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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014 - Temple Trip

Elder Miles and Elder Mathews at the DC Temple
We got to take our semi-annual trip to the temple yesterday. There are only four Mondays in the year where the temple is open, so because of Memorial Day it was open until noon. It’s about a 45 minute drive from where we live. We did that in the morning and then the member family we were with took us to Texas Roadhouse! It had been a very long time since I had eaten ribs :). Last time I went to the temple was when I was in Sterling rooming with Elder Mathews. I love going to the temple because of the spirit that is there. I wish we could go more often, but I guess I’m lucky to be able to go at all.

We still don’t have a washing machine or an AC. It hasn’t been bad lately because it hasn’t been as hot outside, but it is starting to warm up again. Our upstairs feels like an oven. I can’t even brush my teeth without getting sweaty (haha). Elder Mathews washed our clothes at the Zone Leaders apartment when we were on exchange, so that should last me a little while... The guy who owns the place was supposed to get it fixed a couple weeks ago. We will see how long it takes. Your prayers would be appreciated.

This week we helped a lady who is moving. We helped her load stuff into a huge horse trailer that she is using for hauling instead of a moving truck. We started talking to this lady because a member family lives across the street and they told us she could use some help. She is known to take in crazy people who are on drugs and stuff and she is moving to get away from it all. I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable living there. One of the guys there was looking absolutely wasted and she said he is on all kinds of drugs. It was pretty funny though because he didn’t even know what was going on.

The same family that told us about her has a 10 year old son who isn’t baptized yet for certain reasons. We visited them and they asked if we would teach their son so he could get baptized. They had tried in the past, but the sisters that taught him were "doormats" and "too serious" and he didn’t like that (haha). We were having a good time and connecting pretty well, so they asked us to teach him. He wants to get baptized and they are trying to pick a date. We have a lesson with them later tonight. We are probably going to do some mountain biking or something with them on a preparation day. We have some other people we have been talking to, but nobody to solid yet. We have been working really hard, so that will be turning around anytime now!

This is the true church and I wish I could help everyone to feel the same way I do! Not everyone listens and not everyone likes us (we also had two guys this week try to bible bash with us), but when we find people who are prepared, it makes it all worth it.

Elder Miles
Elder Miles at the DC Temple

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014 - Elder Ballard!

This was a great week! We had Zone Conference all morning and afternoon on Friday and then on Saturday we had our Tri-Mission conference with Elder M. Russell Ballard! The Tri Mission conference was from 2-4pm at the stake center next to the DC temple. All the missionaries had permission to leave the mission with their cars. It was about a 45 minute drive for us to get there. We were supposed to be seated by 1:15, but just to be safe and get good seats we left early and got there at 12:15. I think we were the last ones there (haha). It was already packed when we got there. Luckily nobody was allowed to be seated yet, so everyone was in the gym talking to people. It was fun to have some time to talk to people that I haven’t seen for awhile. I even saw a Hanneman (a cousin or something) who was in the Baltimore mission (it was us, Baltimore, and DC North).

When the time was approaching to be seated we started lining up at the doors of the chapel. When we finally got in the chapel was already full, but with my 20/20 vision I spotted two seats that nobody was sitting in. We snuck our way to the spot and snagged our second row seats! We were sitting on the side benches on the second row so we had prime seating. We were supposed to shake Elder Ballard’s hand at 1:30, but he didn’t get there until 2. When he walked in, everybody stood up. He was shorter than I imagined. It was awesome to see the light that illuminates from an apostle.

Elder Wong and Elder Christiansen of the seventy spoke first then Elder Ballard spoke for about an hour. He started off by telling a funny story about his mission. He served in England and back in those days they would stand on a box in a public square and start preaching. When he arrived they chose two of the new missionaries to get up and start preaching in public. He was chosen. He said he spouted off everything he knew about baptism in about a minute and a half. He said he was sure it made no sense and he felt bad because he didn’t know much. From then on he committed to learning as much as he could and becoming a great missionary. He also spoke about us talking to as many people as we can, about Preach My Gospel, and about being real with people. Several times while he was speaking he looked me right in the eyes. He also cracked some jokes. The spirit was strong and I learned a lot.

For personal study on Saturday morning I read a couple of Elder Ballard’s recent General Conference talks. Here is one of the quotes that I really loved from the October 2013 conference: "There is no greater joy in life than being anxiously engaged in the service of the Lord." I invite everyone to join in the hastening of the work if you have not already. That is where true happiness is found.  I know when we lose our lives in the service of the Lord that is when we find ourselves! The Lord has hastened his work. Are you keeping up?


Elder Miles

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014 - Happy Mothers Day!

Elder Miles
It was great to see everyone yesterday! Corey was the most different. He was so tall and his voice was deep! That was strange (haha). Time always goes really fast when we get to Skype home. I don't have too much to report on because we just talked yesterday, but I’ll write a little bit.

There is a big lake in our area (Burke Lake) and we spent some time talking to people there a
Elder Miles at Burke Lake
few days ago. It is a good place to talk to people because they are just sitting on the benches or taking a walk. It rained while we were there but we had our umbrellas. It is a pretty big lake and I am hoping that we can round up some fishing poles here soon and go fishing on a preparation day.

Boys and railroad tracks
I read the talk by Brad Wilcox at a BYU devotional titled "His Grace is Sufficient". I have heard it before, but when I read it yesterday it really opened up my eyes and made me appreciate Jesus Christ so much more. I encourage you to read (or re-read) it. ( I have grown to love and appreciate the gospel so much! I finished reading the book "Jesus the Christ" a couple weeks ago. I think it is the longest book I have ever read by far (almost 800 pages) and I loved every page of it!

I have grown to feel like Nephi did “My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart
Lots of trees around Burke
pondereth them… my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and hear.”  I am so thankful for this time to serve the Lord and come to know him better.

 -Elder Miles

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014 - Burke

I got transferred on Thursday last week to the Burke ward in the Annandale, Virginia Stake of Zion! It is also known as the ward that President Riggs and his family attend! We saw their family in sacrament meeting. I was told that President doesn't come very often because he has to speak in other wards nearly every week, but because of fast Sunday he was there. Burke is more central in our mission then my past two areas. It is a really nice area with tons of trees. There are a lot of forest/grove like areas that we ride out bikes through a lot. Yes I am on bike again... (haha). I was hoping for a car for the summer months, but for now I won’t have one. It is probably somewhere in the middle in my mission as far as average income of the residents. I’ve met quite a few members of the ward now and they seem great.
Elder Miles and Zohra
Our ward boundaries aren't too big but it will be hard to remember where our area ends. Both my past areas were the area between the Potomac River and a major road, so it was easy to remember what the boundary was.

My new companion is Elder Mathews from Mesa, Arizona. He played football at Mountain View High School and graduated the same year as me. If you remember, I also roomed with him for 3 months in the Algonkian ward! He was trained by Elder Johnson at the same time I was training Elder Seely so we already know each other pretty well. He has been out 7 months. He is awesome and we are going to have a lot of fun together. He has already been here for 2 transfers so we might only be together for one transfer. Speaking of Elder Johnson, he is now in our zone so I will get to see him every week too! I haven't met all of our investigators yet, but I will let you know more about them next week!
Elder Miles and an investigator family from Mount Vernon

I am still a District Leader and I have 3 other companionships in my district.  Our ward has us and a set of Sisters.  No APs or Zone Leaders here. It was sad to leave some people in my last area but I felt like it was time to leave and experience a new area.

My allergies have really been terrible this week. Yesterday was the worst! I have been congested and my eyes are really itchy and watery. I have been taking some medication but it hasn't helped enough! I’m going to buy some different meds today and hopefully they will work better. I could barely talk to anyone yesterday without sneezing! (haha) Elder Mathews had to take over on most of the tracting. It has been hard to sleep as well because I have to blow my nose so much. Hopefully this doesn't last long!

We live in a town home with one other set of Elders. Guess who is in the other
Town home in Burke, VA
companionship? Elder Josh Smith that I played football with at Lone Peak! He lives in the town home as well but they have a car and are assigned to a different ward. He came out at the same time as Elder Mathews. The town home has a lot of room which is nice, but it is not the nicest place.... It is kind of dirty and run down (haha). The AC is broken and the guy that came to fix it says that the whole system needs to be replaced. My desk and chair are not the best either but what makes it all better is that there is a Café Rio just up the road! I haven't eaten at Café Rio since I was at the airport in SLC before I flew out here so I am excited about that. I think we might go for lunch today :).

Everyone could definitely pray for our investigators!   Sending a Book of Mormon with your testimony would be cool as well.

Elder Miles