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Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30, 2017 – Traslados

To start Elder Aguirre and I are being separated, which is going to be tough because we've gotten super close these last 2 transfers. He's going to Othello and I'm staying here and getting Elder Cannon, who actually was the trainer of Elder Aguirre. Elder Cannon is a fantastic missionary and I'm stoked to work with him. 

So this week has been a crazy one with a lot of interesting things that have happened. First, as most of you have probably heard, the missionary schedule has changed. There was a World Wide Missionary broadcast on Wednesday and they made several changes. The first is the schedule. It is not nearly as rigid as it was and allows for a lot more flexibility. The biggest change is that we now plan in the mornings and we get the chance to make the order that we want to do these things. Also there was a huge change to P-Day. Now instead of starting at 10 am it's starts at 8 am. So we get an extra two hours on P-Day which is super weird. I'm super excited for the new schedule, because it's going to make it a lot easier to write in my journals at night. 

The second biggest thing is that they changed the numbers we track as missionaries. Now we only track, Baptisms and Confirmations, People with a Baptismal Date, People at Church, and New Investigators. They did some research and realized that only these four numbers show the actual conversion process of investigators and they got rid of a lot of other numbers. It's going to be interesting adjusting to these new numbers. 

The rest of the week was also pretty exciting. We had Zone
My greenie!! Elder Anderson and I got
reunited at Zone Conference!
And now he's training!
So I've got a grandson now!
My little family is growing so much!
Conference on Tuesday and Elder Aguirre and I got asked to train on using scriptures in lessons, so we focused on how we as missionaries have been called to teach old doctrines not our personal opinions and we shared Psalms 19:7 and D+C 18:34-35. It was a lot of fun. However our training was not nearly as good as the rest of Zone Conference. President Lewis talked a lot about giving up unnecessary things that are restricting us from reaching the vision our Father has for us. He shared the story of the guy who got stuck in the slot canyon in Southern Utah and had to cut off his own arm. He also talked a lot about using our agency correctly and be consecrated to the work. It was a super spiritual and powerful Zone Conference for sure. 
So this showed up at my apartment this week.
Do you all remember it?
I guess my birthday came about 7 months late
So this week we met an awesome guy named Jose Rios. A different Jose than last week. We knocked into Jose on Monday night and have taught him now three times, had a church tour with him, and he came to a baptismal service. Sadly he didn't come to church but he loves everything that he has been learning and is totally willing to try it all out. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon and understands the importance of authority and the need for a Restoration. 

The longer I've been out the more my testimony grows. It's honestly amazed me how much I have learned and how much my testimony has grown. It's still super simple but the conviction behind it has tripled. I love being able to share that testimony every day.

I think that's it to be honest. I love you all so much! 
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017 - El mano de Dios

These were all taken on Tuesday when we had to walk
an hour to get to our area because of ice rain.
The weather was crazy that day
This week has been another great week full of amazing miracles. This week I have come to see God's hand in the work more than ever before. It's amazing how often you have a chance to have a wonderful experience. We had an amazing testimony building experience this week. 

We were on our way to stop by some investigators around 8 when Elder Aguirre noticed someone standing by his front door. We said hello and asked how he was doing, at first he told us "okay," but after asking a few more questions he told us that he had just had the worst day of his life. His girlfriend had left him that day and he (Jose) felt like didn't have any purpose left in his life. He then told us his whole story. He talked about how he had been divorced from his wife and because of that he had tried to better his life. Jose had given up drugs, tried to be a better father, and just tried to be a better person in general. As part of this he moved to Wenatchee and met his girlfriend who already had a kid. After living together for a short time she had another kid, who was not his. He told us that when he was told this, that he wanted to run and just leave his girlfriend, but again he tried to change. He decided to stay and be the best "father" he could be. He had signed his name for the child and was going to raise him as his own. Then he injured his back at work. This injury caused problems with their relationship until the girlfriend decided to leave him. 

We found him just a short while after she left and he was in a very humble, very teachable time in his life.  He was so discouraged because every time he tried to be better hard things happened. He felt like he could never be forgiven for the mistakes he had made. We went inside and taught him about repentance and the atonement, and how much strength he could receive through Christ. We mostly just listened to his concerns and bore testimony about the power of His atonement. The spirit was so strong in the lesson and I was amazed at how willing he was to learn more. He prayed at the end of the lesson and begged for forgiveness and for strength, which was honestly amazing. We left him a copy of the Book of Mormon which he promised to read. 

The next day we went back to have another lesson to find that the girlfriend was back, and she did not want anything to do with us. This was tough. Saddened we left their house unsure of how to go forward. A few days later we decided to stop by and see if we could find Jose at home. Amazingly we found them both just after they had gotten home from grocery shopping. So we were able to approach the both of them outside. Jose instantly dropped everything he was doing and invited us inside where we were able to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help him realize that he could repent and change. His girlfriend (Susanna) at first seemed very disinterested but as we bore testimony of how what we teach will better their lives and their relationship she began to pay more and more attention. It was amazing, and at the end of the lesson they both agreed to be baptized, but expressed the desire to not set a specific date yet. This experience helped me to realize that there are always humble people out there ready to be taught. We just have to find them. 

That was definitely the highlight of the week. It was such a neat experience. Both times that we taught Jose I couldn't help but think how much he had been prepared to accept the Gospel. We had knocked into him and his girlfriend before and they gave us the classic "We're busy right now come back some other day," but then wouldn't give us any specific opportunity to come back. He even mentioned to us during our first lesson how he had always rejected missionaries but he now felt like he was ready to figure out what they had for him. 

It was definitely an amazing experience. Hope everyone is doing great back home. Love ya!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16, 2017 – Como Estan?!

Well this week has been absolutely awesome! Elder Aguirre and I
Elder Miles shoveling snow
have been working so hard this week to bring members out with us to our lessons and even send them by our investigators without us, and we've seen some awesome miracles. This week we had two investigators come to church! It was awesome! 

The first was a lady named Maria Sanchez. She was actually introduced to us by a member from Costa Rica. The member, Hna Rice, had us go by Maria about a month or two ago but we got sent away by a roommate of Maria who is a Seventh Day Adventist. Anyway Hna Rice invited us over to her house to have a lesson with Maria. It was a great lesson and super spiritual but when we invited Maria to be baptized she told us "I've already been baptized." So we explained to her the importance of authority and talked about how she can know by reading and praying about the BoM, then Hna Rice invited her to church and Maria said yes. So that was pretty exciting. She came yesterday and seemed to enjoy herself, but we'll see what happens when we have another lesson with her. 

Elder Miles making sopes (a Mexican thing)
The second is a guy named Jorge Gonzalez. We met him on Thursday and shared the BoM with him. He has been in the US for about a year and is stuck here because he's sick and can't get the medical treatment he needs down in Mexico. He's the only one from his family in the US currently and it's been a little tough on him. After the lesson we sent by two returned missionaries that were about his age to just meet him and share a little bit more, and then they invited him to church! It was awesome! It was so cool to see two members so willing to go meet a complete stranger and get to know him. So he came and seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit. 

So we'll see what happens with them. I'll make sure to keep you updated. This week we also have an investigator who has agreed to be baptized on Feb 4th! His name is Rafael Zavala. He is the cousin of one of the members in the ward. When we taught him the Restoration he was very focused, and when we invited him to pray at the end, he asked if what we had shared was true, which was super cool. We're now just working with the members and have them go by and introduce themselves. We're excited to see what happens. 

Elder Miles at Olive Garden
On Friday night we headed down to Yakima to go on exchanges with the AP's, which was super fun. It was a great exchange and working with those elders is great. I worked with an Elder Cannon, he trained Elder Aguirre, and Elder Aguirre went with Elder Taele.
  It was weird walking around Yakima again, but it was a lot of fun. 

Elder Miles at Olive Garden with the APs
Oh this week also was my one year mark and to celebrate we went to Olive Garden!! Elder Aguirre had never been before so we went for dinner Friday night. It was fun, but its super weird to think that I have already been out on my mission for over a year. Honestly it's kinda scary. I have learned so much and grown so much in this past year, and it's gone by way to fast. It's scary to think that I'm on the other half because I honestly don't want it to end. I'm super excited for this next year though. 

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
Chicken Gnocchi

Wild bunny

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

To be honest I have no idea what to write about right now. Things this week all happened so fast and I can't really remember what happened. I meant to bring my study journal and share a lot of good stuff that we learned at MLC, but sadly I forgot it. With this week being MLC week we had a meeting in Yakima on Tuesday that took all day (it went several hours over), then we had to plan for a Zone Leadership Meeting for Thursday and a whole Zone Training Meeting for Saturday. So it's pretty safe to say that we had to do a ton of planning this week. It was a very busy week but there was also a lot of great stuff that happened. We saw some pretty neat miracles and are super excited for this coming week. 

Last Monday we met an awesome lady named Lucia Cortez who really wants to learn more about God, she's Catholic but honestly hasn't gone since she was a very young kid. We had a lesson with her on Monday and have another scheduled for tonight. We wanted to be able to teach her more during the week but she works Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm. So she has a crazy schedule but she really has an awesome desire to learn and we are super excited to teach her tonight. 

Elder Aguirre and I have been working super hard to get the members more involved in our missionary efforts. We have found that the members are the ones who drive everything and without the members we are unable to see the success we need. So our goal for this week is to get help from the members every single day whether it's asking for them to come to a lesson with us, having them stop by an investigator on their own time, or just sending a text to someone. We just need their help and we decided that we're going to be the ones to ask. 

That's honestly it for the week. I'm doing well and I am super motivated for this next month, year, and everything! We had Stake Correlation yesterday with the Stake Presidency and a member of the mission presidency and for some reason it just made me want to work even harder.

Well that's it! Love you all! Everyone go read D+C 88:67-68. They're amazing verses!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2, 2017 - Intercambios

So this week was pretty different. I spent nearly half of it outside of my area, which was crazy. Last Monday, after P-Day, Elder Aguirre and I spent the evening together but once we hit 8:30 I wasn't going to be in my own area until Thursday at the same time.
This is our New Year's dinner. We went and got Jimmy Johns,
cause it was freaky fast.
It was crazy and I ended up having to pack a few days worth of clothes because of all the exchanges we were doing. It was fun though. I got to go spend 2 days in Rocky Reach (my last area). That was a lot of fun. We weren't originally planning on having me over in Rocky Reach for both days but we had to make some changes. 

Because of the exchanges I don't have a whole ton to tell you. Even though I was in Rocky Reach I didn't run into anyone that I met while I was there before, which was too bad. 

The coolest thing from this week is probably the success we have been having in always having someone to teach. The people change from week to week because they are not progressing but we always have someone to teach. This means that we get to do a lot of knocking on doors and teaching a lot of people about the Restoration. This week we are really focusing on making sure that the people we teach are doing the things necessary to progress towards baptism. 

For New Year's we didn't do much. President Lewis changed our Weekly Planning time from Friday afternoon to Saturday night so we spent all of our New Year's eve planning for next week, which I was okay with. It did make it feel weird though. It felt just like any other night but we changed a number (not sure where Elder Miles was going with this…). 

I'm really looking forward to this next year of my mission! It's going to be full of some wonderful miracles I'm sure of it. 
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission