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Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 - Last email

We just got back from DC. It was fun to tour the city for the last time. It could be awhile until I get to come back. It takes a lot of walking and it really takes it out of you. 
Elders Johnson Miles on one final visit to DC

This last week wasn't too eventful. We went on several more exchanges with Elders around the mission. We also had our departing temple trip on Wednesday. We went up in the morning and went to a session. Before the session started President Riggs, the temple President, and his wife all spoke to us. Afterwards, we took pictures outside and went to Café Rio. I look forward to attending the temple more frequently. The spirit is always very refreshing.

I believe I said this last week, but it honestly doesn't feel like my mission is ending this week. I have loved being a missionary. It was pretty difficult and tiring at times, but it was so worth it. I think as this week progresses the nervous feeling in my stomach will keep getting worse. It is a sad thought to think that I will be leaving, but I am also very excited. 

President Riggs and Elder Miles at the DC Temple
I'm sure I will feel a mix of emotions at transfer meeting. 
After the departing missionaries bear their testimonies the whole mission sings "Onward Christian Soldiers" as we walk down off the stage. That will be a very special experience.

4 days until Elder Miles' return to Utah
After the meeting, we will all stay at a hotel because the mission home is being cleaned out for the new mission president. We will all have a life talk with President and Sister Riggs then go to bed. In the morning we will all wake up really early and head to the airport!

I'm excited to see you on Friday!

Elder Braden Miles

Washington DC South Mission

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 15, 2015 - Departing interview

This week we had our departing interviews with President Riggs. Usually when he does interviews with missionaries they are about 15 minutes. For departing interviews he talks to us for 30 minutes. We were not aware that we had our interviews until two hours before it started. Our zone leaders got the times to us late... so I wasn't able to think about to many questions to ask him. It was a really good experience. Mainly he talked about how great of a missionary I have been :D and gave me advice and counsel for my future (school, work, marriage, etc). A lot of his advice is stuff that he tells everyone, but there were several things he said he felt prompted to tell me that were specific to me. He also offers to give everyone a blessing at the end and of course I accepted. That was a great spiritual experience. It was pretty hard not to feel good about myself after the interview.

We met with President Riggs yesterday afternoon to talk
Elder Miles at a location know as "great falls"
about our assignment. While we were there he said he won't be available to play me in 1 on 1 during preparation day before we leave. He offered to pick us up this morning and take us to the stake center so we could play. He is very good at basketball. He is not super athletic, but he can shoot and he just knows how to play the game. Plus he is tall. He usually destroys missionaries when he plays them (one missionary has beaten him). We played best 2 out of 3 (going to 11 by 1's and 2's). I beat him the first game 11-6 and the second game 11-7. I was pretty winded after, but it was worth it. I feel like my mission is accomplished now (haha).

I started making a list this week of the things I have learned on my mission. I have really come to love studying the gospel. Before my mission I would read my scriptures for maybe 5 minutes a day right before I went to bed. Let me tell you, that felt like a big sacrifice! Now I wish I had more than an hour to study every morning. I have gained a lot more gospel knowledge during my mission and more than anything, I love learning from the spirit. I have come to recognize the edifying influence of the spirit and when he is trying to teach me something.

Learning to recognize the feelings and promptings of the spirit in my life has been a huge blessing. That was a bit of a struggle for me before I left. I questioned whether or not I had ever felt the spirit before. Obviously I had, but the adversary was trying to tell me otherwise. Now I would be lying if I denied the feelings I have felt in my heart and mind - especially the spirit confirming the truth of the gospel and the Book of Mormon.

I have also learned a lot about developing Christ-like attributes (patience, humility, charity, etc). I feel like I have made great strides in a lot of areas, but I am still working on it just like everyone else. So don't expect me to be perfect :). Some of my favorite spiritual experiences have to do with charity and seeing other people as Christ sees them. I feel blessed when I get a glimpse of how God feels about each of us. I know he loves us more then we can comprehend.

I have also learned a lot about less spiritual things including planning, using time wisely, teaching, public speaking, etc. These are just a few of the thoughts I have had this week. I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity I have had to serve a mission. I can't believe it is almost over. I have been thinking about being a missionary my whole life and now, all of the sudden, it is coming to an end. I also get nervous when I think about leaving because I don't quite know what to expect. I am very excited to come home and see what life has to offer me, but it will be hard to go.

Thank you to everyone for all of the love and support!

Yours truly,

Elder Braden Miles
Another picture from "great falls"

Another picture from "great falls"

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015

Elder Miles with Harrison Littledyke (his trainer) -
Harrison is working in Virginia this summer
It was another good week full of exchanges and meetings. I am not sure what else to say about it... Nothing too exciting happened on exchanges, its pretty fun to help some of the younger missionaries. We had the last mission leadership council of our missions. That will be the last meeting with President Riggs until transfer meeting on the 25th. I'm sure that meeting will be crazy because it will be the last mission conference before the Riggs leave.

I receive a text message from Zohra this week. We are going to meet her for lunch at some point this week. It will be good to see her before I go. I hope I can see a few other recent converts as well before I leave. Zohra said she is doing pretty well right now. She is going to school and doing some work as a translator on the side. She also just bought a brand new car.

Elders Miles and Johnson with their
"super trunkys" - flight and departure info
Part of our "Super Trunkys" is a letter from President Riggs encouraging us to write down our testimonies, conversion stories, goals for the future, etc. It is really hard to describe in words how much my mission has blessed my life. I am going to try to start writing some of those things down over the next couple of weeks.

When I think about coming home I have a lot of mixed emotions. I am excited to see everyone and get back to doing a lot of things that I love. I also get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realize that I don't have much time left. It is about the same feeling that I had before leaving on my mission. It will be hard to leave a place and people I have come to love. I have heard missionaries say that going home is like leaving home for the second time. I find that very true. It will be strange going home because I feel like I have just been a missionary my whole life and this is how it will be forever. When Elder Johnson and I talk about it we feel like there is no way we are going home in a couple weeks.
Visit to the White House

Love you!
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission
Elders Johnson and Miles behind the White House.  The top floor is the Obama residence.
The door is to the Press room.
Elders Johnson and Miles by the door to the West Wing where the Oval Office is.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015 - The Eagle is in the nest

It took almost an entire year, but finally the member followed through on his promise! Last year when I was in the Burke ward one of the members offered to take us on a White House tour. When the day came, he had to cancel because something came up. The same member is moving in a couple weeks and he wasn't busy today, so he took us on a VIP White House "tour". It wasn't much of a tour actually. He signed us up for an "appointment" to meet with one of his buddies as a cover so that he could show us around. We had to walk about half a mile from where we parked on a sunny, humid, 90 degree day all while wearing our suits. It was super muggy and hot.

In order to go in we had to take off our name tags and go by our first names. That was really strange. He also told us he wouldn't be able to be much of a tour guide since he wasn't technically supposed to give us a "tour" today. We had tags that showed we had an "appointment". He did show us around a little bit and gave us some background story as we walked around but it was very low key.

We started off in the west wing where all the important people have offices - including the President. We were unable to go in the oval office because President Obama was in there working. We walked past the door and there were several tough looking secret service guys. He was literally just on the other side of the door from us! That was pretty crazy. We walked through the rose garden (which is where the President has tea with all the famous people when they visit) and several other really famous rooms.

We got to step into the press conference room for a moment and see where the President speaks when he is on national television. The room was much smaller than I thought it would be. There were a bunch of people from the media in there, so we weren't able to get a picture at the pulpit. :'(. We met the member’s friend briefly. He is the head communications guy for the President and basically follows him around 24/7. We had lunch in the Dwight D. Eisenhower building next door and then took off. All in all it was really cool. It was also a lot smaller and less crazy/intense in there then I thought it would be. We just walked around like we belonged there and nobody cared. We got a few pictures on the member’s phone. I will send those home next week once we get them from him.

This week we trained the whole mission on how to plan for lessons. There were four different conferences and we went to each of them to train the missionaries. It was pretty fun. During our Zone’s Conference on Friday President Riggs took about 90 minutes and told stories from his life and a lot from his mission. It is cool to see how he is a normal guy and went through a lot of difficulty just like everyone else. We also went on several exchanges with Elders during the week. It is strange that missionaries look to us for advice and training. I don't feel qualified. I still feel like a new missionary half the time! (haha) 

There is no way that I have been out for 23 months... It is a blast being with Elder Johnson and traveling around the mission. I am so grateful that I have had this opportunity to serve a mission. It has been a huge blessing. 

Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015

Our schedule was thrown off a little this week. The AC was broken in the car that we got, so we took it into the dealership on Tuesday morning and we still haven't gotten it back yet. We assumed it would be a pretty quick fix, but they haven't even called to give us an estimate yet. For two days we were on foot until we finally got a loaner car until ours gets out of the shop. The dealership won't give us a straight answer as to when it should be done. That has been pretty frustrating. Due to the car problems we had to reschedule one of our exchanges, so we only had three this week.

The Office Elders think they're funny!
It is pretty fun traveling the mission with Elder Johnson. On Saturday, we had an exchange with some Elders that live close to where Elder Johnson and I lived in Algonkian. We stopped by the old apartment for a minute for old time's sake. It was crazy to think we served there 18 months ago. President Riggs liked what we have been training the missionaries about so much that he is having us present it to the mission this week.

This week we are receiving "Tiwi's" in all of the mission vehicles. They are little boxes that track where you are, how fast you are driving, and lots of other things. If you get too many warnings they take away your driving privileges. Luckily, we only have to deal with them for a month. While those are being installed we will be doing our training with all of the missionaries.

It has been fun to be back in the Burke ward. Last year there was a member that was going to take us on a tour of The White House, but he had to cancel on us. He is moving in three weeks so he isn't working right now. I asked him when he is going to show us around The White House and now we are going with him next Monday!

Elder Miles' latest cooking
experience - fried chicken
We don't really have any investigators to work with right now. It is hard because we started from scratch and only have 3 days each week to work in our area. Hopefully we can get some things going with our limited time.

I am honestly not sure what else to write about... Not all that much happened this week. Love you all!

Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 18, 2015 - My last transfer!

Last week we received this email from Elder Miles -

I just read my weekly email from President Riggs. This is what he said: "I would like to meet with you after transfer meeting. The Lord has an interesting assignment for you."

I have no idea what that means... but I assume that means I am getting transferred. I will let you know next week what my "interesting assignment" will be.

On Saturday we received this email -

Elders Miles and Johnson with the mission transfer board

I was transferred back to the Burke ward on Thursday. Guess who my new companion is!?!? You guessed it! It's Elder Johnson! Our "interesting assignment" is that we are traveling assistants. President Riggs said technically he isn't allowed to have 4 assistants, but that we are basically traveling assistants. He told the mission we are "traveling 
trainers". We will be on exchanges with others Elders all over the mission 4 days a week. I will fill you in with more details on Monday.
Love you!

Here's this week's email -

I found out what my "interesting assignment" would be on Monday evening last week. Elder Johnson called and asked me if President Riggs had talked to me. I told him no, but explained the email that he sent me. His response was that we were definitely going to be companions! He said he received a similar email, but then he learned more when he ran into President Riggs later in the day. I don't remember all the details, but essentially from everything he gathered he figured we would be companions. He called me just to confirm his suspicions. He was told we would be some sort of "traveling trainers". That got me super excited and all
Elders Miles and Johnson in President Riggs' office
week I was pumped for transfer meeting.

Everyone was pretty shocked when we were put together because most people know we are really good friends. We were in the MTC together, roommates for 6 months, and were in the same zone for 3 other transfers. It was just fitting for us to finish out together as well. President Riggs announced to the mission that we would be traveling around the mission to train missionaries. After the meeting we met with him briefly to learn a little more about our assignment. He told us that he received some pretty strong spiritual impressions about the need to extend this assignment to us. President Riggs said "the missionary department says I can't have 4 assistants, but if I could you would be called traveling assistants". Instead we are "traveling trainers".

Our assignment is to spend the entire day with a companionship to train them on the work 4 times a week (Tues-Fri). We will leave our apartment after studies, spend the entire day training and working with them, and then get home at 10 or later. We are going to be doing this with some of the younger companionships that will really take our training to heart and apply it. We are really excited for our assignment, but exchanges can really wear you out. We are going to be pretty tired by the end of this. We will only proselyte in the Burke ward Sat-Mon, so it will be hard to get as much work done in our own area.

We have some pretty nice perks as well. We have another Ford Fusion which is one of the nicest cars, we get extra money (since we will have to eat out a lot), and we have really comfy queen size mattresses. It was awesome to see some of the members of the Burke ward again at church yesterday. A lot of people remembered me even though I wasn't here too long. President and Sister Riggs are speaking in other wards every week before they leave, so they weren't at church. Their 3 daughters were all surprised and excited that I am back in their ward.

At the same time I was sad to leave the Manassas 1st Ward.
Elder Miles with Sophia and Destiny
Mostly because I wanted to be in the ward when Destiny and Sophia get baptized and so I could make sure they are ready for the date we set with them. I trust Elder Wagner will do a good job though. I will still get to go back and attend the baptism next month. They were both sad that I was leaving to a new area as well.

It is going to be a really busy final transfer for us!

Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 - Happy Mothers Day!

Elder Miles at the site of the Battle of Bull Run
Remember how while we were Skyping yesterday you asked if I have crazy experiences while tracting? Well last night we went tracting right after dinner (by the way the members made us the best salmon I have ever tasted. It was amazing). After about 30 minutes of knocking doors, we see an Asian looking guy getting his mail. As usual, we approach him and start talking to him. After talking to so many people over the course of my mission, I can tell very quickly the level of someone’s interest in what we have to say. In the first 30 seconds of talking to him it was apparent that he wanted to "teach us a thing or two about Jesus". For the next hour or so he told us all about how all we need is grace and the bible is God's only word. He talked basically the whole time. At one point I looked over at Elder Wagner and he had the most blank stare on his face I have ever seen (see Acts 20:9). At the end he invited us to read the bible and seek for truth. We informed him that we do that every day, thanked him, and continued knocking doors.

Elder Miles with a statue of Stonewall Jackson
After receiving that hour long sermon, we visited a "lost sheep" on the ward list. It was a Cambodian family and they had some sort of party going on. Some drunk guy basically dragged us into their house and was trying to make us sit down and eat some food. I escaped the drunk guy and started talking to some of the other people. Elder Wagner wasn't quite so lucky. He ended up "entertaining" the drunk guy for about 10 minutes. He said the guy made him pray for him and was trying to hold his hand (haha). The people I talked to were pretty cool and want us to come back sometime. We never did find the guy on the ward list though.

Destiny and Sophia are doing great. They were going to
Home at the Battle of Bull Run site
come to church, but Destiny was pretty sick. They are coming this upcoming Sunday. Hopefully I am still here in the area (I will find out tomorrow if I am getting transferred). We started teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. We are getting better at teaching really simply, so they can understand. I also feel like they are learning a lot and getting better at comprehending the gospel. We have another lesson with them tonight and then they are going to mutual on Tuesday. They are both really excited to get baptized on June 13th!

It is hard to believe I will be starting my last transfer on Thursday. I want to make the most of it!

Until next week,
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

"There stands Elder Miles like a stone wall" - Elder Braden Miles

"GQ pose" - Elder Braden Miles

Cannon at the site of the Battle of Bull Run

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 4, 2015

Elder McInerny, Jason, and Elder Miles
This past weekend was great! On Saturday morning we had breakfast with the Stake President and his family then went straight to Jason's baptism. One of the members from the Singles Ward baptized Jason. Elder McInerny and I were asked to be the witnesses. Jason is a really tall guy, so we were afraid it might take a couple of tries. It took about 30 seconds to help them get situated in the best spot so that Jason wouldn’t smack his head on the wall (haha). When he was walking up the stairs out of the font I heard him say to the guy that baptized him "Wow. I feel amazing". He bore his testimony afterwards and it was really powerful. He talked about how he knew he needed God in his life, so he was attending a bunch of different churches. He was throwing down on other churches a bit and it was pretty funny. He said he could tell they were teaching false doctrines and all they wanted was money. Then he talked about how strongly he could feel the spirit as soon as he started learning about the church and he knew right away it was what he needed in his life.

While we were teaching Jason we told him about how amazing he would feel after he got baptized. During his testimony he was like "Man, you all weren't lying about the feelin!" He is so in tune with the spirit. He already knows how to recognize and act on it. I talked with him after about if he has considered serving a mission (he is 19) and he said he is going to pray and ask God if it is something he should do. I have no doubt if he prays about it that he will go on a mission because of how close he is to the spirit. He would be a powerful missionary! He has already been getting his mom and sister to go back to church (they are inactive members) and he has been trying to get his friend to come to church.

Larry and Elder Miles
On Sunday, Larry (that we passed off to the other missionaries) showed up at our sacrament service. We asked him why he was at our meetings and he said he was following the map on his phone (thinking he was going to the other building) and he just showed up at ours. He has told us several times he likes our ward better, so that might have something to do with it... (haha). He was the last person to get up and bear his testimony during sacrament meeting. Everyone in the ward loves him and they were all on the edge of their seats listening to him. He told a story about an event that changed his life.

He was in the navy, played college football (defensive end), and was a professional boxer. Back then he was not a religious guy at all. He picked up a guy on the side of the road because his car broke down. The guy ended up pulling a gun on him and trying to steal his car. To make a long story short, he heard an audible voice tell him what to do and he ended up getting the gun and turning the guy into the police. He felt that God had saved his life and that caused him to instantly change his life. He was telling the story in detail over the pulpit and it was pretty crazy!  At the end of his testimony he was like "I guess I am going to be what you call a convert too because I am going to get baptized.” After sacrament meeting everyone swarmed him to tell him how much the loved his testimony.

The member that had been Jason's fellowshipper was already having Jason, his mom, and us over for dinner, so she invited Larry to come join us and he did. It was really fun. I might not see any of them again if I get transferred next week, so I am glad it all worked out. Then we took a recent convert from the ward to the "New Member Fireside" and it was good as always.

Harrison Littledike (my trainer) moved to Manassas to do summer sales, so we are going to go to lunch with him sometime this week hopefully. Destiny and Sophia are doing well and we are having a lesson with them tonight in a member’s home.

Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015 - Squirrel Bomb

This week we had lunch with Robert (I taught and baptized him in the Braddock YSA ward). He came down to Manassas and took us to a really good pizza place. We got a huge pizza for all of us and it was $30. He has been doing really good. He has done baptisms at the temple 4-5 times already and is almost finished reading the Book of Mormon. He received the Aaronic priesthood and is working on getting the Melchizedek priesthood right now. He also has a calling that has to do with family history work. He is getting married in California on June 20th, but they are going to live in Virginia still. It was great to talk with him again. He wants to take us out one more time before I leave.

Destiny and Sophia have been doing great. We have been teaching them twice a week and they have learned a lot. They went to mutual on Tuesday and played "food fear factor". They met a lot of the youth in the ward and had a great time. They were pretty nervous before hand. When it was their turn during fear factor they both had to eat baby food (haha). That was the first time I had been to a youth activity on my whole mission and it was a bit strange. Since so many people live in their house, we meet new people every time we go over there. This week we met two of their male cousins that are in high school and we gave each of them a Book of Mormon. Both of them are interested in learning more and we hope to start teaching them this week. The first time one of their cousins sat in one of the lessons with us, Destiny and Sophia told him about how fun mutual is and about how much the gospel has changed their lives. It is awesome to hear investigators share their testimonies with other people.

We also taught Chris and Katherine on Monday. They are great investigators, but it has been really hard to stay in contact with them. They have crazy schedules and sleep during the day. We are really focusing on finding new investigators this week because the rest of ours have slowly fallen off.

We had a couple of exchanges this week. On Tuesday, while I was with one of our district leaders, one of the members of our ward came to a lesson with us to teach a less active family. This member is usually a bit difficult, but after the lesson he sincerely complimented us on how "beautiful" the lesson was. On Friday, I went back to the Braddock ward on exchanges with the assistants. While we were in their apartment getting ready for bed some other Elders opened the door to their apartment, threw in a very large plastic Easter egg, and yelled "squirrel bomb". I felt like the whole world was in slow motion as the egg hit the ground and a squirrel flew out and started running around their apartment. We spent the next 10 minutes trying to chase it out the door. It was pretty hilarious. I am just glad it wasn't my apartment (haha).

We had zone conference on Friday as well and it was really good. It was President Riggs last zone conference. We taught the zone about how to qualify for the spirit using a talk by President Eyring titled "Serve with the Spirit". We didn't have a whole lot of time, so it went really fast. Then yesterday we had a regional stake conference. It was broadcast from Salt Lake City to all the stakes in the Northeastern US. Elder Anderson and Elder Hales were the main speakers. I saw Jason and Larry (old investigators that we passed off) at the conference. Jason is getting baptized this Saturday. Larry told me he is getting baptized for sure, but doesn't feel quite ready yet. It was good to see both of them.

Elder Braden Miles

Washington DC South Mission

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

There are a couple of really exciting days coming up soon! Jason (that we passed to the Singles Ward) is getting baptized on May 2 and Larry (we passed to the other Manassas Ward) is getting baptized on May 9! I am really excited to attend their baptisms. The best investigators that we have right now in our area are the two Cambodian/Hispanic girls that we have been teaching. Their names are Destiny (14) and Sophia (15). On Monday night Destiny sent us a text that said she had a question about baptism. We asked her what the question was and she responded by saying "I want to get baptized". It wasn't really a question, but I will take it.

We had a lesson on Thursday while I was on exchanges with one of our District Leaders. They have both been reading and praying. It has been a slower learning process since they are young and have a Buddhist background, but they have had some cool experiences. We were talking about how faith is like a seed and I asked them what blessings they have seen in their lives since we started meeting with them. They both shared several examples and were beaming the whole time. Then we read about baptism from 2 Nephi 31 with them and invited them both to "follow the example of Jesus Christ". They both accepted and we set the baptismal date for June 13! They both really want to have "a fresh start".

President Riggs met Destiny when he came on exchanges with us back in March. We were supposed to have a lesson with their uncle who is a member of the church. He wasn't there, but we asked Destiny if she would like to learn about Jesus and she told us she would. After we left, President Riggs told us if we could start teaching her she would get baptized within two months. It won't be within two months, but it was still pretty prophetic.

This transfer we had two wards added to our zone which also puts the stake center in our zone boundaries. All of the Elders in the zone are getting together today to play some basketball. I am pretty excited because I haven't played in a long, long time. We also have Zone Conference this upcoming week. It will be President Riggs' last Zone Conference, so I am sure he will make it very good. We also have to present on "the qualifications for having the companionship of the Holy Ghost".

The weather has been beautiful and I love being a missionary!

Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015 - Transfer week/cherry blossoms

It was transfers on Thursday and Elder McInerny got moved
Elders Miles and Wagner (from Heber City)
to a new
area. We were together for a long time. We did work and had fun. My new companion is Elder Wagner. He grew up in South Carolina and then moved to Heber City when he was 10. Turns out uncle Hal was his Young Men's President while he was a Priest. He has been out for 18 months and is in his first Zone Leader area, so I am "training" him on how to be a Zone Leader. He graduated in 2013 from Wasatch High School. He is a pretty funny kid and I think we will have a good time together. It will probably only be for five weeks because this is a short transfer and President Riggs told me I will likely train for my last transfer.

I am currently writing this email on my iPad while we are riding the metro into DC. We are going to see the Cherry Blossom Festival... And basically the whole mission is going today from what I've heard. I
went last year and it was pretty cool. Hard to believe that was a year ago. It is a perfect day to be in
Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial
DC. It’s 75 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze.

We are trying to build our teaching pool again now that we had to pass off several investigators to other wards. We met a girl and her fiancé the other night while we were tracting and they were pretty cool. They were outside grilling, so we sat down and started talking. She asked us several questions about Adam and Eve as well as what happens when we die. We used the Book of Mormon to answer her questions and she loved it! She was really excited to read it. She was even telling her fiancé all about how we answered her questions using the scriptures. They didn't come to church yesterday, but we are going to stop by this
week and hopefully we can start teaching them.

Our investigator, Brittany, got into some anti-Mormon materials this week and had several questions for us. She said she needs to keep reading and praying before she lets us know if she wants to continue learning. I feel like we did a really good job answering her concerns and testifying to her, so I am hopeful that things will turn out. She is gone right now because of a family members health concerns, so I will update you on her in the future.

The guy we helped dig a hole a few weeks ago made us ribs this week. We helped him sort some stuff in his garage and he grilled some ribs :). Last time he made us some really good burgers, but because we wouldn't accept payment he wanted to make us ribs.
Elder Miles at the Cherry Blossom Festival

We are teaching another part-member family right now. It is a huge Cambodian family and several of them are inactive members. Right now we are teaching a less active guy in his 20's and his two non-member sisters that are 14 and 15. They have been reading and praying every day. They have a Buddhist background so it is going slower, but they are really interested. We are having a lesson with them tonight in a member’s home, so they can meet some young women their age.

(Stopped typing to walk around DC)

The cherry blossoms were not as good this year, so we only stayed
Elder Miles on the Metro
in DC for a couple hours. There were tons of people there and lots of
missionaries. We are just going to head back and relax for a little

Love you!

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015 - General Conference brings blessings

In the western most part of the mission
We had an awesome week! We could tell it would be a great week because we had a lot of solid appointments set up. Surprisingly, most of them actually happened! We had a lesson with Jason on Monday at a member’s house. He had dinner with the members before we got there. When we sat down for the lesson the members said "Jason, tell the Elders what you told us". He then told us that he was planning on asking the bishop at church the next week when he could get baptized! We hadn't even talked with him about baptism yet because this was going to be our first real lesson with him. He has loved everything so far. We watched conference yesterday morning at the member’s house with him and he soaked it all in. He read from the Book of Mormon and had some good questions for us too. We have another lesson tonight with him and we are going to choose a baptismal date with him. We are also passing him off to the singles ward missionaries because we feel that would be good for him. He will most likely get baptized in early May and I look forward to attending!

Doing service at a member's farm
We had a lesson with Brittany on Wednesday. She is going through a rough time due to some health concerns in her family. We showed her the new Easter video put out by the church and we teared up a little bit. I hope we brought some needed comfort to her life. She talked about how she knows it wasn't a coincidence we were there that night. She knows that God put us in her life and she is very excited about it. We talked about baptism with her and she said she has never felt the desire to be baptized in her life until now. Hopefully we will be putting her on date this week as well. She watched all of the Saturday sessions of conference by herself and really loved it. We haven't heard back if she watched the ones yesterday.

This week we introduced Larry to the Elders in the other Manassas ward (he lives in their ward boundaries). He was very intrigued by our church... then he watched conference! He had Saturday off of work so he told us he would watch the sessions at his house. After the first session we asked him what he thought and this was his response: "I found it quite enlightening. Many of my questions were answered by the speakers during their presentations, and it makes me eager to witness what follows in the later sessions.

After the second session he sent us this text: "Awesome! Powerful! I'll be at the Stake Temple (he meant stake center) for the 8:00 session." We were also there for the priesthood session so we had some time to talk with him there. After the session our bishop started talking to him and invited him over to watch conference at his house the next day (this is making it very hard to pass him off). After the morning session we met him at the Bishop’s house for lunch. We were talking to him and in a summarized version he was amazed by conference and wants to join the church! He also asked if we could bend the rules and keep him in our ward :). He will definitely be getting baptized and whichever ward it is in I will be there! Conference is great.

Yesterday we had breakfast, lunch, and dinner with
Braden Vaughn Miles (BVM) Rox!
members. First time that has happened on my mission. They were all amazing. We had dinner with a family that is very "well off" and it was incredible. We love eating at their house. They also had some family friends over. The mom has been reading the Book of Mormon and had a lot of questions. She has loved it and we hope to teach them soon! This week was amazing and I wish every week could be this good!

Elder Braden Miles

Washington DC South Mission
This is know as the best view in the mission

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015 - Sleeping in meetings

I will start out with how church went yesterday since it is fresh on my mind. We had three investigators at church - Jason, Larry, and Charlotte.

Jason is a referral from a young woman in our ward that we taught for the first time this week. He is 6' 8", African American, and played football and basketball in high school (he graduated last year). He went to our church when he was 3-5ish with his mom who is now inactive I guess. He told us he prays all the time, but still feels like he is missing something. He wants to have the church in his life really bad. After sacrament meeting he told us that he felt really good and wanted to have that feeling in his life all the time. Sadly, we will be passing him off to the Elders in my previous ward this week because the singles ward would be much better for him.

Larry is an African American guy in his 60's with a super deep voice. Seriously this guy has the coolest voice. He came to church during my second week in the area about three months ago and then went on vacation and disappeared. This week he just showed up at church unexpectedly! Everyone in the ward loved him last time he was here and the people flocked to him after sacrament to welcome him back. He made a lot of comments in gospel principles class and his word is law. When he speaks everyone listens. All of his beliefs are already in line with what we teach and he has read some of the Book of Mormon and loved it. He is the man. Once again, he doesn't live in our area, so we need to pass him off... Why does this always happen!?

Charlotte is the fiance of an inactive member. I have mentioned her in past emails. They only stayed for sacrament meeting and then had to go somewhere.

Service for their fellow man
We have a crazy schedule for this week. We have 6 solid lessons with investigators in the next 4 days and we have members set to come to each lesson. We are very excited for the work in our area right now. It seems to have slowly improved each week this transfer.

We did service for a guy on Wednesday that we talked to several weeks ago while we were tracting. We offered to help with service and he actually accepted (which surprisingly never happens)! We are helping him dig out a huge portion of his back yard so he can put a patio and a fire pit back there. His backyard is really sloped, so we are digging out a lot of dirt. He can't get any machinery back there because of his fence, so instead we just heave all the dirt over the fence... (haha). That was only the second time I have done service in this area and it was a nice change. People always think we are crazy because we basically beg them to let us do manual labor for free.

"Tired, Elders?"
I went on exchanges on Friday after our mission leadership council. I got to spend the day back in the Braddock ward! I got to see a couple of people I knew. We had correlation at my old ward mission leader’s house. This is where the picture of me sleeping comes into play. The topic came up about how the assistants don't get very much sleep and how I look a million times better now that I get regular sleep. The Elder I was on exchange with pulled out that picture of me and Elder Raban sleeping in a meeting. We had a good laugh about it. I remembered back to a time when I fell asleep in a whole mission conference and I am not sure if I ever shared it. So I fell asleep with my head resting on my fist with my elbow on the arm rest. My elbow slipped off, my head started falling, and I jolted awake. I quickly looked up to see if anyone noticed (which is a regular procedure for falling asleep in meetings). Turns out the whole mission saw it and everyone was staring at me! It was really funny and we laughed about that for awhile. Let’s just say I really enjoy the amount of sleep that I get now days.
Homemade by Elder Miles!

Good bye!
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission