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Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014 - Elder Kopischke visit

Elder Kopischke, Elder Raban, Elder Miles, Sister Kopischke
Elder Kopischke of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to visit our mission this week. He was here Sunday-Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday we had half mission conferences that took most of the morning and afternoon. He was very laid back, so both conferences were completely different. He just taught about whatever questions missionaries would ask. He taught some doctrine from the scriptures very well. He had scriptures for every question asked. I would love to know the scriptures as well as he does.

Fall Colors
On Wednesday we had a mission leadership council with Elder Kopischke. Once again, he just taught as the spirit directed him and it was really good. After each meeting he would interview several missionaries that President chose. Elder Raban was interviewed on Monday and I got to talk with him one-on-one yesterday. He asked about where I'm from, about how my family was doing, and what my plans are for after my mission. We talked about what I can do to make the biggest difference in our mission right now. He told me that I will need to be good at using the principles he taught me so I can be a good leader in the church. At the end he prayed for me and also for my family. He prayed specifically for my little brothers to be prepared and ready to serve missions.

This semester at George Mason University there is a class on Mormonism. The teacher is a Lutheran, but he probably knows more about our church then most Latter Day Saints. He has taught this class before at different colleges. He has written a book on Brigham Young and the pioneers. He also wrote an article titled "Mormon Envy". You might ask, "Why is he not a Mormon?" It's because he really loves our church but has a few doctrinal disagreements. The reason I tell you this is because we were invite to their class yesterday. Both us and the sisters in our ward sat in front of the class and did a question and answer with them. There were 13 students and they asked a lot of good questions. They ranged from "how do you pay for your mission?" to "what are your thoughts on plural marriage?” It was really fun! For part of their class they are also required to come to church this Sunday! Hopefully we can get some new investigators out of it!

Happy Halloween everyone! Tonight we are watching Frozen and Despicable Me 2 at a members home in the stake. They are having nearly 40 missionaries over for dinner and movies so I'm guessing their house is quite large. Have a great night and stay safe!

Love you!
Elder Braden Miles

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Sorry for the late email this week! We had an Expectations Meeting for all of the new missionaries on Monday. We usually have this meeting on the Wednesday following transfer meeting, but President and Sister Riggs were at a Mission President Seminar in New York. Elder Jeffery R. Holland was the presiding authority at the seminar. President Riggs has told us a lot about his experiences with Elder Holland. He said he ran on the elliptical right next to him in the gym. One of the days they got to go to the sacred grove with Elder Holland. We were nervous they wouldn't come back because they might all be translated (haha). President showed us a selfie that he took with Elder Holland. I don't think any other Mission President would do that except for President Riggs (haha).

Mission truck almost doesn't fit
While President was in New York we had two visa waiters come to our mission. Elder Raban and I had the privilege to go pick them up from the airport and take them to dinner. We took them to an awesome burger place in Arlington. The truck almost didn't make it into the parking garage cause the roof was really low. Elder Taylor is one of the missionaries and he went to Lone Peak and graduated in 2014. We don't know how long they will be here but for now they get to be trained by zone leaders.

We have started doing zone conferences again. We have them four days in a row this week. This round of zone conference we are teaching missionaries about the importance of prayer in conversion. President Riggs is focusing on the Atonement. When we truly understand the Atonement and experience its power in our own lives then we naturally will have a desire to share the gospel. The gospel is how we can access the blessings of the Atonement and receive Christ's grace and mercy. The Atonement redeems, strengthens, and sanctifies us. I'm grateful that we get to attend all ten zone conferences so we can continue learning about the Atonement and feel the spirit.

Elder Raban and Elder Miles
This Monday, after we finished the meeting for the new missionaries, we spent some time with President. We played two games that I have never played before. The first game was called bolf. The game is golf, but with a bowling ball. We went to a wooded area near a lake to play. You dig a hole in the ground with a shovel and see how many shots it takes to get it in. You can throw, bowl, or roll the ball however you want. I tied for second. President Riggs got first by a one point win. The second game was frisbee/disc golf. Apparently it is actually a big sport in some places. There is a course near the lake that we played on. It is the same type of rules except you try to get the frisbee into a chain basket. Once again I got second behind President Riggs. He is honestly good and wins at everything. It's pretty crazy.

Elder Raban and I are having tons of fun and getting a lot of work done. He is into guns, paintball, war history, and other stuff. He is not to into sports, but he likes to play. He was a trainer when I came out and he said he was really hoping to train me. Ironically he was actually the first missionary I talked to when I got out here. He came up to me and started asking about Lone Peak basketball (haha). When I was training I was hoping to train Elder Smith and now he is my roommate. Elder Timmons is from St. George and likes shooting guns and stuff like that. He went to SUU before his mission.

Next week we have a general authority coming to visit our mission for four days. His name is Elder Kopischke. He is from Germany and has spoken in General Conference twice. We will be having two half mission conferences on Monday and Tuesday, so once again there is no telling when I will have an opportunity to email you. I will do my best to find the time! It will be fun to spend time around him and get to know him.

Have a great week! Love you!
-Elder Braden Miles

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 - Transfer Week... again

Elder Miles
Being that it's transfer week and Elder Ni is leaving, I have another companion! It is Elder Raban! He was my roommate in my last area for one transfer and he also went to Lone Peak! He graduated the year before me and I didn't know him at all before the mission. I am really excited to be companions with him! Elder Ni still has two transfers left until he goes home. Elder Raban has three left in total, so I will probably be with him for 2 transfers. My new roommate is Elder Josh Smith again! He is going to be an Office Elder with Elder Timmons.

Another transfer week has come and gone even quicker than the one previous. I am already in my third transfer here (as an AP) and I’m now leading out the area. Especially now because we are so busy every day the time moves extremely fast. There really isn’t all that much to report for this week. We picked up the new missionaries and sent the older ones home! We had a special transfer meeting this time. The whole mission was invited to come and we watched the new movie "Meet the Mormons". I thought it was pretty well made and everyone enjoyed it. Any movie we get to watch is amazing anyways.

Elder Miles and companions in front of the White House
This is going to be a great transfer. I am really excited to be with Elder Raban. We will most likely be together for at least two transfers. We are having a lot of fun so far. We have Zone Conferences starting this week. Our assignment this go-round is to teach about prayer for 30 minutes. Last round of Zone Conferences Elder Ni and I had to practice teach in front of everyone... I think I am going to like the teaching a lot better this time.

It is starting to get cold here in NoVA (Northern Virginia), the leaves are starting to change color, and fall down. It has been in the 50's and rainy lately. I’m going to need to start pulling out my sweaters and coat pretty soon. I’m just glad we have a truck for when it starts snowing!

We get to watch movies again this year for Halloween. It has to be an animated PG movie. Next week send in your suggestions of movies that we should see! We are already talking about the Christmas conference. Our mission theme right now is to give Christ "our finest gift" for Christmas. It is based on the Little Drummer Boy Christmas song. We are going to collect ornaments based on how well we do and then decorate a mission Christmas tree at the Christmas conference.

Sorry that I don’t have that much exciting information to give you this week. To finish up this email I will give you a funny quote that I found. It says "You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership." - Dwight Eisenhower (haha - got a chuckle out of that one). Anyways love you all and have a great week!

-Elder Braden Miles

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 - Hello family!

We were very busy with meetings this week. We had online proselyting training for all the leadership of the mission. A couple missionaries that have been very successful trained everyone on techniques they have learned to be effective. On Friday we had another leadership meeting, but this one was a council. Every month we meet as the leadership and train and discuss the needs of the mission. I really enjoy this meeting. It gets pretty funny at points but it is also very spiritual. We also sat down with President and Sister Riggs for a couple hours on Tuesday after district meetings to discuss what is going to be happening in the next transfer. At the leadership council, we came up with goals and a vision for the last quarter of the year. We are going to finish off the year strong!

We had a sweet pass off lesson this week with some other Elders who found an investigator that is YSA age. When we got there they were already talking. The guy started asking a question by saying "so in your church, do you believe..." Then he corrected himself and said “I mean in our church, do we believe..." As you can guess he is pretty solid. He hasn't agreed to be baptized because he is still searching for an answer, but he is definitely sincere about it. Our best sources for finding new investigators has been pass offs, former investigators, and less actives who are dating a non-member.

We are now entering another transfer week. Wednesday we will pick up the new missionaries, Thursday is transfers, and Friday we ship off the departing missionaries. I am excited for the upcoming transfer and I hope our mission can have a great last quarter of the year.

The temperature is already dropping and the leaves are beginning to fall. I think it's going to be an early and cold winter... We have zone conference this transfer again. I feel like we just finished those not too long ago.

I am having such a great time! Even though we have a crazy schedule and don't get much sleep, I am really enjoying each day. I love learning more about the gospel through close association with President Riggs. I love serving a mission and I love the Lord!

Elder Braden Miles

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 29, 2014

I don't have anything really exciting to report from this week. 

Jimmy had surgery, so he couldn't come to church and we didn't meet with him. This week he should be feeling better. 

I went on three exchanges this week with zone leaders. One of our responsibilities is to go on exchange with the zone leaders from all ten zones every transfer. We only have a five week transfer, so we have to do them all in 4 weeks this time. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had back to back exchanges. On Tuesday I was with Elder Josh Smith(from Lone Peak) and Wednesday I was with Elder Johnson(from my MTC group), so that was awesome.

This week is when all of the craziness starts for transfers. A lot of sleep will be lost in the next two weeks! Yay... We have several meetings and we sit down with President Riggs to discuss the upcoming
transfer. We will give him our thoughts and suggestions on who should go where. I will probably be getting a new companion, so I can give him a lot of great suggestions on who it should be! (haha) It will be a great experience to lead out an area again. Hopefully I can remember everything we need to take care of over the course of the transfer!

Today, one of the Spanish zones is having a BBQ and they convinced us to pick up a members grill for them since we have a truck. We are going to grab some lunch there and then play some volleyball and basketball at the stake center. People always ask Elder Ni to play the piano when they do musical numbers in meetings. Sometimes on Monday he practices while I shoot hoops (we drag a piano into the gym).

I'm not really sure what else to write about this week... Yesterday we took the sacrament to a senior couple at their apartment. The Sister had surgery and wasn't able to go to church. It was a very neat experience and it was great to see the respect that they have for the sacrament. They had it all set up very nice when we got there. We get to see the senior couples a lot and it is great to learn from their experiences and examples.

With best regards,
Elder Braden Miles