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Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013 - Christmas Conference

O Christmas Tree
We had our mission Christmas conference this past week. It was the first time that I have been together with the mission all at once. It’s interesting how many people I have never even seen before (haha). That’s probably because I’ve stayed in the Ashburn zone the entire time... but not anymore! 99.9% chance I am moving to a new area on Thursday (so don’t send any mail to my apartment at this point). I got a call from the AP's last night. They informed me that I will be a district leader next transfer and also finish training a missionary. That was pretty shocking. I have a feeling not to many 18 year old missionaries have been district leaders. I’m grateful for the opportunity, but it will definitely be growing experience. I’ve been in the same ward for six months (4 transfers), so it will also be a great experience being in a new area. Change can be scary because it’s not always comfortable, but I know it will be really good for me! I’m excited for new experiences and opportunities.

It has been pretty cold here (usually in the 30's), but it’s been fine because we have the minivan and we don’t have to bike. Hopefully, when I get transferred I will still have a car.

Elder Miles and the DC Temple Christmas Lights
So, at the Christmas conference we had a talent show (mostly singing), lunch, and the departing missionaries spoke along with President and Sister Riggs. It was fun and we even got some early presents. We got a "yearbook" with everyone’s pictures and info in them. Let’s just say I wouldn’t mind if I could retake my picture (haha). We also got some Christmas music, a letter from the First Presidency, and Washington DC South key chains. Along with that, we each received a "man card" (haha). I’ll send a picture of it. President Riggs said he will pull people’s Man (or Woman) Card if they break rules. We had the Ward Christmas party on Saturday and we had one investigator come.

Elder Miles and Elder Seely
Along with the Christmas season comes the opportunity to take people to see the temple lights. There are Christmas performances every night and nativity scenes set up from around the world. This has been a good way to start talking to people either on the street or while tracting. I think everyone in this area has seen the temple at one point or another. It is just right off the freeway coming from Maryland. Everyone we talk to has seen it, but might not know what it is. After we tell them the huge white castle on the beltway they know what we are talking about. That has been a good starting point of conversation with people. We were able to go twice this week to the temple - once with an investigator and once with a less active member. The first time it only took us about 40 minutes to drive each way but the second time it took us over an hour and a half thanks to traffic. The first time we were pretty much the only ones there and the show that night even got cancelled because of weather from earlier in the day. It was awesome and I got some cool pictures. The second time I went I ran into a DC North missionary that I knew - Kenny Schoemig. He helped coach football my junior year. It happened to be the night he was assigned to help with directing traffic at the Visitor’s Center.

The Christus Statue in the DC Temple Visitor's Center
I am doing awesome! I am eating good and sleeping good (I wouldn’t mind a bit more though). I haven’t got sick at all, but I've felt a little under the weather here and there. Could you say thank you to these people for sending me letters: Troy Gagon, Steve & Gina Brown, Larsens, Ryan and Maria, and Greg’s family. I would love to reply to all of the letters, but I don’t have much time to. Please tell them I appreciate it a ton and love getting letters :). I did get the package from you and both from Grandma. Also I got one from Greg and Nicole.

It was a great week and this next week should be even more interesting with transfers. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Elder Miles and DC Temple
I can’t wait to Skype on Christmas! I’ll probably have more details next week! Merry Christmas!

Love you!

-Elder Miles

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