Monday, August 25, 2014
So that's that, i'm really going to Argen-freaking-tina on monday. This will be the last time I talk to you until Monday on the phone.
I want to share my testimony in Espanol real fast with you guys because I have free time and it's fun for me. Yo se que mi salvador vive. Tambien yo se que Dios exisite verdaderamente. Yo se que por medio de vivendo el plan de Dios, podemos tener mucho gozo y paz en este vida. Estoy muy nervioso por Argentina, pero yo estoy muy animo para compartir el Evangelio con otras. La gozo que yo he recibe en mi vida en causa del Evangelio es algo que yo quiera compartir con otras personas. Yo he recibi mas bendiciones que yo puedo explicar, yo estoy muy agradecido por esta vida que Dios me ha bendicido tener. LA IGLESIA ES VERDADERA!!!!!!
VIVA ARGENTINA!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Love, Elder Miles
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Another week done! I got my travel plans in the mail this week. Which means that everything with my visa stuff worked out and i'm good to go straight to Argentina!! Woo! I leave the SLC airport for Atlanta at 11:06 am on August 25th, and then i'll get to the Atlanta airport at 4:50 pm, and then a 4 hour lay over, and then my flight for Argentina leaves at 9:08 pm, and i'll get to the Buenos Aires Airport at 8:20 am on tuesday, August 26th. So I fly all day and all that night, and then once I get to Buenos Aires, I hear that we have a 10+ hour bus ride to Resistencia. I'm going with a group of 20 other missionaries here at the MTC, there's so many of us going to Resistencia, it's a growing mission. So I won't be by myself or anything, I'll have friends with me the whole way!
More simply put,
SLC 11:06am- ATL 4:50pm
ATL 9:08pm- BUENOS AIRES 8:20am
Anyways, I can't believe it's already almost here to go to Argentina. I'm super excited, super nervous about espanol, nervous about the salvation of people souls, but excited to actually be doing real work in the field, it's just a moshpit of mixed feelings, but mostly I feel ready and excited to start getting to work!
This week has been really really good, just about the same as ever other week here! The only exciting thing that happened was the travel plans really, the rest of the week was just studying all day. Something really important that i've been learning this week is how to make yourself happy and positive, all the time. I'm understanding that you're going to be as happy as make yourself, which was never something I believed before my mission, but i'm understanding it now. Perservering to the end can be tough, but all we really have to do is just be grateful and happy for whatever you're doing right at this moment. Just be happy and always completely enjoy youself in the present, take it day by day, and enduring life is easy. Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a sinche. Enjoy the ride, find out ways you can change your attitude for whatever and all situations you are in! Easier said then done, but i've had one of the most happy, stess free weeks ever here. There's nothing ever worth stessing out about, just enjoy the present, and work as hard as you can!
There's nothing much else to report. I love my district so much, we have so much fun every night. I've never laughed harder in my life then I did last night and these past weeks, i've never grown so close to a group of people so fast before! I am so super ready to start sharing the gospel with people and to start my long journey. I want you all to know that while I've been in the MTC, my testimony has been strengthened tenfold. I believe with all surety in my heart that God and Jesus Christ are real, that God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than we can imagine, and through Jesus Christ's atonement, we can find peace and solace in this life. I'm going into the mission field with the mentality that I know there are people prepared to recieve my message, I know God is going to always be watching me and the Holy Ghost will direct me to where I need to go.
I hope everyone is doing great!!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I hope you're all doing really good. This week had some definite ups and downs and some cool experiences I want to tell you about!
Basically we still have class for 9 hours everyday and it's a lot of studying but i'm learning some spanish and so much gospel, I love being here at the MTC. This week we started teaching 5 investigators all at once, it's like 4+ lessons a day, it's really hard and stressful to prepare so many lessons everyday on top of all the other things we're asked to do here, but i'm learning a lot. The 30 minute time span me and the Elders of my district get in our apartment to just have fun and joke around is what makes us happy every night. We just pool together our spoils from the packages people got that day and we feast and goof around and it's a riot, we have so much fun. We talk about our past lives, have rap battles, prank each other, it's a blast. Also, sundays and P-days are what keep us sane, we love sundays and P-days because it's the only days where we aren't sitting in a classroom all day. It's so nice to go to devotionals and to get to go to the temple.
Wednesday and thursday of this week were a couple of the others days yet, probably some of the toughest days of my life thus far! I got really discouraged and down on myself because I didn't feel like I was feeling and teaching by the Spirit, and everyone else kept talking so much about how amazing teaching by the spirit has been for them and they all were sharing really amazing teaching experiences, and I started to doubt my own ability to feel and teach by the Spirit. On top of that, with how many investigators we had to teach and prepare lessons for and everything we were expected to do was super super stressing me out, I got really frustrated and really scared. But, then on Friday, it clicked with me. All the lessons that I taught that day I really felt like I had the Spirit with me and we taught some really good lessons. I'm starting to realize how the Spirit talks to us. All growing up i've always heard of people talking about how the Spirit "tells them what to say" when giving lessons/talks/etc and stuff and to me, it seems like people were always making the Spirit sound like some grand undeniable feeling. But i've learned, this week especially, the Spirit is nothing like that in everyday life. It can, on occassions, but incredibly strong and undeniable, but usually, it's nothing more than a mere thought that comes into your head. It's nothing more than an idea. It's not a literal voice speaking to you. To me, at least, it's just ideas that come into your head. And when you follow those ideas and thoughts that come into your head, good things happen. Everyone feels the Spirit differently, but that's what i've learned for myself this week. If any of you guys are ever doubting the reality of the "Holy Spirit" or your ability to feel this spirit, I promise you that it is really there. It truly does help guide our life. But it's nothing grand, it's just still small ideas. Keep that in mind! :)
I've also learned that whenever someone is about to do something big in their lives, whenever someone is about to do or realize something that is really going to improve their lives significantly, Satan steps up and tries to stop it at all cost. For example, before Joseph Smith prayed in the sacred grove, Satan used unseen power to do all that he could to stop Joseph from praying, because that prayer was going to change the world. And i've had some real personal experience with that this week. Personally, I know that Thursday and Friday were so hard for me this week because Satan knew that I was going to feel the Spirit really strongly on Friday and he knew I was going to gain a testimony of it that is going to last me the rest of my mission for sure, probably the rest of my life. Friday was an amazing day for me, after I started regaining confidence in myself I was so much more happy and my testimony grew tenfold. Satan was so strongly trying to stop me from having that experience that he truly made me feel terrible on wednesday and thursday, I didn't want to do the MTC anymore, I really wanted to come home. But I stuck it out, and then I had Friday, and i'm so glad that I perservered.
Another example of this has been one of my TRC investigators, Mariana. She is a REAL investigator. She is here in Provo for an english learning program at BYU, and then she's going back home to Mexico on Friday this week. But she's a completely real investigator, and me and Elder Brown have had the opportunity to teach her. She always follows up on her commitments on reading the Book of Mormon that me and Elder Brown give her, and she always prays. She really does have a real desire to know if it is all true. But when she reads the Book of Mormon, she feels like she has bad feelings come upon here, she feels like something is something is saying "warning". And I know with all my heart that this is Satan, because I really think something wonderful is about to happen in her life. I think we are so close with having her feeling the Spirit and getting an answer from God that the Book of Mormon is true. I really really really happy she does! Wouldn't it be so cool if she accepted the gospel as truth before she left to Mexico? That would make me so happy! We're really praying hard that we can bring the Spirit into our lessons this week!
That's about all that has happened this week. Just studying a lot, all day everyday! I'm really liking it here, i'm doing really well. Something that Steph Cooper said in one of her letters to me really sums up my experience as a missionary so far. She said that being on a mission is like riding a roller coaster, you have times of really high points, and some times of some really hard low points. But that's what being on a mission is all about, having some really hard times and having some really amazing times. If your mission experience was just planer, no ups, no downs, then you aren't doing a mission right. But overall, i'm super happy to be here, I love how much i'm learning. I love being a missionary!
And thus we see that it came to the pass that the people of district A branch 134 grew exceedingly stronger and stronger in their love for each other, and firmer and firmer in the faith. I am Elder Miles, and thus I end my epistle.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I hope everyone is doing awesome back at home. I'm doing muy muy super mega bien. This week has been a little tougher than the others though, but that's probably just because it was the hump week. I only have 3 weeks left to go here! Woohoo! I'm super excited to get out there on my real mission soon. It's crazy to think about how much i've learned in these first 3 weeks, and i'm probably going to learn even more in these next 3 to come.
So for the first 2 weeks we were teaching an "investigator" named Daniel, and on wednesday, we walked into our classroom for class in the morning, and we found out that "Daniel" was our new teacher. WHAT. PLOT TWIST. I mean, we knew he wasn't a real investigator, but we didn't know that he was going to be our new teacher. As an investigator, it was super moopy and droopy and sad, but as a teacher, he is the best, most energetic, passionate about the gospel, all around the best teacher i've ever had. After every single spiritual lesson we have, I came out of it so inspired and uplifted everytime. He blows my mind with the gospel everyday. And he's really good at teaching spanish too. His name is Hermano Rockwood. Hermano means brother in spanish. He's a way cool, i'm liking it alot!
Elder Brown and I are getting a lot better at teaching by the Spirit, partly because we can actually sort of almost speak a little bit of spanish now, so we don't have to just read off our lesson plans, we can actually understand the investigators concerns and use our spanish to teach the gospel personally to how they need to be taught. It is really cool, the Spirit is amazing. To teach a lesson by the power of the Spirit is an incredible feeling, even if they are fake investigators. We are teaching 3 investigators at once. And we hardly ever have time to prepare lessons, so every single day it's a struggle and a scramble to try to throw lesson plans together. On top of that, we don't really know how to speak spanish very good yet. So the MTC is just an all around hard experience, but we need this to help immerse us and prepare us for the real world of Argentina!
Yesterday was our first time teaching a new investigator named Mariana in TRC. TRC is where they have real people come and they pretend to be an investigator for us. Most of them are members of the church and aren't real investigators, but there are a few that aren't members of the church and may be actually curious. Elder Brown and I think it's possible that Mariana isn't a real member of the church. She seems super super real. Anyway, yesterday was our first time teaching her. The lessons won't okay, nothing too grand. But, we didn't know at the time, that all the hermanas (sisters) in our district were watching us teach on a surveillance camera. We had no idea that there was a surveillance camera in there. What was cool was that after the lesson, our hermanas came up and told us that they were watching our lesson, and they said that my spanish during the lesson was incredible. Like they were amazed at the spanish that was coming out of my mouth, especially because I was the one in our district that came into the MTC with the least spanish experience out of us all. So that made me feel really really good! But I know it was the Spirit speaking through me, using the little spanish that I do know to communicate our message. It was a cool experience. We're really starting to understand what "teaching by the Spirit" means.
And then also last night, I had the opportunity to give my first comfort blessing ever to someone. I gave it to a hermana in our district that has been having some really hard personal stuff going on with her family back home. Just asked me to give it to her, and I was really nervous at first because I had never given one to anybody before, but as soon as I started giving the blessing, it was the most amazing feeling. It's not like the Spirit was talking for me, but the thoughts of what to say just came to my mind. I promise you guys that the Spirit is real, the power of the priesthood is real! It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. She said that it really meant a lot to her.
It was kinda tough to focus this week, I definitely could have done better in my focus. But i'm doing good! Days here feel like forever, but weeks go by really fast. Time is super strange here. I can't differentiate between days, I can't remember what days things happened, it's all one big day. Haha. We just do the same exact thing, all day everyday! Studying for 9 hours a day. Being really close to God and really spiritual all the time really makes me miss hiking. I think about hiking every single day haha. I can't wait to go hiking again when I get back. I also really really miss my music!
Spanish is coming along, i'm learning so much here. I've realized more importantly than learning spanish, i'm learning the language of the Spirit. The spiritual classes we have are way important to me than the spanish classes we have. I love being here, i'm super close to God. I love being a missionary!
"Mas cerca, a Dios, a ti, yo quiero ser"
I hope you guys are all doing awesome.
Love, Elder Miles
Sunday, August 3, 2014
This past week has been incredible for me! I hope everyone back at home is doing great. The amount of spanish that i've been learning so quickly has been ABSURD. I am learning so much, so fast! I'm starting to now be able to understand most of all the grammar concepts and i'm getting more comfortable giving lessons to our "investigators". We use this system called TALL on the computers in the classroom, It's a pretty good spanish crash course. Because spanish stressed me out so badly the first few days I got here, i've been doing TALL in my personal study time a ton, and it's really helped me out a lot. All of the lessons on there are suppose to last the missionary about 6 weeks, the amount of time we'll be in the MTC, but I loved learning it so much that I did every single lesson in the first two weeks. haha. I've been working really hard here to try to do all I can to understand spanish. My district sometimes wastes time talking and socializing, and I love my district so it's really tempting to just talk with them during study time, but I feel like i've been using my time here wisely. I'm getting more confident in my spanish, even though I know that when I get to Argentina i'm going to have to relearn it all over again. Like literally, Argentina uses a verb conjugation type called "vos" that we don't learn here at the MTC. So i'll have to learn how to speak that once I get out there, but at least i'm getting a good spanish foundation here. So basically all we do here is have class all day, everyday. I really it a lot actually, i'm learning so much. But nothing too excited usually happens for me to report about to you guys. I've had a couple of experiences though this past week that have really impacted me and the way that I think about things a lot.
First, we had a devotional on sunday night, and after the devotional we had the choice to go watch one of four movies, and my district choose to go watch "The Character of Christ" by David A. Bednar. It's a video of a talk he gave here at the MTC a few years ago. It's a truly amazing, inspired talk he gave, and I could never include enough words in my email here to be able to tell you guys how I felt about it, but the basic idea is this. For most of us, when we have afflictions or trials or small, hard, every day things going on in their life, we turn inward, and we think about how hard OUR lives are, and we think that we deserve to get what we want, right now. The Character of Christ, evident in the New Testament, when things were difficult for him, as he did have to go through harder things than any man has ever had to go through, Christ turns OUTWARD when the natural man would turn inward. Meaning, when he had a hard thing happen to him, he went and served someone else. He was ALWAYS thinking about how He could help someone else in need, but when in reality he was the greatest in need of them all. He was able to do this because the amazing amount of love for all of us. His life was service. That's what Christ's character is, and if it weren't for the character of Christ, there could have been no atonement. I want to live my life just like that. I want my mission to be exactly that. I want to serve and love the people of Argentina with my whole heart, I want every minute to be thinking about how I could help someone else's life be better.
Second, yesterday I was in a class that I learned a lot in. It was based of D&C 4, and the teacher talked a lot about what he learned on his mission. What he found is that when he really discovered what a mission was all about, when he discovered who he really was and when he was the most happy in his life, he realized that it's all about serving and loving the people. Having charity and love in your heart for every single person you met. That's what I want my mission to be! Losing myself in the service of other people, caring for other people. And in so doing, I think that's how I learn a lot about myself and how to be Christlike. So this week, i'm going to try to really start this by serving the people in my district and trying my best to love the people I come in contact with.
Well, i've ripped two pairs of pants at the leg seams and i've had my top button on both my suit coats come off already. It's not like because i'm gaining weight or anything, i'm actually monitoring my eating really well here and I wake up early every morning and work out the best I can. I think it just must be that I did too many squats in my old pre mission life, so my thighs are massively huge and too much for these pants to handle.(: haha. It's a real problem though, the struggle is real. Luckily, there's an alterations place on campus that I can get my pants sewed up at.
I'm trying really hard to use all my time productively here. I love my district so much, it is such a blessing from the Lord that I have them as my district. I really don't think i'd be in a happy place right now if I didn't have my exact companion that I have, my district, my teacher, everything. I know for sure that the Lord's hand was in all of it. I don't really have much else to say, i'm just studying all day everyday! Nothing too exciting. I really like it a lot here. I hope everyone is doing great back at home.
Love, Elder Miles