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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