Sunday, December 2, 2012

26 November 2012 Gaúchos

Hello Friends and Family,

This week was a pretty tough one, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed this week because I feel my companion and I really bonded this week. I don't know what set it off but it was good for me because now I feel comfortable in this whole new environment. I think it was maybe because I was finally able to keep a conversation going in Português. I'm stoked to see that the language is progressing each and everyday. I can pretty much understand what people are talking about. Some heavy accents throw me off but soon that won't be a problem.

Why this week was so tough. First off, we hiked every lomba in our area and some of them we hiked a few times. Also, lot's of appointments fell through so we found ourselves wondering around trying to do a bit of contacts or visiting less actives or recent converts. Knocking doors is a joke here it's very ineffective so we try to find anything other than that to do. My companion sees me as a secret weapon, an American. Even if someone on the street has no idea what I'm telling them they will usually give me an address to come teach them another day, basically because I'm American. The people down here in the Southern part of Brazil can be very racist. If someone is brown or black they usually do not give them the time of day when out contacting. This might be one of the reasons Elder Quieroz does not like doing contacts. We find after lunch it is very hard to do anything because everyone goes to sleep! This would not fly in the US. They also have a holiday just about every week it seems.

We have a new investigator named Rosi. I have high hopes for her. She is a single mother and lives in the roughest part of my area. Elder Queiroz tells me not to look at anyone while walking around there. Sadly, one of our investigators told us she did want us to teach her anymore. She is the mother of a member of my ward, Bruno a teacher in the aaronic priesthood. The missionaries have been working with her for awhile and Elder Queiroz and I thought she would join the church, but she gave us the excuse that she does not have time for church. Pretty sad, especially because her son Bruno was so stoked for her. She recognizes that the church is a huge blessing and she decided to deny it for herself, people are weird. The upside is that we layed the foundation for future missionaries.

This week I will tell you a little about Gaúchos. Gaúchos are Brazilians from Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian state in which I live. They love only three things in life, churrasco, chimarrão, and Grêmio.

Gaúchos are extremely prideful, for example people from Texas. This is why I fit so well here. This is a generalization but 99% of Gaúchos are like this. Churrasco is Brazilian BBQ which has made them famous. It is really good. I have been to a few restaurants and some members have made us churrasco for lunch. The drill is the same every time. They have these huge slabs of meat, all kinds, stuck on spike and they come walking around and you jab your fork into the side of the meat and they slice that portion for you with a big ole' knife. It is really tasty and you eat until you cannot anymore. All it's missing is some spring creek BBQ sauce.

Chimarrão is the tea every single person here drinks. Oh, and missionaries are allowed to drink it because it does not have black tea in it which makes it against the word of wisdom. Chimarrão is very different. They put this green powder inside this really goofy looking cup and then they dump really hot water inside. Also, they drink it with this metal pipe looking straw. If you didn't know  it was tea you would probably think it was drugs because of how it looks. I drink it a lot because usually a member has it going when we stop by. Oh yeah there is only one cup. You pass it around when you finish your shot. There are even rules behind the whole operation like who serves it and what not. Kinda ridiculous.

Lastly, Grêmio. Grêmio is the soccer team in Porto Alegre. When there is a game work stops, period. You can tell when Grêmio scores because you can hear people screaming and shouting. Its pretty funny. Their arch rival is international which is a team also here in Porto Alegre. I picked Grêmio as the team I support even though I have never seen them play. Most people like Grêmio so that's how I start conversations sometimes. I visited the old stadium on P Day, their new stadium opens up early 2013.

Anyways, that's the news for this week. To answer some questions, yes I'm still getting letters from mission ties. You can still send me cookies through mission ties. The trip from São Paulo to here is a day or two. The next transfer is December 11th. Time is starting to pick up now. The first few weeks were really slow but this last week went by quickly. Like all missionaries say the days are long, the weeks are quick. Thanks for the pictures you sent me, I need them because everyone is asking to see pictures of my family and I only have one from like two or three years ago.

Lastly, I had some time today to write some letters. I did one for Oupa & Ouma, Grandpa, and Grandma. I will try and get them in the mail this week. Oh by the way Happy late Birthday to Grandma and Marie, hope you two had excellent Birthdays.


Elder Miller
Ântonio who was baptized the first week in the field.
19 November 2012 Macumba

Hello Friends and Family,

There is so much I have to talk about and so little time. I will try and remember all the interesting things and include them in future emails.

Right now I'm in the heart of the city, Porto Alegre. We are here with a another companionship and a member of the ward who is preparing to go on a mission. The city is very cool with its old architecture and such. I passed the captial building just an hour ago which you could probably see on wikipedia. Lots of people are coming up to us asking where they can find our church. The  people are interested to hear what we are all about and we are happy to anwser. Its suprising how many people know about us here, I wonder if it has anything to do with Mormons being in the news lately?

I will tell you a couple things that happened this week. The first is that I went on splits with one of the zone leaders for a day. It was intense and what I expected missionary work to be like. We were talking to everyone and it seemed like we had an appointment every hour. It was very eye opening and spiritually uplifting. The zone leaders name is Elder Capistrano an African/Brazilian that has been out in the field for a long time. He was super humble and hard working. One experience that stood out was we went into a member's "house" which just some bricks and blankets, and sung christmas carols. It was good experience because the member was this old guy that looked as if he was about to cave any minute. He was missing his feet and was blind, obviously bed ridden. I was pretty choked up inside while we sang because the whole time I was thinking just how good we have it in the states. We are so blessed I can't even express it. It seems like I am thinking this way all the time out here, especially while in the favelas.

The lessons we had this week went very well. Renatta just needs a baptismal date now which we are hoping will be sometime in early December. Hopefully we can achieve this goal. Also, those brothers I told you about last week are actually a brother and a sister. The brother is Rafael who is 13, I think, and Ingrid who is maybe 16. Their grandma is a member and she reffered us to them. Our meeting were really good and I committed them to baptism! The problem is now the Mom of, Rafael and Ingrid, all of a sudden does not want us talking to them. It is really sad  that their mom would deny them such a blessing as this. Their mom is a less active member and we are scheduled to talk with her about the whole situation Thursday. Hopefully this meeting does not fall through, I have noticed in Brazil what you plan usually does not happen. Oh, and while we were talking with the Grandmother we made another contact. I can't remember her name but she is in her early twenties and is a family friend. We taught her a couple times and she went to church yesterday and had a really good experience. We committed her to baptism in December also. It was really funny yesterday at the end of the lesson because we asked her to pray and she would not do it because she said she felt "vergonha" or shame. Elder Queiroz and I just closed our eyes and folded our arms waiting for her to offer the prayer. Eventually, she finally prayed and it was very powerful, especially when she mentioned her parents that had passed away. I could feel the spirit and I know her parents were looking down on us.

The last thing I will mention in this email is Macumba. It is something native to Southern part of Brazil and is kind of creepy but worth mentioning. So there are a lot of these African ritual religions down here and they like to play with evil spirits. A couple nights ago I saw it for myself. There was this family and they had all these weird statues and paper etc. with a fire going on, and they had a cage with something in it. I dont know what was inside and I dont want to know, but lots of times they do sacrifices just out in the middle of the road and nobody does anything about it. Lots of times when we leave our apartments in the morning we see the remains of Macumba. It is actually kind of scary because the missionaries tell me that sometimes you might even come in contact with someone that is "possesed". Pretty crazy huh? Elder Queiroz gave me the whole run down on what to do if im ever in house or with someone like this, it was pretty funny. You can tell which houses you should not go into because in their front lawn they have these little red houses where they keep all their macumba stuff. Just thought that would be something to tell you all about, but dont worry about me. It just goes to show the mission rules are inspired because we were like 10 minutes late to getting back to our house when we saw this family starting their macumba session.

Questions. Christmas is going to be really weird this year since it will be hot and humid, we should be able to use skype at a members house, maybe the bishops. Don't worry about me being hungry anymore. We recieved a giant suitcase full of candy from Manaus this week. This should keep me going a couple more weeks haha. Oh! I found a pannini maker in the cupboard this week so I bought a bunch of meat, cheese, and bread and now I am a pannini making champion! Last, week I ran out of money so I had to use the debit card a lot. I should not run out of money again, last week we had to use to buses a lot for Elder Queiroz's doctors appointments which quickly burned through my cash.

Anyways there is a lot more I want to say but I have to go. I'll save it for next time.


Elder Miller

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hi Everyone

Ryan has been "tagged" in some Facebook pictures by some of his Brazilian friends so be sure to check out his Facebook page as well as this blog.

11 November 2012  The Lombas!

Hello Friends and Family,

This week out here in the field was kind of difficult mainly because I'm trying to become accustomed to this new way of living. First off, my area is well known for the lombas, or hills, in Português. My legs are taking a massive beating. At some points my tie is just about touching the road! That's a little bit of an exageration but you know what I mean. Elder Queiroz has a bunch of knee problems because of this so we spend a lot of time at the doctors office. There is a chance I could get a new trainer at the end of this transfer, we'll see. Also, the humidity was so bad this week. Two minutes out in the sun and we were drenched in sweat. I guess this is the life of a missionary it makes me way jealous of missionaries who have cars, and bikes back in the states.

Life out here in Rio Grande do Sul is very different than life back home. No air conditioning in the apartment just a bunch of crappy fans. No dinner! This one kills me, Brazilians in this state just have a gigantic lunch and then little snacks throughout the day. I do not know how any missionary in this mission could possibly stay fat you only really have one real meal and you walk the whole day, in my case you walk vertically! And there is a bunch of other little things I wish I had but I will stop complaining because I knew what I signed up for. The American missionaries all feel the same but they say you get used to it. Oh I have noticed that there is not very much variety in food here. There is like 5 things and all includes meat, rice, and beans. If you get lucky a member will make lasgna for us. I'm sure soon this will all be second nature.

We did a lot of walking this week, taught a few lessons, and did a tiny bit of contacts. My compainion does not like to do contacts and neither do I, but I think we should man up and do a little more this week espically in our down time when we dont having anything on the go. We taught Renata again this week. She is super stoked to be baptised. She knows everything we tell her is true and she lives up to all our commitments we give to her. Pretty much the perfect investigator. Also, I think there might be two brothers of a less active member that want the lessons. We have an appoinment today so we will see how it goes.

The Português is slowly coming along. This week it was a lot easier to understand what was being said. I can pretty much get the main points of what people are talking about. Speaking is difficult because of the little rules and such. There is a lot of conjugations and other things you have to worry about while talking. I know with time it will get better. I will take dad´s advice and just talk about anything with anyone. Try and be their friend first. 

I enjoy getting your emails and letters and I will be on the lookout for some packages. Now on to some questions, Elder Taylor in the photo is just one of my good buddies I made while in the MTC. And the other photo was of my district. I have a lot more pictures in the MTC but I can only send like 2 pictures at a time through email.
 Some Elders here wait until they fill their camera full of photos and then put it on a zip drive and send it home in a letter or something. Tell me if thats a good idea or not. Lots of missionaries accidently delete or misplace photos so this is one way to have a back-up.
My apartment is this little 3 story building with a few rooms on each floor and we do have a stove.  Yes, my companion can speak a tiny bit of English. He took a couple years worth of classes in High School, he is like me he can understand whats being said but talking is difficult.

Anyways, that's it for now. I will try and take some photos this week.

Love ya,

Elder Miller

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 November 2012 - First week in the field

Hello Family and Friends,

So I have finally arrived in Porto Alegre, my home for the next two years. The flight was fine and we all arrived as scheduled. Elder Beary, Gagnon, Tapp, and Russell all got to sit with each other on the flight. We had to wake up very early in the morning and get into this very sketchy van which took us to the airport. It was very weird because the driver took us to the airport and just dropped us off and we had to figure out where to go to find our flight. I have found out this is to be expected here in Brazil, it is not like the good ole' US of A where you are pampered wherever you go.

Our mission president, Casto, greeted us with his wife, son, and the AP's at the airport. When we arrived at the mission office we had interviews and were given the run-down on all the mission rules. A few hours in we got our trainers. I got Elder Queiroz, a missionary that has been in the field for 8 months. He is from Manaus aka the Amazon, but he is definitely a city boy.
My area is called Glória, it is in the Porto Alegre zone so I'm basically in the city. The place is more or less a middle to lower class area. There are some favelas here, or really poor areas that we have gone through a couple times. My ward is really nice , the people are really friendly. We have lunch with the members almost everyday. We eat alot during lunch because we dont really have that much to eat back at the apartment. Oh! The apartment... needless to say it is kind of a dump. When I first arrived with my companion I was kinda shocked. I think he could see that I was pretty stunned so he started cleaning while I unpacked. When I finished unpacking I helped him and now the place is habitable. It makes me really appreciate what we have back home.
On to my companion/trainer. Elder Queiroz is a very likable guy. He teaches well and he has a genuine concern for helping me learn Português. Im a little disappionted at times though because he likes spending a lot of time talking with members at lunch when we could be doing something that matters. I think this is my first trial which is to always be doing something productive. He has been in Gloria for a little more than half his mission so I think he is a little tired of the area. I asked him if we are going to work hard this week and he said we are going to do alot of contacts so maybe he was just taking it easy on me the first week.

This week we visited a few people. We even had a baptism! haha of course I wasn't here for when Ântonio was been taught but it was nice to have a baptism in my first week. Elder Queiroz has had 5 baptisms thus far on his mission, I hope I can get more than this. All the missionaries here talk about is baptize, baptize, baptize. I got to teach some of the Restoration to a 17 year old girl named Renata. I asked her if she would be baptized when she recieves an anwser to her prayers and she said YES! I was super happy and I hope we can teach her quickly and get another baptism. She has really good feelings when she reads the BOM so this is good.

To anwser moms question last week, yes lots of missionaries get robbed here in Porto Alegre. This week some zone leaders were robbed. I feel like a prime target out here with my blonde hair and nice clothes. I make sure not to carry anything I don't need. I will be fine, Elder Queiroz is really street smart.

The weather and food are both awesome out here in the field. The field is very different than the mtc. I will try and put some pictures in with this email of the mtc and my trainer. 

This whole week Brazilians have been asking me about the hurricane in New York, and things about Romney. I keep on telling them I have no idea whats going on back in the States. I read your emails and it sounds like things are pretty hectic back in the States. I hope Romney wins!

I have come to realize that Português is very difficult. The people talk at lightning speed and I can't really keep up. Also, there is a ton of vocabulary I need learn/study. Hopefully in a couple months I can hold my own out here. Right now I'm just sort of staring at people while they talk and then Elder Queiroz tries to simplify it for me haha.

My mailing address is the mission office. I live close to it so I can get mail just about everyweek.
Elder Ryan Allan Miller
Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission
Av. Princesa Isabel, 342-B
90629-000 Porto Alegre - RS
Once I'm transferred to another area far from the office I will have to wait along time for mail. I will try to send a real letter off to you today.

Anyways, that is pretty much it for now. I hope we can work hard this week, get lost in the work. 

Love you always,

Elder Miller

Saturday, November 3, 2012

24 October 2012
I will start off by anwsering some questions. Yes, there are 5 Elders in my district that will be going with me to Porto Alegre this coming Tuesday. Yes, we are flying out of Sao Paulo airport early in the morning.  I will try to send some photos through email to you once im in the field, as of right now I have not taken that many because we arent really allowed to because we dont want to look like a bunch of tourists. But I have taken some with some friends of mine and some Elders from my district.

This past week was very eye opening. We went and proselyted near the MTC for a few hours. It was difficult at first because we were all a little timid about talking with people, especially since our Portuguese is still very much in the works. Our companionship ended up handing out 4 books of mormon. I found myself stumbling all over my words with the people so I think it is a miracle that we handed out that many books. I realized I have a long way to go before I can be the missionary I want to be, but I'm willing to put in whatever work is necessary. Elder Russell had a cool experience talking with a guy that was very knowledgeable about Christ's ministry. At first he didnt accept the book we gave him but after talking with him for awhile he seemed interested, we think that maybe he was a church member or something haha. Our next time proselyting is on Monday and we will go into the center of Sao Paulo. I think this will be better because everyone around the MTC has like 3 BOM's already.

I saw ReubenHurst today at the distribution center! It was so good to see him. We got to talk for a little bit before I had to leave, it made my day. I want to get in contact with Elder Winston Hurst but I need his info.

Thank you for all the letters you have been sending me. My whole district is really jealous because the quantity of letters I have been recieving. I got 2 more letters from Dad and 1 from Jessie. Also, I got a bunch from the Lofstrands. I wrote letters to them and Jessie, so be on the look out in a couple weeks. I will try and write letters to Mom and Dad when I'm in the field. 

Love Elder Miller 

P.S. I dont know exactly when I will be able to email again. It might be on my first P-Day in the field

Sunday, October 21, 2012

17 October 2012

Week seven is officially over which means I only have two more weeks in the MTC! I'm leaving the MTC on October 30th, that should be a Tuesday. My P-Day in the field will be definitely be different but I'm not sure what day of the week it will be on. I'm doing well even though this week was more tough than the previous weeks. The more we learn to speak Portuguese the harder its getting with all the subjunctives and conditions that dictate the way you have to speak. A member of the area 70 told everyone in our devotional last night to not worry about the language, he says once you are in the field everyone recieves the gift of tounges haha.

We got new Brazilians this week. One is from Brazil and the other is from Mexico I think. The spanish speakers have to stay in the MTC for 6 weeks and the Brazilians stay for 3 weeks. Our new roomates are slowing becoming more and more comfortable being in the same room with a bunch of Americans. I can understand why it could be strange for them.

This next week we get to go prostelyting twice during the week. Basically they take us out into the center of Sao Paulo, drop us off, and come pick us up three hours later. It should be interesting to say the least with our broken Portuguese haha. We are supposed to give out a certain number of Book of Mormons. It will be a trial by fire, but everyone comes back saying it was the best experience they had in the MTC.

I'm excited to hear all the sports news from Dad, and Grandpa. I hear the Seahawks are doing really well and Manning is still the clutch quaterback of the past. Also, it sounds like Romney is doing well which I am glad to hear. It is definitly a topic we discuss between us missionaries, and we are all rooting for him. I got my first handwritten letter from Dad this week and it was awesome. I had been waiting for that letter for awhile now. Also, I'm becoming anxious to see what Jessie wrote me and I look forward to writing her back. Im so happy to hear Greg is getting some interviews with some companies, I know he will do well wherever he ends up. Im jealous of Oupa right now because he is in Sweden. One day I want to go to Sweden and see where it all began on that side of our family. And mom I am so proud of you for doing all these workouts lately, I dont think I could even do an insanity workout especially right now haha. I get 50minutes for excercise but I usually just go and play volleyball with our district and there is not a lot of movement in that sport.

I got some news from some Elders from Porto Alegre this week. Apparently our mission president is a very nice man and is rather laid back. The Porto Alegre mission is one of the harder missions in Brazil, not as many baptisms as other parts of Brazil :(. Like our member of the 70 said last night if we believe we can get a baptism every week, we will.

That's it for now, 

Love Elder Miller
10 October 2012

 Conference this past weekend was so awesome. There were so many good talks, I was touched by all of them. I almost broke down in a couple of talks because they mentioned families and how we can be together for eternity, Im so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. Oh, and when President Monson announced that missionaries can now leave when they are 18 everyone busted out cheering in the auditorium. We all talked about how there will be more missionaries out in the field, especially more girl missionaries. I liked Oupa´s letter because he said, "Now missionaries are going to be going to the MTC on skateboards and in there spiderman pajamas." Haha this is true, even I feel too young to be doing this work so I can only imagine being 18. I want Greg to know that I took his advice and wrote down some questions I had before conference started. All my questions were anwsered and I felt very good after this.

Its getting pretty hot here in Brazil. I think it is around 26 celcius now and getting hotter by the day. Im starting to become anxious to go to Porto Alegre, the MTC is very repitious now. I had a couple spiritual experiences this week with some of the other Elders in my District. We were wondering if we were actually feeling the spirit or if it was just ourselves making us feel this way. We all got on our knees and each took a turn praying, and I can honestly say we all felt the spirit. It was the strongest I've felt it since being here. The Elders in my district are some of the best guys I've ever met. We have all grown so close with each other and it is going to be sad when we all go our seperate ways.

How is the blog going? Also, I need whoever has control over my Facebook to go on and accept the friend requests from my teachers! Israel, and Matos are their names, they told me that they found my facebook page and sent friend requests. They might have some pictures with me, Im not sure though. I want you to send me an email with a recent picture of our family, my teacher says that it can be a powerful tool when sharing it with investigators. Oh, and if you plan on handwritting me send it to my field address, it wont get here to the MTC before I leave. Also, let people know on Facebook that my mailing address is going to change. I didnt get any Brazilian roomates this week, Im sure we will get some this week. Other than this nothing really new happened, same old routine until we leave for the field. Im getting good at volleyball haha. Oh! Try and get Reuben to meet up with me at the Temple, I havent gotten a response in my email from him. We usually make it to the 8 o clock session.

I hope everyone is doing well, it sounds like it from all the letters Im getting.

Love you guys,

Elder Miller
3 October 2012

This week has been great. I understood Português so much better this week, it has started to click in my mind what people are saying. No doubt the power of God is working in this place, there is just no way a bunch of 19 year olds could be picking up this language this quickly without some divine help. My district had our first English fast which means we tryed our best not to speak English the whole day. This helped me out a lot with my speaking and I think my district is going to start having English fasts more often.

Our Brazilian roomates left for the mission yesterday. They are both going to Fortaleza, Brazil. We should be getting some new roomates tomorrow which will be good for us. Brazilian roomates are the best to learn Português from, but eventually you just start learning how to speak Português slang haha.

Today has been such a good day for my companions and I. First, we went on our temple trip as usual but then we went to a burger joint for lunch and it was amazing. It was on the same level as Gazeebo Burger. And after that we went to Cheneys where I picked up my package. I had not told my companions that we were getting milkshakes from you so when they saw I recieved 3 chocolate milkshakes they were so sad haha. Then after a few minutes I told them that the milkshakes were for all of us and now they want to be adopted into our family. The milkshakes were sooo good, it was insane. My companions are very grateful for this.

To awnser some questions you guys have been emailing me about, yes I leave the MTC on P-days. We are allowed to go a few blocks around the MTC, and yes I try to interact with the locals. The locals talk very fast and since they dont talk about church like things it can be hard to understand them. Grandma sent me a letter this week wanting to know how to greet people in Português. To say Hi, you say Oi. To say goodbye, you say Tchau which sounds like the word chow. The most common thing to say to someone is Tudo Bem, which sounds like two do bain. That means everything is good, it is like our hows it going sort of.

I sent a few letters off through Cheneys today. One for Mom and one for Dad and one for Grandpa. I havent recieved any hand written letters from you all yet, it takes awhile to get here. Dad, it hurts me to hear the cowboys are playing mediocre this year, but I still have faith in them. Im feeling a Super Bowl this year haha I hope at least the rangers can pull through this year.

Other than that it has been a pretty normal week. We are looking forward to conference this weekend. I think we will all huddle into the gymnasium and watch it. Oh, and this weekend in TRC we get to be investigators for the new guys who have only been here a week in which will be fun haha.


Thats it for week five in the MTC. 4 to go

Love you all, Elder Miller  

26 September 2012

I am almost half-way through the MTC here in São Paulo. It is crazy because it literally felt like yesterday that I left home. The days are going by so fast and the weeks are moving even faster. It is scary because there is so little time to prepare before I get out in the real world. Mom it is funny that you put Ether 12:27 in your last email to me because that is the scripture I want on my missionary plaque. There are so many good scriptures I could put on my plaque but that one stands out to me.

Thank you for all the cookies you have been getting me. I so look forward to going to Cheneys and seeing that I have a package waiting for me. I now have a balance with all the cookies I have. I usually take out four at a time and devour them in seconds. Lately I have been trying to be a little more christ-like and giving one or two to someone. I gave one to Irmão Israel, or brother Israel my Portuguese teacher. He appreciated it and gave me a hug. It was funny because he like 4feet tall so I had to get on my knees to give him a hug. Also, Im looking forward to the milkshakes.

It has been raining the past week and with the rain came some colder weather. I love it outside now because it isnt so hot anymore. Brazil is an awesome place and I cant wait for you guys to see it with me one day.

My Brazilian room mates are very nice. They are very kind even though they cant really understand us. We have started praying with them at night in Portuguese and they will tell us if we said something incorrectly. One of them is going to Porto Alegre so who knows maybe we will be mission companions one of these days. The MTC is slowly becoming vacant. There are a lot less people here than when we first got here. It is kinda sad.

I got a letter from Greg and the Lofstrands this week. All the Elders in my district were so jealous when I opened the Lofstrands letters because there was like six letters in there and a story about a penguin that Lucy wrote. I read the story out loud to my whole district and they got a real big kick out of it, it was hilarious. Also, Greg put a photo in with his letter. I had to fight off all the sisters trying to get a hold of it. Oh, and Greg im sending you a letter through mom and dad, and I want you to send me the 8 fundamentals thing you were talking about.

Im kicking it into a higher gear here in the MTC. I have started reading the bible and Im about half way done with the Book of Mormon and Im trying to start reading it in Portuguese. I have taken on the leadership role in my companionship because I feel that we have a lot of potential.

 Anyways, time is running out on my email

 Love you guys lots,

 Love Elder Miller

19 September 2012

This 3rd week in the MTC was a very good one. First off, we got Brazilians in our dorm room. It is fun to try and talk to them but I dont have the vocabualry to keep a conversation going for very long and they speak very quickly I cant keep up. Speaking Portuguese was a lot better this week especially in TRC. TRC is when we get filmed trying to teach a lesson according to the investiagators needs. I was able to mostly understand what the investigator was telling me and I was able to communicate back to them. It was a real confidence booster and I got some good feedback.

I had a cool experience when our district went to the federal police station to do some visa stuff. This young Brazilian man came up to me and asked if I knew English. I almost told him that I didnt know how to speak English because no one here has ever asked me that, they always ask if I speak Portuguese and I usually tell them no. So this guy and I got to talking and He asked whats our purpose for being in Brazil and I told him we are volunteers for our chuch. We give up two years of our lives to serve the Lord and the people of Brazil. After talking a little bit about myself and our message the man said he was very touched about what I had to say and I got his information and passed it on to some missionaries in the field. This man was mechanical engineer working in Sao Paulo and he was really stoked to have the missionaries come over. This made me feel very good that day and I was grateful to be in the right place at the right time. 

In the temple today the power went down during our session. It was so funny and eventually we just had to leave without finishing the endowment. There was a bunch of missionaries leaving for home that day at the temple, it was so fun to talk with them they are beyond excited to get home mainly beacuse of the Dark Knight haha. The food here in Sao Paulo is pretty good. It usually consists of a couple meats with some beans and rice. Also, there is some gross dessert that we always get. Our district enjoys watching Elder Russell eat all our desserts in one bite, it is disgusting but hilarious. Alot of my freinds from BYU hit the field yesterday. Elder Funk, Elder Peters, and Elder Walton were all in Budge with me, I took some pictures that hopefully I can send to you guys sometime soon.

Thanks for all the letters you all are sending me, I enjoy getting the updates from the outside world. Dad, keep sending me updates on the sports I love that stuff. Through Cheneys I get all of them within a day that you send them. I got letters from Oupa and Grandpa today and I was really happy for that. I need you to send me their emails so I can send them letters through cheneys but they have to be signed up, that way they can get my letters without having to wait weeks. I have been getting some letters from my friends out on mission. Their stories are so cool, it makes me way amped to get out there. Im looking forward to getting some handwritten letters from you all. I will write you back as fast as I can, a handwritten letter takes about a week and a half priority mail to get to the States.

 I love you guys and Im always thinking about you all, 

Love Elder Miller

12 September 2012
This week was pretty difficult mainly because of the language. I can read and write portuguese better than I can speak\understand it right now. It will come eventually it is just frustrating trying to teach someone when you cant speak the words which you are thinking. My district is pretty slow at learning the language so I feel like Im getting held back, but it is all good. 

The days are starting to go by quickly now. We have a routine each day. Usually it is personal then language study until lunch time then we get a Portuguese teacher for a few hours. At night we get another teacher but she doesnt speak english so it is hard getting anything done at night. My first teacher is this little guy from Porto Alegre. He is awesome and I stay after class and ask him all these questions about Porto Alegre. It sounds so nice, but the work sounds a lot more tough than the rest of Brasil. If somebody doesnt want to hear your message they will straight up tell you unlike the rest of Brazil where it is easy to be engaging.  

Even though my district is a little off task most of the times we have so much fun together. We play volleyball pretty much everyday and it gets pretty competitve. There is an Elder hear named Elder Taylor, he is pretty much my best bud here. He is this California surfer dude that reminds me a lot of my friend Ryan Taylor in Costa Rica. Another notable Elder in my district is Elder Spencer he is this way cool kid from Salt Lake and he knows Dallin Hall. He played for West Minister lacrosse so thats how he got to know him.  

Anyways, some stuff that happened to me this week. We got video taped trying to teach an investigator in Portuguese. It was so bad haha. And everybody can go and watch it and it is streamed live to Salt Lake. I thought I did okay, but my companions sucked it up. I also got a haircut this week. The barber guy used a stright razor on me which at first was kinda scary, but he did a really good job even though he didnt speak english. I got back from the temple a little bit ago. We got stuck in Sao Paulo traffic which was terrible. 

Other than that im doing well. I try my best everyday to do the best I can.

Love you guys,


Love Elder Miller

5 September 2012


So this first week in the MTC was a lot of fun. The MTC here in Sao Paulo is very laid back compared to the Provo MTC from what other elders have told me. Everything is on our own honor. My district and I wake up at 6.30am and have language/personal study until the afternoon. Then we get a teacher that teaches us the basics of Portuguese. We already have to teach fake investigators in Portuguese! It is really hard because we have to figure everything out ourselves.


I’m in a trio of missionaries, Elder Russell and Elder Tapp. The first elder is from Oregon and the second is from Idaho.


The first few days it felt like a dream being here, I didn’t think it was really happening. Our district must have looked so lost when we got to the MTC because we couldn’t believe we were actually on mission now and in Brazil. Sao Paulo is a gigantic city. When you look outside all you see is buildings for miles, apparently there are 20 million people living here. The food is good but a little strange.


Today is p-day so we got to go to the Sao Paulo temple which was really nice. It is a beautiful temple. Then we got to leave the MTC and check out the city within a certain boundary of course. I bought some sweet Brazilian flip-flops! I want to buy a bunch of watches and ties here cause they are so cheap haha but they look super nice.


There are a bunch of my friends from budge hall here. It is like the good old days when we talk about the things that happened while we were at college. A good friend of mine for BYU just finished his 9th week and left yesterday. Its nuts he was speaking fluent Portuguese. These missionaries here learn so fast I just hope that I can learn as quickly as they do. We might get some Brazilian roommates which should help a lot. Brazilians are the nicest people on Earth. They just want to know all about you and be your friend. No wonder the Church is so strong in this part of the world.


There are about six missionaries in my district going to Porto Alegre. Apparently the church is growing quickly down there. I can’t wait to get there, it sounds like the crown jewel of all of Brazil. The older Brazilians think it is funny that a Texan is going to Porto Alegre because both places have a lot of pride for their state.


One last thing, sign up for this mission ties thing you will be getting through your email. It makes sending things to Brazil a lot easier, and it is run by this church member here in the MTC.


Got to go,

I love you guys more than anything in the whole world

Love, Elder Miller