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Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017 - Jose Spoke in Church!!!!!!

First off I'm getting transferred up to the Omak zone with
Hna Gita, me, and Hna Mendez two of the
coolest sisters in the ward. Hna Mendez is
probably the nicest lady I have ever met
Elder Allsop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm getting to be reunited with my MTC companion! It's going to be absolutely crazy and so much fun! I've been waiting for this since I left the MTC and I'm super stoked. Elder Cannon is getting Elder Harman, who was my companion when I first got to Yakima. It's gonna be so fun! Omak is in the middle of the mountains and is pretty close to Canada. I'll get a chance to get pretty close to the border potentially. 

Okay so this week wasn't the craziest week. We had some good stuff happen, but there wasn't a whole lot of new things. We did a couple of exchanges and I left my area both times. Honestly everything exciting happened this weekend. 

This is Lester. He was baptized at age 11, and is the
only member of his family. He's so cool. Super solid.
On Sunday Nancy came to church and really liked it again. She had some members invite her over for family home evening tonight, so we'll be going over there. She officially has a baptismal date for May 20th, and that's a pretty solid baptismal date. She doesn't understand much but little by little she is learning, but the most important thing is that she is feeling the spirit, and she really likes it. She recognizes that as she has learned more about this stuff, her life has improved and she's a lot happier. It's been really cool. I'm excited to see how she continues to progress. 

Now my favorite part of the week was that Jose Rios gave a
The Martinez family. Me, Alana, Hno Martinez,
baby Mila, Hna Martinez, and Mathias.
One of the coolest families in the branch.
Hno Martinez was Jose's biggest
fellowshipper. They're from Ecuador
talk!! Three weeks after getting baptized and two weeks after becoming a member Jose gave a talk! He talked about the Holy Ghost and shared some of his experiences. It was so cool. It was a fairly short talk but he looked like a member up there. At first he was super nervous but after a few minutes he warmed up and did such a good job. He mentioned that when we first knocked at his door he felt something different, something new, and he liked it, so he let us in. He said that before that moment he never would have opened the door but something led him to open it. It was honestly so amazing!! He also got called to be a ward missionary and is already diving into his new calling. I am so grateful to have been able to be with him during this whole journey, it's been a really special and neat experience. 

Hno Cortez. Probably has one of the coolest
conversion stories ever
I don't have any more time. I've got a lot to deal with because it's transfer week. Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017 - La Casa Del Senor

This week has been awesome! Probably because we got to go to the
Zone selfie at the temple
temple on Wednesday. It was super spiritual as usual and I received some good personal revelation. 

As we sat in the temple I found myself thinking a lot about faith, and what exactly it is, and what it can do for us. I was reminded that faith is the first principle, it is the governing principle in all things, and through our faith we are saved. Yet faith is more than just a belief, it is action. We have to act in accordance to God's commandments and only then are we able to partake of the Savior's Atonement and receive salvation and exaltation. All of this has been on my mind since the temple and has been impressed upon me even more as we have enjoyed this Easter weekend. 

This week we also found this awesome investigator named Nancy. She's 18 and is looking to learn a lot more about God. She doesn't know much, but she recognizes that something is missing in her life, so we have taught her nearly every day this week and she came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. She is catching on slowly but the coolest thing is that she really feels it. She has been reading and praying and she says that it has made her happier.

Me gustan las flores
Jose is still doing so well. He went to a lesson this week with another set of elders and he really enjoyed it. He said that he's not super comfortable doing that but it helped him grow his testimony a ton. The other elders told us that he bore a super strong testimony about the church, the Book of Mormon, and the changes he has seen in his life. He is doing so well. 

I also got to do another baptismal interview this week. It was for a girl named Tsunami who I actually got the chance to teach once on exchanges. She was super ready, and it was really cool to see the strength of the testimony of a 13 year old. She really wanted to get closer to God and she's the first one in her family to get baptized. Her older brother, who is also her legal guardian, is scheduled to get baptized this coming week. 

Easter was pretty awesome. I studied all about the Passover and
Easter egg hunt
how it symbolized Christ's sacrifice and what it would allow us to do. This helped the day start off super well, and throughout the whole day I thought a lot about the Resurrection and the hope and peace that it gives us. Thinking about that all day just made me realize how grateful I am for the Savior and his sacrifice. Then Sunday night we went over to the house of our ward mission leader for dinner and afterwards we had an Easter egg hunt. I got 4th place out of 8, but hey it could've been worse. 
We hiked Saddlerock again and got some more cool pics
Love you all! Hope you have a great week!!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017 – El Espiritu Santo y el Sacerdocio!!!!

Jose got confirmed yesterday!!! And was given the Aaronic Priesthood!!! Yesterday was such an awesome day. This whole week I have been just so excited for yesterday and it was such a neat experience. As I stood in the circle during sacrament I couldn't help but think about the journey Jose has gone through. It all kinda went through my mind from start to finish and it was really neat. He has come so far and has changed so much yet he is still the same Jose Rios. It's interesting how the Gospel works like that. If we are willing to let it take root in our hearts it changes us completely, yet is does not destroy our personalities. 

Then during his ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood I couldn't help but think about his future. How much of a blessing he is going to be to the lives of others and how much he will continue to change. He has so much ahead of him and I am so excited to see how his life in the Gospel continues to shape and grow him. 

This week we also had the chance to go to Yakima for a Mission
This is Dot. She's some lady's pet pig that we met.
She was eating nerds. The lady told us that the
pigs favorite food was mike and ikes
and hot tomales. Kinda weird. 
Leadership Conference. It was pretty awesome. We talked a lot about how we can better extend commits to our investigators, how to have better studies, and how to better implement the new daily schedule. Then we took what we learned and brought it back to our zones. I always love these weeks where we get to go spend some time with President and Sister Lewis and the other mission leaders. It's always something super spiritual. 

Oh, also we got to demolish a part of a house this week. It was super fun. A member family is remodeling a good chunk of their house and the zone was asked to come help. So I gotta use a sledgehammer and knock down a bunch of walls. Bucket list item was checked off. I'll send a video. 

We made a human chair in the house we demolished
I wish I had more for you all. The zone this weekend had 5 baptisms and 6 confirmations. Our zone is going crazy, there has been so many miracles and it's been super fun to be a part of. 

On Wednesday we get to go to the temple so I'll have some temple pics for you next week. 

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 2, 2017 - When you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

Elder Cannon, Jose Rios!!!!!, Hermano Martinez, Me!!
Look at Jose's huge grin! He was soooo excited!!
The title was the license plate holder for the car in front of us on the way to the stake center to email and I thought it was pretty funny, but accurate. 

Anyway this week was soooooooooo good!!!! We spent most of the week helping Jose prepare for his baptism. We got everything organized and taught him a few more things this week, mostly just to help him keep his excitement about getting baptized. He honestly knew everything like 2 weeks ago but I think this added time helped him to become truly converted to the Gospel. 

When Elder Uceda came to the mission a few weeks ago he showed us Matthew 28:19. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Then he explained to us that in Spanish and the original Greek version of the bible where it says "teach all nations" it actually means to "make disciples." Which he then explained to us as someone who has truly been converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so instead of just teaching, we are called to make sure people are converted. Which is exactly what happened with Jose.

Elder Aguirre came back up for the baptism!
It was good to see him again.
He is so converted I am just amazed. He was so excited for his baptism and was so ready for it. The experience was so special for him. He had a big huge grin on his face the whole time. He told us later that he felt really good, a lot calmer, he said. It was honestly so amazing! 

He was baptized in between the second session on Saturday and the Priesthood session by Hermano Oswaldo Martinez, who has been his biggest fellowshipper. After the baptism he went and picked up his kids and then went home and watched conference on his phone. He loved President Monson's talk in Priesthood session. He also watched bits and pieces of it all Sunday, but his kids were making things difficult for him he said. 

We went by last night to talk with him about his whole experience and he honestly bore us the most sincere and heartfelt testimony. It was so cool! We asked him how his Book of Mormon reading had gone and he told us that he had finished it the day before his baptism! He had read the whole thing in nearly 2 months and understood a lot of it, and learned a lot from it as well. We then asked him what was the favorite thing he had learned from the Book of Mormon and he told us "Que Dios es misericordioso." Which being translated is "that God is merciful." He bore us his testimony about how much he had learned about God's love as he read it, how much he had learned that God's plan was perfect, and how much he had learned about God's mercy. 

I could feel the spirit so strong as I listened to him bear his
All the missionaries at the baptism.
testimony, and honestly it strengthened my testimony so much of the Book of Mormon. Then he said something that was so simple but it felt like I had been sucker punched by the spirit in a good way. He said "Thanks for knocking." So simple! But when he said that I just wanted to cry. 

I can remember that night so visibly. Elder Aguirre and I had been working so hard for nearly 2 whole transfers, and we were knocking this one set of apartments when at the same time we felt like we were in the wrong place. It was weird, but things just didn't feel right, so we decided to try somewhere else. So we left and went to a street where we had knocked on nearly all of the doors. The first door we knocked was the one that counted. Jose opened for us and let us right in. Looking back on that night now I realize that he had been so prepared to receive us, and as we taught him the first time there was just something different about him. Something I had never felt when teaching another investigator and now here we are and he is so prepared. 

As we were preparing to leave after the lesson last night we asked him if he had any questions for us. He told that he did, and then asked us how he was to get an envelope to pay his tithing! Took me off guard, but it was so cool! Because it showed again just how much he desired to keep the commandments. 

Umm, so basically that was the highlight of the week, but Conference was soooo good!! It was so spiritual and honestly amazing. To me it stood out a ton how much they talked about the Godhead. They talked a ton about the Holy Ghost and Christ, and quite a bit about the Father. Also I loved all the talks about doing the simple things. Like reading, praying, and doing service. My plan was originally to email you a bunch of the cool things I liked but I forgot my notes...oh well. It was super spiritual though. 

Oh quick story with this one. If you have seen Nacho Libre you will recognize these things. They're called Elote's. Pronounced L-O-tay (for the L and O say the letters name, and for tay it's like the beginning of Taylor). Anyway Elder Cannon and I have never had one and one day we were in a trailer park that had a Palatero, which is basically an ice cream truck. We're were talking to this lady when we noticed a bunch of these kids had elotes. So of course we asked where they got them and they told us they were only 2 bucks at the ice cream truck. Then Reymundo, the one with his arm around me, he's also a member, said "we'll go get you some!!" So we handed him some money and he left on a dead sprint probably about 200 yards down the road to get us our first elotes. 

About ten minutes later he was back with our elotes, and to be honest they may be against the Word of Wisdom, they were so good. It's corn on the cob, with Mexican style sour cream, fresh cheese, and then chili powder stuff. It was sooo good!! Definitely exceeded my expectations. Then on Friday we saw the Palatero again, so of course we had to stop.

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

Washington Yakima Mission