Hola todosThe exclamation key is broken on this keyboard, so I sound not very enthusiased but i really am, we had an awesome week. It was Elder Navas birthday this week, so we went to a bakery that we really like and the lady gave us a free cake. WOO. And the neighbors upstairs from our apartment brought us a cake and a firework too, it was really fun.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Hola holaI have the computer that cant do exclamation points or question marks again. BUT, I am VERY happy to be here and I had a killer week.
Enrique, our baptism from last week is still doing awesome, I will never ever forget him, he is aweesome. It wouldnt surprise me to see him in the bishopric in a few years. haha.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Well, transfers happened, but im staying here in Barranqueras 2 another transfer with Elder Nava. No problem, im just going to work harder to be a better companion and really take advantage of this time I have with Elder Nava to learn how to start taking more inciative in lessons and becoming more able to be independent on my own to run an area! So I willl be here with Elder Nava all the way until the end of december, so we will celebrate Navidad (Christmas) here with Elder Batt and Elder Pena. It will be fun!
With that being said, I dont have very much to report this week! We focused a lot on contacting this week, finding new investigators. So we knocked doors and walked all the days this week! Other than that, we are stilll having lessons with Enrique and he is stilll doing great, golden for his baptism on the . All of the other investigators that we have had previously have all fallen through.
Sometimes I stress myself out really bad that im not progressing and what not but I just have to remember to try my best in every opportunity and make my best effort to complete my personal goals.. and all will be okay! This transfer I really want to develop the ability to talk with everyone really easily.. Its the attribute that I want to develop most as a missionary, talking with everyone. So im really trying hard with that!
Well not much else for this week, I hope you all have a great thanksgiving. Thank you all for your emails and everything you do for me!
Family! hello!hope everyone is doing well! Just another week here. The only thing really worth noting that happened was , Enrique and Carlos both came to church. all of the lessons we had during church and the sacrament talks were all really really good and they both felt the Spirit a lot. Enrique is golden for his baptism .. I am super excited!! Its really going to happen this to time. haha. and Carlos hasnt committed to baptism yet but he is progressing really well. he believes that we were are teaching him is true and he is reading the Book of Mormon. Both Enrique and Carlos are super smart humans, the have a huge knowledge of the Bible. Now that Enrique has read a lot of the Book of Mormon I think he knows more about the gospel than I do. haha. They both are super perfect!!!
Its already december, how crazy. Contrary to many christmas classics, I actually will not be home for christmas. BUT, I only have to miss one more christmas away from home. I still get homesick a lot of the time but its getting better!
Well, same old, hope everyone is doing alright! Enjoy your snow.
Love, Elder Miles
Hope everyone is doing good! I had a pretty good, really hard week. I am really looking forward to transfers.. We found out what is going to happen tomorrow night. This week was just a lot of the same old.. Knocking doors all day, visiting recent converts, etc. A lot of our investigators that we had have all fallen through.. But, something really awesome did happen. We had a lesson with Enrique after about 4 weeks of not having lessons with him, and told us that he is ready to give up marijuana and he wants to get baptized! So he throw away all his pot on tuesday night, and he is doing great. His baptism is for the , we really think that it will happen. So that is really exciting!
This week the other Elder Miles and I had to take a trip to Corrientes to do more visa stuff and it was super fun, Corrientes is way way cool. We crossed a huge huge bridge, and Corrientes has huge catholic churches everywhere and it has really pretty beaches. It was a cool experience. So I got to be with Elder Miles that whole day, it was really nice. There is a McDonalds in Corrientes, and we ate there. haha. I got a triple Big Mac, I was in heaven. I didnt think to bring my camera, I wish I would have!!!
Ive been thinking a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ this week, and how it relates to missionary work. Preach my Gospel says that the more we understand the atonement, the stronger our desire grows to share the gospel and the love the people. So Ive really been trying to spend a lot of time thinking about the atonement this week, and I had some really good personal experiences this week. It really is amazing to think that someone suffered every single pain that we will ever experience, we will always have someone by our side that knows exactly how we are feeling. Through the atonement, we can do things we didnt think we could, become better people, change lives, anything. The fact that we are here in earth is due to the atonement. We are forever in debt.
Seeing and living in the poverty here has really changed my life and way of thinking, I cant even explain some of the things you see here! We have lunch with a family that is so poor but they are so humble and lovingly except us and make us really good lunches. They are so grateful that we come into their home and share the gospel with them.
Well, I want to take more time to write individually, but there is nothing really new this week! It was kind of setback from last week... Lets just say im super super ready for transfers.
I love you all so much and I hope you have a good week!
Love, Elder Miles
I dont have a lot of time at the ciber because the computers here are really slow, so I have to be short. This week was actually pretty good! Maybe it will start slowly getting better from here on out. Or who knows, probably not, I guess well just have to see what the new transfer brings. Sometimes I hope that I get put with another gringo that doesnt speak very well spanish so I have to be obligated to learn how to talk.. And sometimes I think I would love to stay with Elder Nava and slowly ease into learning how to talk to people better. Whatever the Lord gives me, I really do trust that he knows exactly what he is diong and he will provide the best for me.This week we found a lot of new investigators that are progressing. We have an investigator names Raul, who is a friend of one of the members here, and he has asisted church twice now and if he asists next week too we will be able to baptize him as long as he continues to progress. He is about 60 and lives alone. He likes what we teach him, and he likes how the church is. So hopefully that keeps going smoothly. We also found a new investigator this week names Valazgues, he is about 60 too and lives with his kids. He is really really nice to us and thigns are going good with him, but he didnt asist church this week, we dont know why. And we are still teaching two women from the family Aquino, but they dont ever keep their commitments and they didnt asist church this week either. BUT. I did talk to people a lot more, and Im feeling a lot better now. I just want to keep building that attribute of feeling free and easy to talk anyone and be really kind and friendly.
I had a couple really good experiences this week. The first is that we had a multi zone conference with tons of missionaries, and as part of the introduction into the lesson, I was asked to share a short 5 minutes message of something from preach my gospel. I shared about the Book of Mormon and it worked out really nicely. And after the conference was over, I had a lot of people tell me how impressed they were with how quickly my spanish has come. Even a lot of the natives gave me compliments It made me feel really good and it gave me a lot of confidence.
Also on that note, on tuesday night my companion says that I was sleeping talking all night.. IN SPANISH. YESSSS! haha. I usually dont ever remember any dreams I have, so I wouldnt know if I dream in spanish or not yet. But I sleep talk in spanish!!! WOOOO! He said all night I was saying, Eso es una pabada. Eso es una pabada! Over and over again, which means, That is so dumb! That is so dumb! haha. And a lot of other things but that is all that he could remember. So thats pretty cool! It really is getting hard for me to talk in english, my brain is starting to think in spanish. On thursday night we had a lesson with the family Aquino, and they all wanted to hear my speak in english, so I said the opening prayer in english, and I almost couldnt do it. I kept saying spanish words on accident and I had to tallk really slow. So the spanish is slowly starting to become not so much as an obstacle. For instance, I during that lesson with the family Aquino, we were talking to them about baptism, and for the first time, I dont really have to think about talking in spanish... I was just able to talk to them without thinking about the language. And it felt really really good to testify to them as a representative of Jesus Christ as we taught them the Doctrine of Christ. The live on the outskirts of town, on the edge of a great big lagoon, which is beautiful with a sunset and all the fireflies on the surface of the lake. They are poor poor poor, more pore than you can imagine, and it was just a really cool experience to see how far I have come. That was a really good day. And then later that night we had a lesson with Valazgues, and that as well was a really cool lesson for me that we gave about the Plan of Salvation where I was just able to talk and testify to him without really having the language as an obstacle. After the lesson, he thanked us profusely and he said, Thank you, I feel really really good when you guys come over. So yeah, ive had a pretty alright week actually! There are also really hard days, but for the most part this week was pretty alright.
I hope everything is going alright with everyone, I dont have a lot of time to write individually this week. I hope you all have an amazing week, I know Christ lives and loves every one of us.
Love, Elder Miles
Monday, November 3, 2014
the exclamation point and the shift keys are broken on this keyboard that im using and they only sometimes work, so its going to sound im depressed and have really bad gramar. haha. But thats not true, im just depressed. haha. just kidding.
this week was pretty alright! We moved apartments, we are now in the apartment right below our old one. We moved because now we will be able to install air conditioning in this one, im not sure why our last one couldnt have air conditioning, but were going to have it now! So last P day we spent all the day moving the furniture and everything, it took a really long time. I was greatful for my Red Door days though, because of my furniture moving experience, we managed to only break one bed frame. the new apartment is basically the same quality, some things worse, some things better.
I actually didnt do transfers this week with Elder Miles, but with Elder Coates, his companion, in my área. It was stressful to run our área without Elder Nava, but I managed to get through that day. my training is over in 2 weeks, which is when the next transfer is. Its not certain that I will get a new companion or move out from this área though, you never know. I might stay here another transfer with Elder Nava, or he will leave and another will fill his place, or vice versa, or we both might leave. I guess we will see when it comes! I would really love any kind of change. haha.
I also went on a Little mini división with Elder Anderson this week for like 4 hours one day, and while we were out he told me something that was really interesting. First of all, Elder Anderson is a stud missionary, and he is just over Little then a year. he told me that my ability to speak spanish right now is better than his ability when he had 9 months. Which is great, but thats not the point, im not trying to brag. he told my where im lacking right now isnt my ability to speak the language... its just that I dont have enough confidence in myself right now to talk to people. which is totally true!! I realized this week the reason why im not talking to people very much is just because I dont have confidence in myself.. Self confidence has always always been something really hard for me, and its even harder to have self confidence in foreign language, but ive been trying really hard this week just to oblígate myself to talk more, and the misión has been getting a Little better. im starting to see more progress. So my focus this week is just to be bold, have courage, ask people questions, and just talk more to people.
this week my relationship with Elder Nava got a lot better. ive been trying really hard to just talk and joke with him all the time, and our companionship has been getting better. We had a talkfor about an hour in our free time that night, and he told me all about his family in mexico and how its really sad how poor they are and how they want to find Jobs and money but there really is just nothing there for them to do and they cant do anything about their situaion. Its was really sad, he started to cry. So that was better this week, we are starting to have more unity.
Other than that, nothing much else has changed. We are just trying to focus ourselves in finding new investigators this week by tracting all day, and when we arent tracting we are visiting our recent converts in this área. all is good here, im learning a lot everyday. Im really excited for transfers. Im just taking it day by day, hanging in there !
Im really happy for the time that I have here to serve the savior.. I know the Savior lives, and im so glad that I get the chance to sacrifice my time to serve him. I hope you guys are all doing great and you have a good week! Chau!
Love, Elder Miles
This past week was better for me, I hope everyone is doing good too. It was basically just the same old as the other weeks, I just feel like we knock houses all day everyday and we arent really finding any lasting investigators. A lot of people will let us in for the first time and let us share something, but after that they dont want to let us come back and we dont really ever see them again! So we dont really have any real solid investigators right now, we only have the Aquino family, a big family which we have about consistenly 4 people listening to us, but nobody in the famly can read really and they want keep any commitments we leave them. Enrique, the person that we were going to baptise, has problems with the Word of Wisdom and he thinks that God is telling him that he should keep smoking marijuana. Haha. So we have to stop having lessons with him because he takes up a lot of our time and he doesnt want to quit smoking. So other than that, I just feel like we contact all day everyday and we arent having much success. Ive heard from a lot of people that this is one of the hardest missions in South America. The church isnt very established here, we dont get very much help from the members, and nobody really wants to talk to listen to us. The dont call it Resistencia for no reason! It means resistence in english, and its true, the people here are very resistent.
I dont really have anything new to say, its super hard right now but im sure it will get better soon. A lot of the time I just feel super lost, walking around in Argentina all day with someone that doesnt speak english, and a lot of the time I dont feel like im progressing in the language, spiritually, or in any way or form. Its super discouraging and tough right now, but I know if I stick it out and keep trying my hardest everyday, the Lord will bless me. I know trials are for a reason. We need discomfort to be able to progress, its just the way of life, part of the Lords plan. Right now im super uncomfortable, so I sure hope that means that a lot of progress is on the way! Its like working out a muscle.. Yes, during the work out, you hate it, but in the end, it really is worth it and its the only way to have progress in strength building. Its the same way spiritually! Trails are good, im trusting so much in the Lord that he knows what he is doing and he is in control. Im still pretty homesick, but its getting better.
Last night was Elder Navas one year mark, so I bought us hamburgers and our neighbors made us pizza and smoothies, and we partyed. Within missionary standards. It was very fun, our relationship is improving, im learning how to make him happy and how I can serve him, even if sometimes it is the last thing I want to do. Haha. We have more unity and its getting better!
Tomorrow im going to have transfers with Elder Miles, im so excited!!! We are really good friends and its going to be super nice to spend a day with him. The only hard thing will be that neither of us can speak spanish yet, so were going to be lost, all day. Its getting to be really hard, but really fun. Its really going to force me to take inciative and talk for a day, so im excited for it, I think it will help me a lot.
I hope everyone is doing good, im sorry my emails arent very happy and missionary like right now, I probably should give myself more credit for the progress I do make and the things that I am able to say and do, but its hard to focus on the positive sometimes when its all so hard! But I really am doing good, im pretty happy here! I hope you all have a good week, thank you for your emails, they help me a lot every week.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Hola!I´m not going to do a general email this week because I already talked to my family last night via skype because it was mother´s day in Argentina. And anyway, nothing too excited or new happened this week, just the same old grind, same old struggle. It got super super hot this week, I found out that the providence that i´m in, Chaco, Argentina, is the hottest, most humid place in the entire world. They had the hottest day out of every other place in the world last year. Not even Africa or Australia beats it! So, we started to get a small taste of what´s to come.. January and February will be when it is the worst.
This isnt going to be a very long email this week. I get really really homesick this week and really stressed out, It was definitely the hardest week of ever. I try hard not to think about home and I try not to stress out but it´s super hard for me right now. Nothing very big happened this week. Just still stuggling to understand conversations. My companion and I grew a little closer together this week, but he still treats my kinda bad and that´s tough. I´ve been neglicting telling you guys that because I dont want to complain about my companion but yeah, he´s a real butt head.
One thing that I want to highlight that I really learned very strongly this week and that I will always cling on to:
Elder Holland said something along the lines that he firmly believes that no evil could write the book of Mormon, and no good man would. I love the way he says that. It is so true. If you read the words of the BOok of Mormon with real intent, you will find that WERE NOT written by some fraud of man. They were written by real prophets in the ancient americas. Even though I cant speak spanish all that good yet, I do testify to people with all my heart that I know that the B.O.M is true.
Okay, I´m going to take more time this week to do individual emails. Sorry for the glumy news this week, I really hope the mission gets better soon for me. I hope you´re all doing great!
Monday, October 6, 2014
Hope everyone is doing good. Thanks for your emails. This week was good and bad for me! Conference was amazing, I loved it so much. I actually got to watch it in english. In the stake center, they set up a room for the american missionaries where they had a TV playing it in english. So not only did I get to watch conference for two days straight, I got to be with american, english speaking missionaries for two days. I LOVED it. The missionaries here are so much fun to be around. Conference was so relaxing and nice, and it answered a lot of questions that I had and was praying for. I want to explain a little later what I liked about conference.
So Sat. and Sun were both really good because of the conference, the rest of the week was really hard though. I always have really good days towards the ends and the beginnings of the week, and the middle of the week is really hard. I didnt make much improvement from what I said I wouldnt to do last week.. I didnt improve much in talking to people like how I want. Its so hard to understand people, its so frustrating. And its really hard to get the courage too when you know youre not really going to understand them or make sense. But, talking to a lot of the american missionaries this weekend, they told me that about 2 months out is when you can understand basically everything in a gospel vocabulary, and 4 months until you can understand everything else, normal, everyday vocabulary talk. But, I basically already can understrand almost everything in gospel vocabulary. In sacrament meetings, during lessons, whenever its centered on a gospel vocabulary, I can basically understand everything. For example, the two native spanish speakers that spoke during conference, in the english room we turned off the english subtitles, and I understand almost everything they said because both of them used simple words and only gospel words. So I know that im on my way, I know that im going to get there sooner or later. Its just really hard to be an outgoing, talkative, successful missionary when you cant really talk to the members or anyone else thats not about the gospel. Argentines have a really weird accent too that is really hard to get the hang of, and a special kind of verb conjugations, so thats a big part of why I could understand the 2 native spanish speakers at conference.
I also get really home sick in the middle of this week . I miss Utah, Riverton, my family, friends, how much fun everything was all the time, how easy it always was, everything. It was a rough week, until conference. Conference was SO NICE: We have another new promising investigator, his name is Cezer. We found him contacting, and I think at this point in his life he is really looking for God in his life. He is 18 years old, has a construction job, and has his own small little home all by himself. Crazy, huh? But the 2nd lesson we had with him, right before we were about to give him the bautisimal invitation, he asked us, How can I be baptized? Haha. So his date is the 25 of this month, we are really excited to keep progressing with him.
I dont have a lot of time, but a few things from conference that I want to share. David A Bednars talk and Boyd K. Packers talk really helped me understand some things that have been hard for me on the mission. For example, in the past, I havent liked how persistently uncomfortable we are with our investigators to try to do something. Because we really do make ourselves and our investigators feel terribly uncomfortable at times to do things or commit to do things, and I havent like it. And the talks of Bednar and Packer really helped me understand why we are so persistent and at times uncomforable. We do it because we know how incredibly important and the gospel is in our lives. The atonement of Jesus Christ provides us with uncomprehensible joy in our lives. And the reason LDS people are so persistent to do things is just that.. we know how much it will bless their lives and we sincerely LOVE the people we are extending the invitation too and we want them to have that in their lives. Yes, its uncomfortable to share the gospel and boldly commit people to do thigns at times, but its because you love them. Its not something easy to do, not for me at least, but I will do it for the Savior. Something else I understand a lot better was my purpose for serving a mission. I have been given the gospel in my life. I live in Utah. Probably the best place in the entire world to be born into. My life is truly absuolutely perfect in every way. I love where in the world I live, I have a perfect family with loving parents, everything I have been given is truly amazing. And because the Savior has given me so much in my life, I will sacrifice 2 years of my life. I will make myself really uncomfortable at times to help bring his lost sheep home. I will do anything that the savior asks me and in the exact way that he wants me to do it because I am so blessed. I really dont think that us, who have the gospel, who live in Utah, USA, can even begin to understand how tremedously, uncomprehensibly blessed we are in our lives. Another thing that I really started to understand is how great of a testimony I really do have of the prophet Joseph Smith. But more importantly, the reason WHY I believe that he was a true prophet. I believe he was a true prophet because the words in The Book of Mormon, to me, are undeniably true. The words of the prophets of the ancient americas scream truth. A person only needs to read the words of the prophets to know that they are sincere, true, honest words that came from real people. I dont believe a liar of a man could make up words like that. I feel a deep Spirit when I read the BOM, I know its true with all my heart. And for that, I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I know that this is Christs church on the earth today. That was something that I really needed to know, that I really do have my own burning testimony, and im so gratefully for this conference to help me understand that. I was super spirtually recharged, I really needed it.
I am sincerely really happy to be a misionary at this time serving the Lord. although, it is really hard. Some nights when I lay in bed I cant not smile and its the happiest ive ever been, and so nights I basically almost cry and I think I cant make it throught the next day. Like I said before, a mission is a really coaster. For me at least, foriegn speaking. But the happy times definitely outweigh the hard times, they really do. Im so happy to be here, I know im on the right path. I know that a life devoted to following the Savior will be a life filled with happiness.
I hope everyone has a super good week, thanks family for everything.
Love, Elder Miles
Hola! Here are some photos. Those are my new scripture cases for my spanish scriptures. Theres a man in my area that makes these scripture cases out of leather and he engraves images in them. My spanish scriptures were getting beat up without cases, so I decided to buy some. They are super cool. The Book of Mormon cover is a picture of John the baptist and Jesus hugging after the baptism of Jesus. The backside is a picture of Jesus holding one of his lost sheep. The bible cover is a picture of the Draper temple because its my favorite. The backside is a picture of a mountain/nature because I <3 nature. They are really nice, I love them a lot. And then the other photo is a picture of a big lagoon that´s in our area. Its not as fun as the Lagoon in Utah, but it´s still really cool.
Real quick, the first picture is a wood carving from a sculpture making contest in the town square of our area this week. It was really cool. Both of the pictures of the fish are from that. And then theres a picture of our apartment, a picture of the view from our window, and a typical, random, road in argentina.
I hope you´re all doing good. This past week was hard, but good, as always. A lot of contacting, finding new investigators, lessons with recient converts. Our iluminador that I told you about, Enrique, who was suppose to be baptized on saturday, didnt end up being baptized. He had his interview with the district leader, and he didnt pass the interview. I guess he had been doing some bad things that he didnt think was a problem, and it came up in the interview and he wasnt able to get baptized. But, we rescheduled his baptism for the, so thats really exciting. Its super nice to have something like that to look forward too. We love Enrique, he is the funniest little guy.
I had splits this week with the district leader, which is where I go with the district leader for the entire day and night, and part of the next day. The district leader, Elder Anderson, is super super cool. I LOVED being with him for a day, it was so nice to be with him. It felt so good to speak english for a day. I learned so much from Elder Anderson, it was incredible. I learned a lot of bad habits and things that Elder Nava teaches me that I dont want to do when I have more of a say in my next companionship. He showed me a lot of things ill never forget. The biggest thing, he sincerely loved the people we were talking to. With my companion, I sometimes feel like we´re sales man. Elder Anderson took time to get to know the people first, understand who they are, what they love and hold dear, instead of just doing a quick lesson of the Restoration with them and leaving. I learned a lot, I grew a ton this week. It was a super good learning week. It was funny, at first when I was with Elder Anderson at the start of that day, I had a hard time answering his questions in english. Some words and prashes that I say everyday in spanish were hard to think of how to say them in english. I havent spoken english really in 5 weeks! I only hear spanish all day. So that was cool to see a little bit of progress like that. While on the transfer with Elder Anderson, in his area, we clapped a lot of houses that were just made of mud. Little mud huts. It really blew my mind. How do you live in mud? How do you live on a floor that is nothing but lose dirt and rocks? I know when I got my call that I would see stuff like that, but seeing it in real life is really crazy. My perception of a lot of things in the world has definitely changed. That night with Elder Anderson we went to a members house, hich is a panaderia, which is basically a bread bakery, and the members feed us all we can eat bread. It was so heavenly. Argentine bread is so yummy, I ate so much.
The spanish is still hard. I know I talk about it in every one of my emails, and you guys are probably sick of it, but thats really all my life is right now. Is not being able to understand and talk to people. Thats all I do and think about all day. I feel like its coming every so slowly though. The thing about learning a foreign language is you cant translate in your head. WHen you hear a word, you cant translate it into english in you head. It takes too long. You have to hear the word in spanish, and automatically know what it means, no translating. So thats why its so hard, and thats why it takes so long. It takes awhile for things to become mechanical like that. I just have to be patient, its so hard and frustrating everyday though. Sundays are great days for me, I am always filled with the spirit and motivation during the sacrament.
This week I really tried to focus my self in my personal beliefs, my personal testimony. I soul searched really deep, and it was really good for me. I internalized doctrine during my personal study. I am starting to get a really deep testimony of the things I am teaching. I really focused on my spirit, what spiritual means for me. What a mission means for me. And I had a lot of growth this week, I learned a lot. I really need to gain confidence in the things that I´m telling is true to other people. I have to be able to say I know that these things are true with confidence. So thats what im focusing on again this week. Above all, the best thing I learned this week is what I believe mission work is. Or should be. Missionary work is sincere love for other people. Sincere, simple, honest, real love. Its something I want to examplify my time as a missionary. I also learned that Im way too stressed out about being a perfect missionary. SOmething Elder Anderson told me that I really needed to hear was this. He said,¨You cant really be an effective missionary until you learn the language. Its that simple. Thats why its so hard for the first little while. You just have to be patient and learn the language first, thats all there is to it.¨ So that helped me a lot. I try my best to be the best missionary I can be, but I learned I need to relax a little bit.
THis week im really going to focus on talking more. Asking questions with people, joking with people, whatever. I just need to talk more. THats the next step in becoming fluent at spanish, I just have to force myself to be really uncomfortable and try my best to talk in spanish with people. I already know its going to be really hard, but im ready for the challenges. Another thing I need to focus on is listening really intently. Its hard to focus when you dont understand what people are saying, but I need to focus on how people are using words and really try hard to follow everything everyone says.
This week, during a family home evening I was at, I taught a man how to read and play guitar tabs. It was super fun. haha. Im really excited for spanish general conference! I probably will only understand half of it, but im just happy to get of my feet for a couple days and sit down! haha. Im really excited to be spiritually fed. The only place that shows conference here is the stake center in Resistencia, so all the members from al around pile into one chapel. It will be fun. Its crazy to think about how hard it is for everyone else in the world to watch conference, when we watch it right in the comfort of our own homes. Living in a foreign poor country is crazy, you guys should all do it sometime!
There was a way cool sculpture building contest in the town square of Barranquerras, it was awesome. Resistencia loves sculpture art, and fish. So they had a contest to see who could make the best statue of a fish. It was cool. Thats what the wood fish was that I sent.
Well, thats my week. Its hard, but im getting there. I pray to the Lord so hard everyday to be able to learn the language and to keep going. I know that I can make it, I just need patience and hardwork. I hope you guys have all have a good week! I dont have much time for individual emails again, im sorry. Please keep them coming though, I love them! :)
Monday, September 22, 2014
I hope you´re all doing great. This week was about the same for me, same old missionary life! Time passes very strangely, I cant believe another week is already gone and I´ve been here for 4 weeks now. This whole mission thing has been one big, weird, out of body experience. Like literally, sometimes it does not feel real at all. I wouldnt be surprised one bit to wake up from this dream and have to go back to high school again. New culture, new people, new language, new everything, all at once. And its weird how traveling here by plan distorts my reality of how far from home I am. Im in a different hemisphere, like half an earth away, and I dont even realize it. Thats weird!!
Same old week here, just trying to keep my head above. Its hard to really see the progress of my spanish, its something so inmeasurable, but I feel like im progressing every so slowly. For now, im just trying my very best to understand what people are saying, always listening super super intently, because thats the only way you can ever learn is by listening to people speak it. And im just struggling through the parts where I have to speak myself or bear my testimony, but its getting a little easier every week with the more experience I get.
Something that Im going to really focus on this week during my personal study is reading preach my gospel and the accompaning scriptures with it, and im going to really develop my own personal testimony of every doctrine and principle. Im going to try to put in practice the promise of the Lord that says, ¨seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then your tongue shall be loosed¨. Im realizing that if im going to preach to people, I need to real know and believe the doctrine and principles with my whole heart, I have to really believe and know them for myself. I think people can definitely tell if you personally really believe something or not. They know because when you truly believe those things for yourself, the Spirit teaches their hearts. So this week, during my personal study, im going to focus in developing a testimony for myself rather than how I can say memorized phrases and ways to say things in spanish, and I know that the Lord and the Spirit will help me communicate the things of my heart. It took me a little while to learn this, but im glad that I understand it now. The people of South America are very bold, and if they think you have a problem, that just flat out tell you. And that happened to me this week. We were in a members home, and one man asked me how the spanish was coming along, and I told him it was still more or less, and he said that it wasnt the spanish thats my problem, but that I like the faith. So that was kind of really rude and hard for me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more that I thought it was true. I really need to believe these things for myself, my own personal deep testimony, so thats what im focusing on this week.
Our iluminador, (someone thats committed to baptism and coming to church) Enrique, is still doing great. He is the funniest, littlest man ive ever know. Everything he says is so funny. He is the most ideal of all ideal investigators that there has ever been. He is really into the Bible, he knows the Bible ten times better than I do, and he loves the Book of Mormon now too. He loves the idea of Joseph Smith restoring the truth and bringing forth the book of Mormon. Everything we say to him he just loves and automatically accepts it. He has a real testimony for himself. We are super super excited for his baptism!!!! I think that I might be the one doing the actual baptism, too. Not that its really important which missionary does the baptism, but I would just be really excited to do my first ever real baptism. Ill be sure to get a picture with him. I think that I probably dont understand how much of blessing it is for me to already have a baptism this early in my mission, I know that most European missionaries never get a baptism their entire mission. So im trying to really appreciate this.
We dont really have any other real solid progressing investigators. Other than Enrique, we have been meeting with a few other investigators, but none others that show a lot of interest. We have a lot of lessons with recent converts, re teaching lessons and sharing scriptures with them. We have about 4 converts that we consistently have lessons with other few days. Other than that, its just clapping doors all day, every day. Me encanta, por supuesto.
Sometimes when I think about english speaking missions I get really envious because I think about how much more focused in missionary things I would be. I mean, I feel like all the new missionaries here have a really hard time focusing themselves in spiritual things, or missionary skills like contacting, teaching lessons, etc. just because we cant speak the language yet. I feel like I know nothing about being a missionary, im just super lost. And when I think about being an english speaker, how much progress I would have made by now, sometimes I really wish I just spoke english. BUT, I really do believe and have a testimony that I am here for a reasons that I dont understand yet. I am here learning spanish, with a native companion, struggling, for a reason. And I know that I will see the fruits of all this down the road some time in the future. So, Im trying my best to maintain vision, and to be patient. In the meantime, im just trying my very best to be the best I can everyday. Do the most that I can everyday to learn the language, try to apply skills that im learning, etc. Its hard, but I am learning patience. Something I learned especially this week was that I cant compare myself to others. I need to take everyday personally, making progress personally, and trying my best personally. Its stressful to have to be a missionary without being able to speak right now, but I realized, I dont have to be a perfect flawless missionary. I just need to try my hardest everyday.
Well, thats about all. Every week, we go to a cyber in the morning and print off all your emails, and then in the afternoon we come back and reply, and every week before we come back to the cyber a second time, I write out a personal checklist of things that I want to remember to say, an outline basically. Something like:
-The food this week
-The specific spiritual experiences of this week
-Concluding spiritual insight/whatever
And this week, for the concluding spiritual thought I just wrote:
-Cliche missionary crap
Haha. Because I feel like every missionary pretends to have like grand spiritual insights and great wisdom that they like to cleverly, wisdomly word at the end of every email. Like how everything is a glorious blessing from the Lord and everything is tremedously happy. And I thought about doing this, and I just said, no man. Not my style. A mission isnt an on going, every second spiritual experience. There are spiritual experiences, yes, and you do learn a lot, but its not what its made out to be. Thats how I feel, at least. For the most part, im still just a normal 18 year old boy living life. Im just a representative for the church, asking people if they want to hear the message of the restoration and inviting them to church! haha. I dont know. Maybe that will be something that changes as my mission progresses. I hope that it does, actually. But thats how I feel for now. Im just going to be honest, tell my family how it really is!
Anyway, I hope you guys are all doing great. I sincerely am happy here, despite many hard things. Im learning and progressing a lot every day. Theres nothing to worry about, I think im begginging to start getting the hang of the culture here and how to live on my own. I hope you all have a good week!! I dont have any time left, so I probably cant individually email any of you this week. Sorry!
Love, Elder Miles
This week was basically the same as the last, they all feel the same to me. Everyday we just wander the neighborhoods tracting and teaching, and I try to do my best to understand what is happening but Im usually always pretty lost. I feel like my understanding of spanish is very slowly but surely getting there. Every week it feels like I can understand a little bit more. Everyday is super long, feels like the same exact thing. This stage of the mission I think is just really hard because you cant understand what people are saying or whats happening, and at the same time you´re forced super out of you comfort zone when you do have to share a thought or talk to someone. Everyone says the first few months are just really long and hard, and I think thats definitely true. But at the same time, I am still happy to be serving the Lord. Everyday my testimony is strengthened. Everyday I am a little farther on the path to getting to where I need to be. For now, im just sharing small things by the power of the Spirit and trying my hardest each day to learn the language!
The weather here is crazier than Utah weather. On tuesday, it was the hottest day that I have ever experienced. IT WAS SO HOT. And then for the rest of the week, it rained the entire week and was really freezing. I got a really nasty cold from it. We are about to enter into summer down here, and its going to get really really hot.
Its hard not having someone to talk casually too or joke or anything with in english. I mean, I speak a tiny spanish, enough to survive with my companion, but we arent really able to joke or have very much fun. So even though im with someone 24/7, I feel really lonely here. haha. We ate fish two times this week, and it made me super nausous for the rest of the week. I try super hard to like fish, but I just cant do it. I cant eat fish anymore, I would rather not eat anything at all. haha.
We decided to give our dirty clothes to our district leaders this week, and they were going to take it to a lady in their area that has a washing machine, and she was going to wash our clothes for us, but our district leaders left our dirty clothes bag on a bus, and they lost our clothes. So I lost a bunch of socks, my towels, a lot of my darks. Dang district leaders!
I got some awesome blisters on my feet this week. They are AWESOME
So there was a lot of the bad things that happened this week, but they were some good things that happened too!
Our investigator, Enrique, is a Taxi Cab driver in downtown Resistencia, and the only time he can met with us is his lunchbreak time, so we take a bus to Resistencia every other day to teach him. On wednesday, after our lesson with him, he gave us a tour of downtown Resistencia, it was way sweet. Downtown Res has tons of statues and cool/weird abstract art. It was cool to see. We are super excited for Enrique´s baptism, everything we have taught him he has loved and easily accepted. He is super excited about his baptism too, he is so ready to have the restored gospel in his life. It is really rewarding to see someone love and accept the gospel in their lives as a result from our efforts.
Another cool thing that I noticed this week, is that members of the church, all over the world, are the same people. The members here, they all have the same goals, the same understanding of our purpose in this life. They are all so kind. I think I love church on sundays so much because I feel like im at home for small portion of the day because the members feel like the same people as our members in Utah. Its really cool to see and think about.
That was basically this week. I wish I could tell you guys that Im having tons and tons of amazing spiritual experiences, but the truth is, im not really. Its hard to have spiritual experiences if you cant understand whats being said. Yes, there are times when I connect with an investigator when I share my small part of the conversation and I feel the Spirit in that moment. But overall, I feel like the first few months of a mission is hard because you dont really feel like you are having spiritual experiences or really contributing in the discussions or helping that much because you just cant understand anything or speak! Its hard. But, Im taking it day by day, everyday im progressing and I know that im going to get there eventually. I hope everyone at home is doing great, I love and miss you all a lot!
Tomorrow, I will have completed two months in the mission field! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! FIESTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can do that 11 more times. EASY.
Love, Elder Miles
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Whew, there goes week 2. It definitely was a really tough week for me. That was probably the hardest week yet. Last week, even though I didnt understand anyone, it was kinda okay because it was my first week. But we do a program called the First 12 Weeks, and I was obligated to have to talk a lot more this week, and it was really hard and stressful. Im starting to understand people better, but I still cant really understand what people are saying to me and replying back is even harder! haha. The language is for sure a killer. When you get your call and you get called to a foreign language speaking mission, you never really think about how hard and discouraging learning the language is, you just think that when you´ll get to your mission, youl already know the language. Its definitely not the case, its super hard, but im working the hardest I can, using all my time wisely to study spanish, and I know that im on the right track to one day becoming effictive at the lanuage. For now its hard, but im learning a lot everday, and ill get there soon!
I forgot to tell you guys in my email last week. I AM THE TALLEST PERSON HERE!!!!!! WOOOO!!! Its weird! But awesome! Ive only met one other guy that was taller than me. Besides all the other american missionaries here.
So this week, we found a new investigator, Enrique, and committed him to baptism for the. He is super excited and really into learning and living the gospel, so we are really excited for him. We also have another promising investigator, Walter, who we really think is going to progress a lot this week, we hope.
In response to some questions, I want to tell you more about what its like here. So we dont knock doors, we clap doors. We stand outside the gate of the persons house, and we clap loud like 10 times, and the people always hear. The walls on the houses aren´t very thick, because there mostly just sheets of metal, and most houses dont have windows, so people always hear. And for the first couple of weeks, that is all we have been doing all day every day. Walking around our area clapping houses. Its super exhausting, and for me its really difficult because I dont feel like I contribute at all in the conversations we have because I cant understand yet what people are saying really. I feel like im going to love tracking though once I can start speaking the language comfortably.
The food here is basically the same, at least the food we eat! I have cold cereal every morning, and we usually go to a members house everyday, and the food us noodles or meat or something yummy, and then for dinner when we return back to our apartment at, our next door neighbors usually make us something really nice. So we are so very thankful for our awesome neighbors, they are super good cooks. The only thing thats hard for me is that we eat a ton of fish, and fish makes me want to gag, but I usually manage to get it down.
My companion, Elder Nava, is still great. Its just hard for both of us because I really want to learn the language, so I ask him questions all day long, and I think he gets inpatient with me asking questions all the time, which is understandable.
In the MTC, I met another Elder Miles going to the Resistencia mission, Craig Miles, and sure enough, we both are in the same district. Haha. So all the people during church on sundays are like,´Wait, there´s two Elder Miles´s?! Him and I are super good friends, I think we´ll definitely hang out after the mission. Hes from like north utah. But hes great, everyand district meeting, him and I get together for a minute and talk to each other in english about how hard everything is for both of us right now and how much at times we hate it. haha. Its one of my favorite times of the week.
All our laundry is done by hand, it takes a long time but I actually dont mind it, Im able to get all the stains in the collars of my shirts out better than if I were to wash it in a machine. The dishes are all washed by hand too.
Momma, pops, I know you guys have looked at Resistencia on google maps, but you guys looked at where the mission home is located, which is in the heart of downtown Resistencia. I am the field, farmland, in a city on the outskirts of Resistencia called Barranquerras. Its a lot less nice. haha.
Well, thats basically my week. It was super tough, the language is super discouraging and difficult, but im taking it one day at a time. I know im on the right path to one day speaking the language comfortable. Im relying on the Spirit most of all though to communicate the message, because he is the one that brings the message to the people´s hearts, we are just the ones that say the words. Im definitely seeing much the power of prayer and the Spirit here, I pray so super hard everyday for the Lord to help me with the language, and ive seen a lot of progress. Prayer for me now is a lot more than what it was before, I have a deep relationship with my heavenly father, I know that he really is our father for everybody. I hope you guys are all doing well, have a good week!
Love, Elder Miles