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Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017 - Angel's Baptism

Elder Nielson and I with Angel
I don't have much time to write a whole lot, but I want to focus most of my time on Angel's baptism. It was so good!! He asked that I baptism him and that Elder Nielson confirm him. The baptismal service went super well. It was probably one of the least stressful baptismal preparations that we have gone through. It was also a really neat experience. He had all of his family there, even the nonmembers. It was a super spiritual experience. I would have to say my favorite part though was near the end of the baptismal service his mom stood up and said a few words. She talked about how she had seen such a big change in her son’s life and how different he had become. My favorite thing she said was "I'm not a member of the
Elder Nielson, Angena (MooMoo), Elena (Angel's 
mom), Angel, Me.  MooMoo is adorable. 
church - yet." She has so much potential to join the church as well!! I'm so excited for that family. The confirmation was also super cool.

Angi is doing a lot better as well. She came to church again!! On her own power and she brought two friends with her!! She is honestly doing so much better. She had a rough patch right after her baptism, but with patience and love she was able to come back. All it took was her coming to church one more time. She's been doing really well with reading and praying also. I am really excited to see the progression.
Saying goodbye to Angi, Ryley, and Trevor (back).
Trevor was their biggest fellowshipper.

Last thought and then I got to run. On Saturday morning President Lewis called us at 7:36 am and told me that I was going to be Elder Allsop's companion again!! I was stunned. Elder Allsop and I have already been companions for 3 transfers and we're going to have another 2! By the end of our missions we will have been together for 5 transfers! It's crazy. I honestly did not expect the call to be an Assistant. I was expecting to be released and go back to a normal proselyting missionary without any extra responsibilities but that all changed in about 2 seconds. I had to secretly pack all Saturday because the other Elders in our apartment couldn't know, and I had to leave for Yakima right after church. So, at 12:45 we left the church building in Omak and arrived at
Elder Allsop and I just after arriving at the office in Yakima. The transfer board is
behind my shoulder.  There is a lot of info on that little board.
Yakima about 4:30. It was a long day. Last night we were up super late doing transfer planning stuff as well. It makes me feel for Braden on his mission when he would write home about how little sleep they got. However, I'm super excited for these next few transfers. Also, I do know that I will be finishing my mission in this area.

Love you all! Gotta run!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission
​This is the Lyles family. They are such a good fellowship family for the Lopez's.
Hyrum, Josh (also the Ward Mission Leader), Me, Peter, Bro Lyles, Sis Lyles, Amari, and Lalina

This is Trinidy, her mom Tina, and her little brother Oliver. I was really sad to have to say goodbye to them. They're a good little family, and Trin has really good desires.

This is us with the whole Lopez family. 
Across the top: Elena,Tanya, Sister Lopez, Angel, Brother Lopez, Elder Nielson
Middle: Isaiah, Andy, Me
Bottom: Julian and MooMoo
Tonya and Elena are both daughters of Brother and Sister Lopez and they're both non members, but they're coming along!

Elder Nielson and I just before I left Omak yesterday

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 21, 2107

It's been a pretty awesome week. We've worked a lot with
​Elder Nielson, Andy (Recent Convert),
Angel (the 11 year-old getting baptized on Saturday), Me
Josh, and Angel was able to go on the High Adventure with all of the other boys. 

Josh is an absolutely amazing kid. He has such a good desire to know the truth. On Tuesday, we had an awesome lesson with him about prayer. He told us that he hadn't been praying a whole lot because he didn't want to pray unless he really meant it. We had a nice long discussion with him about prayer. We read in 2 Nephi 32:8-9 and had the Berthelson family share their experiences with prayer. It was a super awesome lesson and Josh had some really amazing questions. He asked about temples, and about the advesary, and he also opened up to us about how he's having an internal struggle with making his decision. He said that part of him wants to continue to go to church and repent and change, but there's another part of him that wants to stay the same and go back to his old ways. It was really neat when he opened up to us about that. So we talked about that for a little with him. Sister Berthelson bore some amazing testimony about just testing it out, and giving it a chance to work in his life. It was really neat. 

Then on Saturday we had another amazing lesson with him.
Elder Miles and Elder Nielson
We taught him the Plan of Salvation and about Temples and he absolutely loved it. He told us at the beginning of the lesson that he had been praying several times a day and that he felt his relationship with God growing! It was awesome. When we first met him he barely believed in a God and now he can feel his relationship growing. For our lesson, we read in 2 Nephi 2:14-29, which talks about the middle section of the Plan. It was awesome and it answered a ton of questions that he had had from the previous lesson. He soaked it all in and really, really liked it all. It all seemed to make sense to him. Then as we talked about the Celestial Kingdom we read a part in a pamphlet that said in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom we have to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now our member that came with us, our Ward Mission Leader, explained that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is essentially Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. Then he asked Josh "Have you thought about baptism?" Up to this point we had talked with Josh about baptism, but he had never really been super open about how he felt about being baptized. Well in response to the question he said "You know, I've actually been leaning towards the idea of being baptized." It was sweet! Things are really starting to click for him. Tonight we're going over to visit and talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and hopefully set a baptismal date with him!

Angel is doing super well. He went on the High Adventure
Another stampede pic
and had a tough but good time. He got pretty sore after the 20 mile hike, but he seemed to really enjoy himself. He said it was the hardest thing he had ever done, but it was worth it all. He looks all set to be baptized this weekend. We have a couple more things to teach him and he still needs a baptismal interview, but that should all be taken care of by Thursday. The biggest thing is his mom needs to give him permission, so pray that her heart will be softened and that she will allow him to be baptized.

Also, quick update from Wenatchee. I heard that Jose Rios, my recent convert down there, just received the Melchizedek Priesthood on the 13th!! And that yesterday he was set apart as the 2nd Counselor in the Elders Quorum Presidency! He also taught his first ever lesson in Elders Quorum yesterday on the Power of the Book of Mormon. Apparently, it was a super powerful lesson and he shared his experience that he had with Elder Cannon and I. It was so awesome to hear that he's doing well!
Solar Eclipse viewing at the church

A shot of the Solar Eclipse through my glasses

Love you all!!
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 14, 2017 - Suicide Race

This week has been a pretty awesome week! Full of a lot of
neat experiences and a lot of exciting things. 

The 4 elders at the stampede. Me,
Elder Shoemaker, Elder Nielson (my comp),
Elder Woodfield
To start off here in Omak there is a stampede that is pretty well known throughout the world (I guess). It's famous because at the end of every night, they do what they call a suicide race. Basically, they take 20ish horses and their jockeys and run them straight down a super steep hill, across a river, and into the rodeo arena. It's apparently pretty wild, and there are no rules, so there's punching and fighting the other jockeys, and no one is going to stop if you fall off your horse. I guess they have had to put some horses down because of broken legs, and a lot of people have been sent to the hospital to get some serious surgery done.

So, this week there have been so many people in our two small little towns. I've been amazed at how crowded it's been up here. I feel like the population has doubled since the stampede started. Well we asked President Lewis if we could go check it out, and he said yes!! He gave us permission to go see the rodeo and the Suicide Race. We went on Thursday evening and it was super cool. It was definitely a different experience but it was a lot of fun. I took a video of the suicide race, but it's not great quality. You may have to look one up online for a better vid.

This week we also got to teach Josh and Angel some more.
​This a pic of the suicide race hill.
Sorry you can't see it super well.
Angel is doing super well! He's progressing towards baptism really nicely and has really been changing quite a bit. This week we had to move his baptismal date back a week to the 26th of August because he's going on the high adventure this weekend with the boy scouts. It'll be super good for him. He'll get the chance to have some nice father figures in his life, and he'll get to meet a lot of the other boys. We had a chance to talk with his mom yesterday and she says that she has seen a lot of changes in him, he doesn't get angry as much, and when he does get upset he doesn't react as intensely as he used to. So, he is looking super promising for the 26th.

Josh is doing awesome! We had a church tour with him this
A huge hornets nest that was
bigger than my face.
last Wednesday, where we got to show him around the building so he could feel more comfortable. Then he came to church on Sunday! He said he liked it quite a bit and he told us he is planning on coming back. We also had an awesome lesson last night with him at the Berthelson's home, where we taught him the Restoration and committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. With him having more of an agnostic/atheist background we focused more on him being able to receive an answer that God exists by reading and praying, rather than knowing that the church is true. He told us last night that he's been having an inner conflict with himself with what he should follow. Should he return to his old ways? Or should he follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Pray for him to be able to choose God!

This was at the stampede. They did this wild horse
race thing. I guess none of those horses had ever been
ridden, and the had to stop them, and mount them and
ride through some barrels. One guy got stepped on
real hard and probably blew out his knee. It was gross.
Oh, Angi is doing better. She still hasn't come to church, but she's picked up praying again, and we had an awesome lesson last night with her about reading and she really committed hard to reading every day. She seemed a lot happier last night as well. Hopefully with time and patience she'll turn things around and find the path again. Keep praying for her! She needs it!
Elder Miles
Washington Yakima Mission

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 7 2017 - A Lot Happened

OK so a ton of stuff happened this week and I'm honestly not sure if I have enough time to write about it all. 

This week we had another MLC down in Yakima but it was a little different than usual. We spent the night before in Wenatchee, but instead of returning to Omak Tuesday night after MLC, we stayed in Yakima to go on exchanges with the Assistants. So that meant I got to be companions with Elder Allsop again for the day!! It was so cool. It felt like nothing had really changed except I had no idea who any of the people were that we taught.

So, because of MLC and exchanges, we didn't do any work in our area until Thursday. Monday was P-Day, and then we drove to Wenatchee, Tuesday was MLC and Wednesday was exchanges and driving. So, the beginning of the week started off very different, but the weekend finished out with a lot of surprises. 

First off, Angel is doing super well. I guess he has been changing a little since we've started working with him, and now his mom is starting to investigate the church as well!! She even came to church on Sunday! It was so awesome to have them at church. They both really enjoyed it and we're super excited for them. We had an awesome lesson with them on Friday at a member’s home and taught them all about repentance and change. After the lesson Angel's mom, Alayna, thanked us for the lesson. She said it was perfect for Angel. Teaching them is super interesting. Angel definitely prefers to speak English, but his grandparents, who are the members, speak little to no English, so our lessons are kind of mostly English with a little mix of Spanish. 

Josh is still doing well. He was sick all weekend and we were gone at the beginning of the week, so we haven't seen him at all this week. He's a cool kid though. He has a lot of good desires. Hopefully I have a better update on him next week. 

The biggest and craziest stuff from this week has to do with Trinidy and Angi. On Saturday, we had a lot of lessons fall through in the evening and we thought "We should see if Trinidy wants to have a lesson." So we sent her a text and her response was "My mom just kicked me out of the house." We were shocked! Thankfully she went over to the Bauer's house, who are basically her second family and also members, and we were able to meet up with her there. We talked for a little and she told us her mom and her got in a big argument and she was "kicked out." So, we had a short lesson with her and watched the video "Live by Faith, Not by Fear" on lds.org. Highly recommended by the way. Then her brother's girlfriend showed up, picked up Trin, and they left. She stayed the night in Omak and came to church on Sunday, but after church she left with her brother's girlfriend to Cheeney, which is a city over by Spokane, and out of our mission boundaries. We aren't quite sure how long she'll be over there but we know that she should be coming back after a week, at least for a little. It doesn't seem like her mom actually kicked her out but Trin seems to be overreacting about something. She is going to try and get an early emancipation, which would be absolutely crazy. So, keep her in your prayers! She's super stressed right now and could really use the help.

Angi also has had a rough go recently. Still hasn't come to church since she was baptized, and she has  been trying to avoid us, but last night we finally caught her at home and sat her down to have a good chat with her. We told her to be completely honest with us and that she didn't have to worry about offending us. She explained to us that she feels super empty and depressed and had been looking for instant gratification. She said she doesn't care about life anymore and that she feels like she has no reason to care about anything. It got pretty intense. The spirit was super thick and we had the chance to share some serious testimony last night with her. We bore testimony on the importance of keeping the commandments and how that makes us happy. How she is a daughter of God, and a ton of other things. The spirit was super thick in that room and my testimony grew tremendously. It was probably one of the most spiritual lessons we've had with her. The last time we had a deep conversation, like we did last night, was a turning point for her in the investigation process, so I'm praying so hard that it's the same right now. Please keep her in your prayers as well. She desperately needs it. 
Elder Miles

Washington Yakima Mission