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Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013 - Halloween Party!

We had our ward Halloween party this last Friday and it went really well! We had three investigators show up and one less active! It was a chili cook off and then a Trunk or Treat. I only had one bite of chili and then everyone started showing up and I got busy talking. It was really great to introduce the members to some of the people we are teaching and to get our investigators more comfortable with the church. We also had the primary program yesterday and one of our investigators (who also came to the party) came and brought her daughter. She had been to one in the past and said that this year wasn't as good as before (haha). Her daughter is 18 years old and pretty severely autistic. She is really great. She always brings us sodas when we come over (haha). She came to the party and when we were all cleaning up she started shooting a basketball and she couldn't miss! It was pretty crazy (haha).

I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but at the beginning of this transfer they split several of the zones including ours and now there are 10 zones. This last week at district meetings it was announced that we will be getting Ipads in mid December!!! That was pretty exciting. We will be able to get on Facebook and stuff too. We don’t know too many details but the Zone Leaders are being trained on how to proselyte online. We were all super stoked, then they announced something else... After the new year, all missionaries will be required to wear man purses (shoulder bags). The 12 say that backpacks make us look like salesmen. I’m not too excited for that one to say the least (haha). We had interviews with president Riggs this week. He talked mostly about how the work has been hastened and we have been saved for this time. It was pretty cool. He is coming up to our zone to play basketball today, but none of my roommates want to go. We are going to the Arlington Cemetery today instead.

We seem to have very good timing cause we always run into people as they are pulling into their driveways, which makes it kind of awkward (haha). We haven’t had too much luck this week besides the Halloween party. We didn't teach too many lessons or find new investigators, but we've stayed positive. All we can do is keep working hard and being obedient. There is no use in being negative cause that just makes things worse! I can’t think of any really good stories from this week to tell, but there are always interesting conversations. Some people won’t open the door so we just talk through the door and Elder Seely got a rejection when he tried to shake a guy’s hand (haha). People weren't too interested in talking during the Redskins game last night either.

We haven’t been having too much success in terms of numbers lately, but the work is definitely going well. It talks about success in Preach My Gospel as being your commitment, obedience, and progress. We are doing all of those things and I know we are being successful missionaries. I’m learning and growing a ton and having fun. I know if we just keep working hard and doing all we can to improve that we will be blessed with people who are ready to accept the gospel! I've been reading in Ether and chapter 12 verse 6 is very good. It says miracles don’t happen until after the trial of our faith. Our faith is being tried, but I know we will see miracles. They won’t come when we want them to cause everything happens in the Lord's time!

Chase has told me his playing time has gone up slowly. Sorry if I can’t write much today. My computer is being super slow. I have heard BYU is looking better and I can’t believe Hoffman is passing everyone. We are still teaching the Indian guy but he is super busy with work. The Syrian family moved to New Jersey and we are trying to get their address to refer them. We teach between 3 and 10 lessons a week. We tract for about an hour a day. I will probably be in Sterling until Dec. 19 which is the end of next transfer. We have like 10 regular investigators.

Love you
-Elder Miles

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013 - Sweater Weather!

Elder Miles and Elder Smith from LP
It’s been a little chilly around here lately. The last few nights I got pretty cold riding my bike, so today it was time to break out the sweaters! The leaves here are changing color, but not as much as I would have thought. It’s going to be really pretty when they all change. It’s coming up on Halloween and we aren't allowed to go out to work on Halloween night. I guess people wouldn't like our missionary costumes. Instead we get to go to the stake center as a zone and watch some movies! We are going to watch Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University. I’m pretty excited for that. Also, we have our ward Halloween party this Friday night and we are hoping to have some of our investigators there that have little kids. Our Bishopric changed a few weeks ago and the new bishop is awesome. I think that it will be a great change and I think we will see some great progress in the missionary work.

I've learned a little bit more about the cost of living out here and its crazy... One of our investigators is moving and he is selling his house for 600k. It’s a nice house, but not too big. Another investigator was saying that her town home cost over 400k! So even the poor people out here are rich! She wants to move somewhere with mountains and I suggested Utah would be a good place! The guy that’s moving has been talking to missionaries for a long time, but hasn't been too interested. He loves talking to missionaries and being friends, but he’s never really progressed. We've been working hard with him the last few weeks and we've seen progress. He has started reading the Book of Mormon and says he will definitely keep reading it. He thanked us for helping him come closer to God. He also said that I have pushed him the hardest of any missionaries in the last several years (haha). He is a really great guy and I had him add me on facebook.
Elder Johnson, Elder Mathews, Elder Miles, Elder Seely

A little more info on our greenies. Elder Seely likes golf, baseball, and basketball. He worked for a bee keeper in Mount Pleasant. He turned 19 in September, so he is actually older than his dad (Me) (haha). He has improved a lot in the last few weeks and is doing great! Elder Mathews (Elder Johnson's companion) is from Mesa Arizona. He played football and is pretty cool. Not sure what else to say...

We've had some fun tracting experiences this week, but this one was definitely the funniest. This guy answers the door and he is pretty crazy looking. He squints at us and sticks his head out the door and says "oh my gosh... what kinda cult are you? I’m just kidding i know you’re Mormons. I really like Mitt Romney. Also, I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.... and another woman.... (as he’s backing away) and another woman... and another woman... jk I’m just yankin your chain. I’m atheist." then he slams the door and locks it. Me and Elder Seely busted out laughing (haha).

The Transportation
One thing that the mission has really been emphasizing in our teaching is talking about the spirit. When we teach the restoration we are supposed to first talk about the spirit and how to recognize it and how it feels, so that they know they are feeling it during the lesson. We tell them that when they feel it that is the spirit telling them it is true. Then we teach up to the first vision and remind them about the spirit. Then we give the first vision and pause. During the silence I can feel the spirit so strong and I know they can feel it too!!! We then talk about how they feel and invite them to be baptized right then when the spirit is strongest! We haven’t had too many opportunities to use this yet, but I have definitely felt a difference. The spirit is so thick in the room after we talk about the first vision and I love it! Things are looking up and I’m excited for what’s to come!

Love you!

-Elder Miles

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

It has been a pretty exciting week! The other day I ran over a squirrel with our minivan. That was a neat experience. I had my first crash on my bike and it rained for 4 straight days!

We were driving back from a meeting on a two lane road through a cool area with tons of trees. It was a nice October day and the weather was splendid. Then I see a squirrel up the road on the other lane. There was a car coming fast at it so it decided to come my way... RIP. That was the first time I've hit an animal with a car and it was pretty gross (haha). It’s been raining for 4 straight days and we've been in a continuous state of getting soaked, drying off, and then repeating. There are several small wooden bridges in our area and thanks to the rain, they are pretty slippery. I slid on one and had my first crash (haha). Don’t worry - the bike is fine! Also Elder Seely did an "over the handle bars" crash right into the mud. It just happened to be right next to a super busy road and everyone probably saw it. The other Elders crashed as well (haha).

We have done a lot of tracting this past week. It’s been raining, so the hope was that people would let us in because they feel bad. Also, tons of people are off work because of the government shut down and we were hoping that would increase the teaching opportunities. That wasn't really the case. It has been really good practice for the both of us. Tracting is great because we can evaluate and get better at each door. We had some funny stories and we found a couple of new investigators.

Elder Miles - looking good!
One night it was raining and we had been tracting for almost two hours with not much luck. We were about 5 minutes from needing to head back home. I had the impression we needed to pray. After praying we knocked a couple more houses and still got nothing. Then as we were about to leave we saw one house with a TV on inside. We decided to knock one last door. We ended up with a new investigator and came back the next day and taught her another lesson. It was a great experience and testimony builder on following the spirit and the power of prayer. We also tracted into another family from Syria who we taught the first discussion to on the door step. When we got to the first vision he said "keep going! This is so exciting!" They loved it so much they agreed to be baptized right there! Then we asked them when we could stop by again to bring them an Arabic Book of Mormon. He said it would have to be the next day because they were moving to New Jersey in a couple days. Bummer. We took them the book and they were really excited about it. They had gone on, read the pamphlet we gave them, and they said when they get to New Jersey they are going to go to a Mormon church. We are going to refer them to some lucky missionaries there pretty soon (haha).

Last night we knocked on a door and some lady yelled "Who is it" through the door. We told her "It’s the missionaries!". She then told us to go away and that she wasn't interested. I told her that what we have to share would bless her and her family’s lives so much. In response she yelled back "What would make me the happiest right now is if you would leave." (haha). The day before that, an older African American guy answered the door. We were being friendly and asking how his day had been. Then I noticed a big happy birthday balloon behind his head, so I asked whose birthday it was. He didn't like that. He said "Why are you being all inquisitive and lookin in my house!?" We ended up talking for awhile longer but he wasn't interested.

-Elder Miles

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 7, 2013

Hello again! This is Elder Miles reporting from Sterling, Virginia!

Transfer meetings were this last Thursday. My companion, Elder Aland, is now home in San Diego. I was with Elder Aland until transfer meeting. President Riggs in his last email to me said "The Lord knows you are already a leader."

The Outgoing Companions
Both of my trainers are already home which doesn’t happen very
often. I got to keep lots of their stuff which saved me (mostly my family) some money. We had some trainers meetings with president Riggs and the AP's before getting my new companion. My new companion is Elder Seely from Mount Pleasant, Utah. He graduated same year as me, but he just barely turned 19. He is my most quiet companion, but he is great! I made sure to take him tracting before we did anything else! President told us to do that and let them go first, so I did (haha). I remember that moment so I can feel for him because it’s pretty awkward and scary, but the only way to get over it is to do it a lot. He has made some good improvements in the last few days. He played golf, baseball, and basketball at North Sanpete. Elder Johnson’s companion is from Mesa and we were talking a little about Mesa CC. It’s strange being the one with the most experience cause I feel like I just got here! We have a total of 6 months experience between the 4 of us in our apartment (haha).
Elder Seely and Elder Miles

At transfer meetings I got to talk to Josh Smith (from the football team last year). Also Jake Larsen’s dad (football team mate last year) came up to me after priesthood session. Apparently they just moved into a nearby ward. It is always great to talk to a familiar face. It’s crazy how many people I have seen out here that I know or who knows somebody I know.

We have been able to catch a lot more people home in the last few days because everyone is off work, thanks to the government shut down. We also didn’t get to go to the zoo today because of that, plus it is raining really hard right now, so it wouldn’t have turned out anyways.

General Conference was great! Sad to say that is the first time I’ve watched all the sessions (haha). I really liked Elder Ballard’s Saturday afternoon talk on missionary work. President Monson’s, Elder Bednar’s, and Elder Holland’s were all good as usual too. It was really hard to focus the whole time because I kept getting drowsy. It doesn’t help that we get little amounts of sleep, it was dark, quiet, and comfortable (haha). It’s incredible how much I’ve learned from the scriptures already. I gain a greater understanding and knowledge every day. During General Conference when they would quote scriptures I knew where they were reading from and I could quote it with them!I’m weighing about 210 now a days (all pure muscle).
Golf? Anyone?

Not much else to report, but thanks for all the prayers and support! Love you all!

-Elder Miles

p.s. it is a down pour outside right now