doing well. Elder Allsop had a lesson with her on exchanges last Saturday. She still wants to learn but she's young and wants her mom's help, and her mom isn't super interested. We'll see what happens. She'll probably come to church with her mom in a couple weeks when her mom is next available on a Sunday. 

MLC on Halloween was super fun. Elder Allsop and I magnet-ed little ghosts and pumpkins to our ties for our
Notice the ghost ties
costumes. It was a super good MLC. We led a nice discussion on planning in preparation for a training that we are giving in Zone Conferences this week on planning. 

Oh, also we went back to Omak on exchanges again! It was super good! I got to see Angi again and I also got a picture with one of my favorite member families. It was really neat to be back up there. Everyone seems to be doing pretty well. Angi is still struggling with smoking but she committed to put more of an effort into quitting. 

Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

President Lewis, Elder Miles, Elder Allsop

​The Bauer family! They are so awesome! Top: Me, Sister Bauer, Vivienne, Brother Bauer.  Bottom: Piper, Alta, Jarom.  I never got the chance to say goodbye when I got called to Yakima, so it was super nice to finally get a pic with them.

This is what we did Halloween night as we chilled in our apartment because we had to be in by 6. Popped some popcorn, put on a face mask, and watched a talk by Elder Holland.

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017 – Happy Halloween!!

At the ward Trunk or Treat
This week has been pretty wonderful! We've seen some awesome miracles in our area and in the mission this week. This week we finally may have found the small family that we're looking for!

On Thursday evening we received a referral from mormon.org for a lady named Sarah who requested a Bible to be delivered. On Friday we were able visit with her briefly in the evening and gave her a Bible, a Book of Mormon, a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation, and an invitation to our Ward's Halloween party. Then on Saturday we were able to sit down with her and we shared the Plan of Salvation, and then Sarah brought her 3 boys to the Halloween party and they loved it! Her boys’ names are Victor, Luchi, and Toni. they range from ages 11 to 16. Sadly, they didn't come to church on Sunday. All the boys really wanted to go, but Sarah was nervous and anxious and stayed up late the night before doing homework.

We also had a lesson with her on Sunday, which went super well.
We took the Magalei's with us (The Magalei's love to post and send pictures of us so you've probably seen a thing or two from them. Also, they went to BYUH). During the lesson we talked a lot about reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and coming to church. It was a really good lesson. They seem super willing to make the effort, though church may be a little tough for them. So please keep them in your prayers.

We also have been working with a part member family this week. The member's name is Evelyn. She's the only member in her family and she's 13. We've been working with her family lately and it looks like her younger sister wants to be baptized. So, we're working with them on that.

A few other fun things from this week. Firstly, we went to Oregon
With Elder Anderson
on exchanges this week. That was super fun! It was weird to be in another state, but we didn't have to worry about any sales tax! That was nice. Also Saturday we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders from Moses Lake and I got to be with Elder Anderson!!!! I trained him clear back when I was in Yakima! I miss him a ton and it was so fun to get to spend another day with him!! He has come a long way since I was first with him. He's an absolutely amazing elder.

It's been a good week! Tomorrow we have MLC, which will be fun for Halloween. Then we have to be in by 6 pm. So tomorrow won't be too crazy. Then on Thursday we get to be back in Omak!! I'm super stoked!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 - Temple Trip

This week was pretty amazing. The highlight was definitely
getting the chance to go to the temple and have the chance to have a spiritual feast. This temple trip was a pretty special one. Honestly it was probably the best experience I've had in the temple. I went with a strong desire to learn a lot from the Lord, and I came away very edified and uplifted. I love the temple.

This week we had a couple of our investigators drop us. Chelann and Josie both texted us and told us that they were no longer interested. Chelann, we kinda expected, but Josie surprised us a ton. We texted her on Tuesday to set up an appointment for Wednesday and her response was "I'm sorry but I don't need you to come anymore. Plz and thank you." It took us totally off guard and was pretty sad but God has definitely helped us to find more people to teach.

Madi is doing super well. We had another lesson with her
yesterday and she believes the church to be true. Woke up at 6 am Sunday morning so she could finish all her chores so her mom would let her go to church. She loves the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized. The only catch is her mom. Her mom is pretty anti God, which makes things tough. Madi says that her mom probably won't let her get baptized, but we have hope. 

Karina is doing okay. She lives with her member sister and brother-in-law who are less active. Karina hasn't met with us this week, but Crystal and Gabriel (the members) both have met with us several times and seem fully intent on coming back to church. It's been really awesome working with them. Gabriel is extremely talkative and he loves visiting with us. Crystal on the other hand is extremely shy, so it's an interesting combo. They are super cool though.

OK so another huge highlight of my week was Hinocencio
Me, Hinocencio, Hermana Juana (wife), not their baby,
Elder Klossner, and Elder Shoemaker
Elder Klossner (MTC comp) is working​ now in my first
area and he's been the one working with Hinocencio.
It was awesome to see him again.
got baptized!!!!!!! He was the first investigator I ever found and taught on my mission. Clear back in Moses Lake and Thursday night he decided he wanted to be baptized on Friday!!! It was so awesome!!! It was so amazing! He's had a long road since I first knocked on his door with Elder Spackman. Since then he's given up alcohol completely after 40ish years of drinking, he's been deported and worked his way back to the states, he's gotten married to a member, and has broken his neck. It was a long time coming but it was extremely special. I've been praying for him ever since we first met him. There were several times that I thought he would never be baptized, but he pulled through and his testimony is super strong now. It was a beautiful baptismal service.

One last experience I would like to share. On Saturday we were on exchanges in Othello (Elder Allsop's old area) and I was with Elder Nunez. It was an awesome exchange but I had an experience that shook me a little (in a bad but good way haha). We went and visited an inactive member family and I was super excited for the lesson. The elders in Othello had never visited them before and we had hopes that since they were willing to meet with us that the lesson would go well. Well it didn't go so well. They let us in but their home felt absolutely empty. There was no hope, no peace, and there was definitely no spirit. It's hard to adequately describe it in words, but more or less it was horrible. They refused to pray, read, or go to church. They refused to do anything. It was super sad. Even though it was super hard for the spirit to be in their home I received a very strong warning from the spirit that "If I were to ever leave the church - that horrible feeling that I could feel would be all that awaits me." It was a really sad experience to see this family so far gone from the Gospel, but fortunately I was able to recommit to never leaving the church.

Love you all! Hope you have a good week!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017 – Transfer Week

It's been a wonderful but crazy week! This week we said
Elder Allsop and Elder Miles
goodbye to 16 missionaries, but we welcomed in 27! Plus, we had the 4 come from Puerto Rico, so our mission is currently a little stuffed full of missionaries. This last round of transfer planning we had to open up 10 new areas because of the influx of missionaries. 

There isn't a ton to report on the week. Most of the week was spent helping with transfers, and then Thursday and Friday we spent the majority of those days in meetings with the new missionaries. So as far as proselyting work goes the first part of the week there isn't much to report, but the weekend was pretty awesome. 

Elder Allsop and I have been praying for a small family to
At transfers
teach and we've seen some awesome miracles this weekend that we are certain have come from our prayers. Like I mentioned earlier, the first part of the week was met with little success, but this weekend we found 3 new investigators. All of whom are pretty promising. One of them is the husband of a small family named Jeremy. We taught him on Saturday and we have another appointment with him this evening. His wife is currently out of town but she sounds willing to learn as well. We are really excited for him. He has met with missionaries in the past, but never made great strides with them. He's looking for truth but he feels like the struggle is finding it.

There is also a part member family in our area who has a lot
It's 2 AM - do they look tired?
of potential and yesterday we were able to get in with them and we had the chance to talk with several of them. One, a girl named Karina, is not a member and we have another visit set for this evening with them as well. Karina is about 18 and seems curious about finding out whether or not God even exists. We're super excited for her as well. 

The last investigator that we found this week is a girl named Madi. She's 16 and is dating one of the members of our ward. She came to church yesterday and we had the chance to ask her if she'd like to learn more. She said she'd love to. So, we had dinner and a lesson at the boyfriend/member home and she really liked it. She said that she's been visiting several churches but the only one that has made sense to her is the "Mormon" church. She's excited to read The Book of Mormon and find out if it is true. The only downside is that she lives outside of our area so we're going to have to make the transition to another set of elders eventually. We're going by this afternoon to have a brief follow up visit with her and see if she has read any of The Book of Mormon.
Some missionary called this "bunk beds."
It was pretty tough.

This week looks like it should be a good one. Tomorrow we are going to the temple! Which is super exciting! Then the rest of the week we have 3 exchanges and lots of opportunities to do some good proselyting work. We're really excited for the work in this area. Lots of good stuff is happening. 
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
In coming missionaries