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Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

This week we taught a guy from Trinidad named Martin. Elder Oyler and I tracted into him like 2 months ago. We have been calling him occasionally trying to set up appointments and we finally had a lesson! He is almost 60 and has lived here for almost 40 years. When we first started teaching him, he made sure to tell us that he wants to hear what we have to say, but that he isn't going to change churches. He attends a Pentecostal church in Alexandria and sings in the choir. At the beginning of the lesson he was slouched in his chair and not really focused, but by the end he was leaning forward and listening closely! It was really cool to see the spirit work in him and change him right there in the lesson. He got really interested when I shared the account of The First Vision. He committed to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He is also really interested in coming to our church service. I’m not saying he is ready to be baptized, but the spirit definitely touched his heart. We still have some work to do with him.
Elder Miles

Everyone should try thinking about our message from another person’s point of view. Most people are living comfortable lives, attending church occasionally, and reading their Bibles. Then we come along claiming that God has called Prophets today and that the same church that Christ organized is on the earth. We tell them God has revealed new scripture and we teach them truths about the Plan of Salvation that they've never heard before. No wonder lots of people think we are crazy and others are really interested in hearing it. It is huge news! I know it is true and I am glad that I have been blessed with the gospel in my life. Sharing what I know with others is awesome and it has strengthened my own testimony so much.

It has been really nice using our iPads in lessons to show videos and pictures. During a lesson with Ian the other day we showed him a diagram of the plan of salvation and he loved it! It really helped him to make a visual picture of what we have been teaching him. We have also showed Mormon Messages to less active members and to Zohra. It can really bring the spirit into a lesson when we watch something. After the lesson this was Ian's prayer "Dear Heavenly Father, bless us that we will be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. In the name of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Amen." I love teaching Ian (haha). He is slowing making progress and really wants to be baptized!

The weather is warming up and I really excited about that! I look forward to the coming weeks! This past week was a little difficult with the weather because it rained for several days and it was pretty cold. This upcoming week it will get up into the 70s and I am excited to wear short sleeves again! The last 9 months have gone really fast and it’s weird to think I am one of the more experienced missionaries now.


Elder Miles 

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014 - Transfers!

This past Thursday we had transfers. Elder Oyler was shipped to a new area and I got a new companion! Elder Van Dyke also got transferred. The Elder that replaced him is Elder Capt. He played football at Pleasant grove and knows Chase Hansen pretty well. He graduated a year before me. Me and Elder Oyler had a lot of fun together. I’m going to miss playing him in basketball on Mondays. He was the best competition out here. We could have taken any other companionship easily!

Elder Miles and new companion, Elder Smith
My new companion is Elder Dexter Smith. He is from Arizona. He used to live in Mesa, but currently his family lives in Scottsdale. Elder Smith graduated this past year with me and he is my first companion that I am older then! He turned 19 in February. All of my past companions, including those that I trained, were older than me (haha). Elder Smith is different then all my companions that I’ve had. He isn't much into sports or working out but I still get him to come to the gym every morning at 6. He went into the MTC at the same time as Elder Oyler (in October). We are getting along good and having fun. It will be a great opportunity to develop love and patience.

Zohra's(in blue) Afghani Feast
Zohra was sad to see Elder Oyler leave so she made us an Afghani feast! She cooked a bunch of her favorite dishes from home. It was a lot different from the foods I’m used to eating. I can’t remember the names of the foods. It was all pretty good and we ate a ton! After dinner we watched "The Testaments" with her while we ate homemade cheesecake and another Afghani dessert. She is so ready to get baptized and she is really excited. She is reading the Book of Mormon everyday and she is currently in the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi!

Elder Miles and Driss, from Morocco
Our other investigators are doing well. Richard is in Houston for the next couple of weeks and we are going to try and have some lessons on Skype with him. Rose is in Ghana for the next month for her dad’s funeral. Ian and Amy are still trying to quit smoking and the Jehovah's witnesses recently knocked on their door and took them to church... great! Ian says he likes our church better because we take the sacrament every week (haha). Anthony, Delmy, and their son Brayden are awesome! They are really cool and I love talking to them. Delmy and Brayden come to church, but Anthony has work. He has been reading the Book of Mormon quite a bit though. We have some great investigators. Now we just need to get them to take the next step!

Elder Miles with "Elder Stanley"
I’m still trying to get used to teaching with our iPads. I’m used to flipping to scriptures in my paper copy and I feel like that is a lot easier. It will take some getting used to finding them digitally but the iPad is lighter to carry which is nice.

Life is great out here in the mission field! My testimony, knowledge, and understanding are continuing to grow! I love feeling the spirit work through me to teach others about the gospel!

-Elder Miles

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014 - McDonald's

Hello! You probably weren’t expecting to hear from me today! The library is closed today, but thanks to McDonald’s free wifi, we are emailing on our iPads! 

Elder Miles and Elder Oyler at McDonald's
We were only supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow, but we got more than that. The weather has been so mean to us! It was in the 70`s several days ago and we were wearing short sleeves. The next day was in the 30s and we were in full cold weather gear! It has been a crazy last couple of weeks, but I think it should be settling down soon.

We had stake conference this weekend. We had an adult session on Saturday night and a meeting Sunday morning. Saturday night was not to exciting but Sunday morning was really good. We watched a live broadcast from SLC. The whole North East was part of this broadcast. We listened to the Stake president speak and then we watched several talks by members of the 70 and Elder Perry. That was awesome, but my favorite meeting was last night. There was a stake fireside that we went to last night with Zohra. Some Mormon choir from DC did a performance and a couple recent converts spoke as well. It was really good and it was a really powerful meeting. I loved the spirit I felt as we listened to the music about Christ and then heard the testimonies and conversion stories of newly baptized members. The spirit was strong! I wish we would have had more investigators with us because they would have felt the spirit for sure. I came away feeling really good. You can’t help but be happy after a spiritually uplifting meeting like that. Zohra texted us later that night thanking us again for taking her because it was such a great experience.

Obviously not everything works out with investigators, so there are disappointments. Naturally being with someone all the time for long periods you are going to disagree at times. The wards are not perfect and have a lot they could improve, but none of these things have bothered me to the point where it restricted the work. Some days are hard, but I am having lots of fun. I am doing great and there isn’t anything that you need to be worried about (haha). All is well!

I see people from Lone Peak all the time! Mostly in the form of Elder van Dyke. He goes home next February. Next transfer I will still be here as district leader and I will get a new companion of some sort. My district is doing well. We had two baptisms and several more upcoming. Not everyone is as hard working and obedient as they should be, but I am doing what I can to help them. I am loving my mission! It is awesome! We should be having several baptisms in April so that will be fun! 

Sorry for the short email, but these are hard conditions to email in!

Love you all!
Elder Miles

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014 - Great week!

This past week has been awesome!

Elder Miles along the Potomac River
Last week the sister missionaries passed a referral to us because it was a single guy. We finally were able to meet with him and he is golden! His name is Richard and he is from Liberia. While he was in Liberia his boss was a Mormon. He went to church 8 times with his boss and learned a lot about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He has even seen the Joseph Smith movie! Right off the bat when we first met him he was telling us that he wants to be a missionary. He kept asking us what he needs to do to become a member, so we told him that he would need to get baptized. We were having the lesson at the church and he asked if we could baptize him that night! We set a date for baptism for April 5 because he is leaving for Texas next week. We taught him the restoration, he pretty much knew everything and said he wants to help us teach people. That was really exciting! We have some great investigators right now!

The sister missionaries in my district (also in my ward) were having a baptism this past Saturday. It was an older single lady and all the members that she knew were sisters, so they needed someone to baptize her. They asked me to do it! I got to baptize her on Saturday and stand in the circle to confirm her on Sunday. It was a great experience to be able to baptize somebody! Ian and his friend Amy (that we have also been teaching) were at the baptism and it got them really excited. They want to be baptized but need to quit smoking first! It was a great service and I definitely felt the spirit!

Elder Miles and his new iPad Mini
On Thursday we got our iPads!!! Every missionary got iPad minis that we will keep for the rest of our missions. I heard that there are now 30 missions that have them. We had a four hour meeting to learn about them, get them set up, and to hear the rules. They are pretty locked down and we can’t download anything. The two main things that we use them for is for the gospel library app and the area book/planner app. It feels really good to have some technology again! The area book and planner are going to take some getting used to because it is harder to use then just a paper planner. In the long run after we get used to them they will be very helpful! At the meeting President Riggs talked about how these have been given to us to help hasten the work and they are to be used as proselyting tools. We didn't get iPhones and those might not come for a long time. It is really great to have access to the gospel library because we no longer need to carry around our bulky scriptures. During meals and free time I love to listen to general conference talks! I can’t wait until General Conference!
Elder Miles at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Museum
Washington's Tomb
Love, Elder Miles

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

We had an awesome Saturday this week!

In the morning we attended a baptism and took two of our investigators to see it. They both had a good experience and I did to. I will say that the singing wasn't too great and the talks were odd, but I could definitely feel the spirit. The lady that got baptized bore her testimony afterwards and that was awesome! After the baptism we went to the temple visitor center with Zohra. A member couple took us to lunch in DC then we drove up. The sisters at the temple taught Zohra about the temple and we watched a video about families being together forever. She really enjoyed it and said she hopes she can go in someday! She asked if her and her mom could be put on the prayer roll, so the member family did that while we looked around.

We took some pictures with Zohra in front of the temple, but I don't have my camera with me right now. I will send those pictures tomorrow. I will also send the pictures from our trip to Mount Vernon (George Washington's house) from last Monday. There is a little station at the visitor’s center and when we passed it I saw a familiar face. A guy in our ward was on one of the pictures. He has muscular dystrophy and is in a wheel chair. His name is Vance Taylor and there is a video about him on the website you should go watch.

Last week we received a referral from for a lady that we had tracted into a few weeks before. The first time we talked to her she didn't seem very interested, but said we could come back. We tried back a few more times and she was a lot more friendly and nice, but we could never seem to get an appointment or a lesson with her. We didn't stop by for a couple weeks and then she referred herself online. That was pretty surprising to us. When we went by her house she was really excited to talk to us! She had referred herself because she thought she had lost the Book of Mormon we gave her and wanted another one. Turns out she has been reading it! She started talking about how she works on Capitol Hill and knows some of the Mormon Senators. Then it looked like her eyes were tearing up a bit as she told us that all the Mormons she knows seem to "glow". She said "I don't know what it is, but you all have this glow about you!" She loves how Mormons are so nice and happy. We got an appointment for later this week. Then she invited us to come to the capitol building next Monday and she is going to give us a VIP tour! It is going to be awesome! It was a great experience and I hope that we can have a great lesson with her this week.

Rose is doing good. Her dad just passed away so we just met with her for the first time in a couple of weeks. She is also leaving to Ghana for a month so it will be awhile until she can get baptized.  

The food supply is okay, but definitely could be better. We had 6 people feed us this last week! That was a miracle! That’s more than the rest of the time I’ve been in this ward (haha).

We are getting our iphones and ipads on Thursday! It’s going to be a big day! We have a four hour meeting on Thursday morning and they are going to give us all the info we need to know! It’s pretty funny how I wasn't allowed to have an iphone before my mission, but now I get one while I am a missionary (haha). It snowed a bunch yesterday, which is why I am writing this email today. The libraries and schools out here close down anytime there is any snow. For our preparation day we stayed inside and relaxed. Elder Van Dyke and Elder Tang (the other Elders in the ward) came to our apartment and we played some games. It was nice to have a day to relax because usually preparation days aren't really that relaxing because we are either playing basketball or walking around some historical site. I also started reading "Jesus the Christ" and so far I really like it. It is about 800 pages, which is more than I probably read while in high school (haha).

I am really enjoying my mission and I love to see the change that the gospel can bring into people’s lives!

Love you!

Elder Miles