|Elder Miles and Elder Oyler|
I got transferred this past Thursday for my first time! I spent 6 awesome months in the Ashburn Stake - Algonkian ward and now I've been moved to the Mount Vernon Stake - Mount Vernon ward. My new companion is Elder Oyler from Filer, Idaho. He just turned 19, so I am yet to be older than any of my "junior" companions (haha). He has been out for one transfer, so I am finish training him. He is a great kid and we are getting along great. I was also assigned to be the District Leader for the Mount Vernon District. We have five other companionships in my district (12 total missionaries) which is a pretty big district. The zone leaders are in my district, one set of sisters, and 3 sets of Elders. When I found out who my zone leaders were I got super pumped! They are both from Lone Peak! Elder Jeremiah Van Dyke and Elder Allen Hawks. Elder Hawks graduated in 2011 and Elder Van Dyke in 2012. We live really close to them and we get rides with them, so it’s crazy to have 3 people all from LP together. This will also be my first transfer without a car (of course right when winter is starting).
It actually has been very warm here for the last several days. It got up to like 67 degrees and sunny, so it definitely doesn't feel like Christmas time right now. The area that I have been moved to is known throughout the mission as being very ghetto and packed full of Africans (mostly from Ghana). There is even an apartment complex known to missionaries as "little Ghana" because it is like 90% African.
|Elder Miles' apartment in Alexandria|
My apartment was definitely a down grade. When I first got here it was super dirty and messy, so I assumed it was one of those missionary apartments that has been open for years. Turns out it was only opened less that 5 months ago! That's what can happen when you don't clean for 5 months I guess... I’ve cleaned it up a little and it’s looking better (haha). The worst part about it was when I looked in the fridge and the cupboards and saw nothing... I was used to my last area and having a fridge and pantry so full that we were stuffing food into whatever space we could find. Now I don't think that will be a problem. We don't shop till Mondays, so I’ve been surviving on what little stuff there was. I’ll be buying plenty of food today to make it up! I might just waste away.
I had the opportunity to give a baptismal interview less than 24 hours after becoming a District Leader. It was an investigator that was being taught by the Zone Leaders. He was a guy from Ghana and he didn't have a car, so we did it at his apartment. While everyone waited out in their front room, we went into his bedroom and sat on his bed to do the interview (haha). It went really well and I’m glad I was able to do it. It was a great chance for me to teach and testify. We weren't able to attend the baptism the next day because we couldn't get any investigators to come with us. We have several investigators who have said they want to be baptized. One needs to quit smoking first and the other works on Sunday, so he needs to come to church a few times. This area has some very humble people looking for help and I’m so grateful that I have the blessing to be able to share the gospel with them. I also gave another blessing to a less active member who has some health problems. At first I was thinking "I don't know this person", but it was better that way because I was able to go by the spirit instead of relying on me knowing their needs. It was a great experience.
This past week we had a couple of meetings for trainers. One of the meetings was at the Mission Home with President and Sister Riggs and the Assistants. There were only 14 trainers at the meeting which made it a great opportunity to learn from the mission leadership in small groups. We split into four stations to learn different things and then we would rotate every 45 minutes. I love anytime we have to listen to President Riggs and this time it was even better because we were in such small groups. He talked about how to treat your new companion and the need to set a great example for them. When this portion was done, President Riggs said "Hey Elder Miles I was looking at your thighs. How much do you squat?" I told him I didn't really know (haha). He was just blown away at how muscular my legs are I guess :D (haha).
The second day I was here we got to go up with the office Elders and a few others companionships to direct traffic at the DC temple! We got there, they strapped some reflective vests on us, told us where to go, and gave us lightsabers! Not really :(, but they did give us light sticks to direct traffic. It was super busy that night and they filled the Visitor Center, temple, and church parking lots all the way up (over 700 parking spots). The road to get to the temple is just a little two lane road and it was packed and pretty crazy!
Have a Merry Christmas! Love you!