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Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014 - Allergies!

The spring has been awesome and I'm loving the weather, but my allergies are killing me! The pollen has been really bad this week and my eyes have been itching like crazy. To make it even better I have a runny nose too! In spite of all that it has been a good week.

Elders Miles & Smith at the top of the Masonic Temple
We visited a Masonic Temple last Monday in Alexandria with some other missionaries. George Washington was a Mason and there was a huge memorial for him. We were all wondering where the Joseph Smith Memorial was since he was a Mason... It was interesting to see the similarities between that and our temples. We took the tour, but they only let us see floor 1, 2, 3, 7, & 8. When I asked what is on floors 4-6, they wouldn't say. At the top we had a great view of Alexandria and we could see DC in the distance.

At dinner last Sunday, Brother Peterson told us some information about George
Elder Miles at the George Washington Memorial
Washington.  
He talked about how our church building is built on what used to be George Washington’s property and a picture on the wall in the church of George Washington was specially painted for our building. George Washington designated that spot of ground as a choice piece of land.

I might be getting transferred on Thursday, but I won’t find out until Tuesday night. I will send an email on Friday letting you know where I am, so don't send all the wonderful stuff you are planning on sending me until then! I have a feeling I might stay... but you never know! If I stay I will almost hit my year mark in only my 2nd area! I am excited that Mothers day is coming up because we get to Skype home! It’s hard to believe Christmas was that long ago.

Here is how our investigators are doing. Zohra is still awesome as ever. She is working at Walmart, getting ready to start teaching primary, and going to institute. She didn't teach primary yet - she just sat in and watched how to do it this week. She will have a partner to teach with and she is excited about it. She taught school in Afghanistan a little bit. She is going to make us dinner on Tuesday because I might be leaving. If I do leave, I will be most disappointed about not getting to teach her anymore. It has been an amazing experience. I will definitely be coming back for her baptism whenever it may be! 

Ian would be ready to get baptized but he is having trouble with smoking still. He will take some time but he has made so many improvements since I've been here. I will really miss Ian as well.

President Riggs sent out an email to the whole mission. Here is a piece of what it said: "From 2:00 - 4:00 pm on May 17, we will have the opportunity to have a 3-mission conference where we will be taught by Elder M. Russell Ballard (Quorum of Twelve Apostles), Elder Whitney Clayton (Presidency of the Seventy), and Elder Wong (recently called to the First Quorum of the Seventy). The meeting will be held at the stake center next to the temple." I am really looking forward to this! I am surprised it is only two hours long. Have a great week everyone!

Love, Elder Miles
Elder Miles
Inside George Washington Memorial

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

We had a great day yesterday! Thank you for the Easter packages and letters! We ate Easter dinner with a family in the ward and it was amazing. He is a former mission president. They served in Hungary. They have a super nice house and they are really classy. When we first got there we sat down and talked to Brother Peterson for a little while and he dropped tons of knowledge on us. He was talking about George Washington and his relation to the church and Moroni. He blew us away (haha). Brother Peterson was telling us about when he talked with President Kimball. The dinner was super fancy and good. We were eating with golden utensils and had those lap napkin things. I always feel weird when I have to use those (haha). It was really good and we had a great time talking with them.

After dinner we did some tracting. We used the Mormon.org video titled "Because of Him" as our approach and we showed it to several people (on our convenient iPads!) and they really liked it. We met several really cool people. I really like talking to people, especially when they are nice (or crazy). Either way, it’s fun to meet people. I have become so much more comfortable talking to strangers. Sorry mom I know you're not supposed to talk to strangers, but it’s for a good cause :).

Zohra got sustained as a primary teacher yesterday in sacrament meeting and she will start teaching next week. She just finished 2 Nephi, so she is making pretty good progress on the Book of Mormon. Most of our visits are us answering questions about what she has read because we finished teaching her everything a long time ago. We are going to start reviewing some of the lessons, but she knows it all really well already. We taught her about Easter last week because she wasn't sure what it was really about. After we explained what the meaning of Easter is, she asked: "So what do the bunnies and eggs have to do with it?" We started thinking about it and honestly I have no idea! (haha) If anyone knows you should tell me about it.

Last week we went to DC for preparation day. It must have been Mormon Day in DC because we talked to tons of people who are members of the church. Most of the mission was there because it was such a nice day. We had a good time seeing the cherry blossoms, monuments, and museums. It is really tiring walking around DC and I felt like I spent a day at Disneyland because of how sore my feet were (haha). On the way home, we accidentally took the metro like 20 minutes past our stop because we weren't paying attention, but we made it back in time. Whooops!

It’s hard to believe that the transfer is coming to an end soon. Each transfer is faster than the one before. If you blink, you miss it! I am guessing that I will get transferred (May 1). If not I will spend almost my whole first year in two areas! That would be crazy. I have loved it here in Mount Vernon and we have had tons of great experiences.

We have been talking about sacrifice a lot lately in the mission and we talked about it yesterday in Gospel Principles class at church. We have to make a lot of sacrifices in life, but none of them compare to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us. When we show our faith through sacrifice, in order to do His will, we are greatly blessed. I have been working really hard on giving up my own desires in order to do what the Lord wants me to do. I really love this quote from Joseph Smith: "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." It is through sacrifice that we can become like Christ. It is a sacrifice to serve a mission, but it is one that is so worth it.

Love you all!
Elder Miles


Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Hello! 

Elder Miles and the Cherry Blossoms
Sorry I don't have much time to write! We went to the Cherry Blossom Festival today in DC. It was awesome, but we were a little late. It was at its best a few days ago. We also went to the Natural History Museum (Night in the Museum). We went to the Smithsonian and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. It was really fun and there were tons of missionaries there.
Smithsonian Castle
Jefferson Memorial

Zohra got a calling this week as the 8-9 year old primary teacher! She is really excited about that. She also started her job at Wal-Mart.

It was a fun week and I will write more next week! Love you!


-Elder Miles
Elder Miles at the Natural History Museum
The Mall
Elder Miles at the Martin Luther King Memorial

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 7, 2014 - General Conference

I had been looking forward to this weekend for many weeks and it finally came! It was like Christmas morning! It’s crazy how the time flies. I feel like we just watched conference not too long ago. On my mission, I have gained a strong desire for spiritual knowledge. I love listening to the prophets and reading my scriptures! I love the feeling of listening to them speak and having the Holy Ghost teach and testify to me at the same time! To be honest, this was the first time that I have watched all the sessions of conference and stayed awake and focused the entire time. I got so much more out of it then I have in the past. It was also the first time I have taken notes while watching conference, so I am guessing that is the main reason I didn't get drowsy. I have a testimony of taking conference notes now (haha). I look forward to re-watching the talks and reading over my notes. Like President Monson said, everyone should study these talks. Listening to them once isn't enough!

We had good success with getting investigators to watch conference. Four of our investigators and 1 less active member watch conference with us. Hopefully more watched on their own. We watched 4 of the 5 sessions at the church and the other one we watched with Zohra. Zohra watched all 5 sessions including the priesthood session! She really loved watching conference. After the last session we ate dinner with Zohra and the family she is living with. It was awesome to see Elder Michael John U. Teh speak in conference. He came and spoke to our mission several months ago and we all got to shake his hand. There were many really good talks, but some of my favorites were Gary E. Stevens, Elder Bednar, President Monson, and Lawrence E. Cowbridge.

One topic that stuck out to me was discipleship. Elder Rasband said to "take up the joyful burden of discipleship". The wording was interesting to me. Being a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ can be difficult and challenging, but it is also very rewarding and brings true joy into our lives. Many people want it to be easy or "comfortable", in the words of Elder Holland, but if that was the case then it wouldn't be as rewarding. Serving a mission isn't easy or "comfortable", but it so rewarding. I'm so glad that I chose to serve.

I’ve heard the cherry blossoms here are amazing in the spring time. We haven't seen too many yet because of the cold. We are planning on going to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC next Monday. The weather was great this week (high 60's and low 70's). I wish it could stay like that because the summers here are hot and muggy. It has been nice to bike around in some good weather for once.

Love,
Elder Miles