President Riggs met us at the airport and he had all of our names memorized already. He looks even younger than his picture because I almost thought he was an Elder at first. We went to their house and had dinner and a testimony/get to know you meeting. Then President Riggs interviewed us all just to meet us and get to know us better. We have even more in common than you would think. He actually committed to play football at Mesa before his mission and played a little spring ball there after his mission too. Their stadium is actually named after his great uncle. He said he was more of a throwing type QB and loved basketball too. Both of the AP's told me he is really good at basketball still and has never lost to a missionary, so they said I’m the only hope (haha). He also said that lots of the missionaries already know who I am because of the church video they did on LP basketball and they were excited that I was coming (He said some wouldn't know or give a crap either (haha)) . He also said everyone will be looking up to me because of that and that I need to be a good example in all I do. President Riggs also said because everyone looks up to me I’m going to be a great leader. At the end he said I have everything going for me and he thinks that I have what it takes to be the best missionary ever to be in this mission and he is excited to see how I do. That was pretty cool and motivating. He also said he wants to play me in basketball. The AP's wanted to see pics of my rings so if you could send me some that would be cool.
The next day we went to a meeting to get a little orientation, get companions, and find out where we would be going. My trainer/companion is Elder Littledike from Kamas, Utah. He played soccer in high school and has been out for 22 months, so this is his last transfer before he goes home. He is really good at talking to everyone we pass. Seriously we talk to everyone.
We got assigned to the Algonkian ward in the Ashburn stake/zone. If you look on my mission map you can find it. It is a pretty nice area for the most part, but there is a ghetto area we haven’t been in at all. All the houses are colonial style, which means they all have red brick on the front and plastic siding. I’ll send a picture of one next week so you’ll have an idea, but they all look the exact same so that will be enough. Elder Littledike says they are million dollar homes even though they are on small amounts of land and they aren't too big. The cost of land is really expensive.
Elder Miles' bedroom
Here is the biggest shocker, Elder Johnson got assigned to the exact same ward as me and we are staying in the same apartment together. That was pretty exciting to find out and also means I’ll be with him for at least the next 12 weeks. For the first couple days I was eating dry corn flakes and sleeping with no pillow until we were able to run to Wal-Mart.
So we had bikes for the first several days until they brought us a van. Good thing to cause my butt was killing me. After the meeting an elder that was aunt Dixie's neighbor said “Hi” and I think his last name was Orme. Then another elder told me he can see it in my face that I’ll be a great missionary, which was pretty cool.
So the usual schedule is get up at 6:30, run to the little gym in the apartment complex and work out till 7. Then get ready till 8, personal study till 9, and companionship study until 11 (its two hours until I’m done with training). Then we go out for a little, lunch at 12 (we have an hour so I usually get a quick nap in), then head out until dinner at 5. After dinner we do some more proselyting until 9, plan for the next day, and repeat (over 700 times (haha)). Monday is my P-day, so that’s when you can expect emails. We have the same morning schedule and then have till after dinner to do anything we want to do. We just went shopping, did laundry, and slept, but you can use that time to go to DC every other transfer (so every 12 weeks). We can also go to the temple every other transfer or we can take investigators to the Visitor’s Center anytime.
We had to start from scratch with investigators because my companion was just transferred here, but he was here earlier in his mission which has been helpful. We don’t have any solid investigators yet, but we have several potentials. We've actually done lots of street contacting and door knocking because members in this area don’t refer many people. That’s mainly because nobody here knows their own neighbors, which is pretty weird.
As you can imagine it is super humid and we get really sweaty, especially when we are on bikes. One of our potential investigators is a lifeguard, named Rich that we ran into while he was outside on his break. He said religion confused him, so we gave him the first lesson about the restoration and told him how Joseph Smith had lots of confusion too. Anyways it went really good and we gave him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration packet to read. Then before we left he told us how all morning his mom had been telling him that he needed to "find Jesus". He thought it was crazy how we happened to show up when we did. He also said we have a good "aura" about us and he liked how he felt and we explained that it was the spirit. We called the next day to see if he wanted to go to church, but he couldn't because he had work. He said he read the packet and is going to read book and wants to talk with us after he does. He is probably our best chance right now at getting an investigator.
We've given out lots of books and cards, but we haven’t got too much out of it yet. Lots of people say they read the bible and that is enough for them. Most people are nice and say no, but some shut the doors in our faces. One guy sitting on his porch drinking and smoking with his shirt off told us he believes there’s a God, but everything else about religion is just made up stuff so that people can get money off suckers that believe it. That was an interesting conversation and he said he felt bad for us (haha).
There are tons of different ethnicities that we've run into. There are tons of people from Ghana and many missionaries learn to speak their language (Twi), but most of them are in the Mt. Vernon zone. I hope I get a chance to go there eventually. We watched the AP's talk to some people from Ghana at the airport and they got their contact information. They really light up when you starting speaking their language and it really opens them up. Also lots of missionaries learn Spanish, including elder Littledike. He taught two people on the street in Spanish while I just sat there (haha), but I really want to learn so I can join in on the fun.
I've learned tons and grown a lot even just in the last week. It’s really true how the Lord works in mysterious ways. Personal study time is really awesome and I love that time to learn as much as I can. I’m working hard every day to get better and be the best missionary I can be! Love you all!
- Elder Miles
|MTC District and 2 MTC teachers on the right|