Sunday, March 10, 2013

21 January 2013 Second Transfer Complete

Hello Friends and Family,

So this past transfer, though it was a beating, turned out to be a major success in my eyes. Yesterday, we had two different investigators at church and 4 separate reactivation of members that had been less actives for a long period of time. It was so cool and I could hardly stop smiling the whole time at church. All the hard work and mental stress paid off. Elder Skouson said it was the hardest transfer of his mission thus far. With little help we took a dry patch of ground and made it fertile once again.

You want to know what is going to happen with me this next transfer??? Drum roll... I'm getting transferred to Butiá!!! Butiá is located on the outskirts of Porto Alegre the city. So I'm not going to far from where I am right now but it should be a nice change, new environment, new missionaries, and less hills. I don't know who is going to be my next companion but I have a hunch it is going to be Elder Weber, a Brazilian. From what I've heard about him he sounds like "a good guy" so I hope that means he likes to work, we'll see. Tomorrow around 2 o' clock I will travel to the train station where the transfers take place, find my new companion, and off we go!

I has been a huge learning experience here in Glória and I'm so stoked to have started my mission here. I won't get any harder than this area from what people tell me, I hope they aren't joking.

My Portuguese is well enough now that I can communicate and understand pretty much everything. Speaking is still a bit of a challenge some times but it has improved 7 fold. One more transfer and I should be a talking fool. The Americans tell me not to worry about it, they say I'm speaking better than they were at 5 months, 3 in the field. I'm more concerned about teaching with the spirit now. There was a missionary that passed through this mission a few years back that finished his mission barely speaking Portuguese but he was one of the most successful missionaries to pass through this mission. It was because he taught with the spirit in a way that his investigators, even though that didn't understand his speech, knew that what he was saying was true. I heard that in his last weeks in the mission he baptized like 20 something people!!!

A lot of cool experiences happened this week. First off, we taught a young man, 17years old, named André. He is a street contact I made this one day in pouring rain. He was playing soccer by himself pulling a bunch of fancy moves and I, trying not to be awkward, just asked him "Where did you learn to play soccer like this" and so we started talking. We taught him a couple times this week and I have high hopes for him in the future with the next missionary that comes here.

Also, one day this week we were looking for the address number 71. It was one number in a long list a contacts made by other Elders that had passed through this area some time back. To make a long story short we could not find 71, this happens a lot, but we saw a number 73 and for "some reason" decided to knock on that door to find directions for number 71. We clapped outside the house and out came this lady, probably in her early 50's. I began to say "We are missionaries of the church"... and she said, "of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." We were a bit shocked and begun to question how she knew the church. Turns out she was baptized 18 years back but had turned away from the church soon after. She had moved a couple times since and I doubt anyone knew where she was. We talked a bit and she said that she had recently moved because her husband had been beating the family for some time and judge said she had to move from the area or lose the kids. She has a bunch of kids that are pretty much grown up now, but she has a bundle of grand kids that live with her, some of them are of baptism age. We picked her up to go to church yesterday and we will see what happens in the future. I hope Elder Skouson and the new Elder can get that family's life back together with the help of the church.

The rest of the day today I will pack my bags and get ready for tomorrow. Oh and Elder Bednar is coming in this week. I'm super stoked. Not only is a living apostle going to be here but it's going to be almost one on one with him, because it is just the Porto Alegre zones that will see him, not the whole mission. Happy Birthday Dad, Love you a ton. GO 49'rs! This super bowl sounds like a good one.

Much Love,

Elder Miller
14 January 2013 My Turn to Be Senior

Another rough and tough week for this guy. This makes it 20 weeks since I left for the mission, the time has gone by very quickly. This week I was the "Senior" missionary. It is all part of the 12 week training program they have for new missionaries entering the field. The program involves fulfilling requirements that any ordinary missionary would have to do, such as, teaching a certain topic, learning how to ask inspired questions, filling out records for our investigators, planning etc.. By week 12 you should know pretty much how to do everything out in the field. Week 11 the trainee leads in everything to get a taste of what it feels like to be the lead companion.

All in all my week was pretty good. We managed to improve our numbers from the previous weeks in all aspects. The secret was that I made sure that we had made back-up plans for when appointments fell through or if we found ourselves with nothing else to do. This helped us out a lot to always stay busy, and it helped open up windows of opportunity. We found 4 new investigators including a small/young family and few more potentials. Also, we taught more lessons than the previous 4 weeks, which isn't really saying much but it is an improvement. Part of the job of being a senior is making phone calls and calling all the shots. It was pretty easy but I can see why my companions are always so stressed out.

Even though this week was a big improvement for our companionship, our numbers are way down from when I was with Elder Quieroz. I think a big part is the time of the season. Everyone is either at the beach for the next month or working overtime to make some extra cash. We spend a lot of the day trying to find new investigators and that means walking/climbing hills and hitting doors all day, not my favorite way to work. Also, we are getting a ton of rejection, and people that make false promises. We should have had three separate families at church yesterday but no one showed up. That definitely hurt so we spent our whole Sunday just trying to find one "elect" individual, but had no luck.

Next week is a transfer week. I will find out early Monday morning if I stay in Gloria or get sent somewhere else. I'm hoping I get transferred. This transfer has been a big test of mental, and physical endurance, I'm not sure if another round here will do me any good. Elder Skouson's knees are already starting to cave, mine are doing well. But whatever happens it will be for the best, I just hope the Pres. has mercy on me and sends me somewhere that I will truly benefit. I would like to be sent to Pelotas, or out in the country close to Uruguay that would be cool. Pelotas is a city that tends to have the majority of baptisms here in our mission. Some rural type places would be, Bagé or Rio Grande. My fingers are crossed.

I enjoyed the packages I received this week. I got packages from the Lofstrands, Bluhms, and the ward. I send my love and appreciation to these people and will try and write some letters here soon. Mom, to answer you question yes we do get leaders from the church that come and talk to us. Usually they are Brazilians from the Seventy. If I stay here in Porto Alegre this next transfer I will able to see Elder Bednar who will be here in Porto Alegre the 26th this month. That will be sweet! Elder Holland came here back in April, too bad I wasn't here for that.

Anyways, I feeling really tired right now but trying to keep the fire kindled with the hope that we will somehow find that special investigator. I will do anything to find them whether it be climbing hills under the hot sun, knocking doors all day, visit with every member in the ward. I want success badly. I want to become the missionary the Lord needs me to be.


Elder Miller  
7 January 2013 Week 10 in the Field. That means 19 weeks - 104weeks equals when I come

It was another difficult and rather strange week. It started out with a wicked case of diarrhea which I probably got from drinking some dirty water. It plagued me all day until a thought popped into my head, "Why haven't I prayed for help yet?" Quickly I got down on my knees and started a fervent prayer. Before I was even done praying I felt the pain and urge "to go" leave my body. It was pretty incredible and in that very same prayer I was already thanking our Heavenly Father for that blessing haha. Truly was a crappy way to start the week.

I met all a lot of strange people during the week. One in particular was this old guy up on the top of our area in Belem Velho. As I was walking and I heard "Elder... Elder!" I looked back to this guy on his roof calling out to us. He provided a tour of his house showing all these scriptures and such he had put up on the walls throughout his house, he even had this little sanctuary he made for Jesus. It was very weird and he was obviously a little drunk. He asked us a bunch of random biblical questions that we didn't know, and Elder Skouson kept on trying to get a lesson started. Turns out the guy knows three languages German, Portuguese, and English. He is actually a really smart guy and is rather well off. Later we found out his whole purpose for calling us into his house was to give us and the church a bunch of money haha. We obviously declined and set up a lesson this week. Hopefully he will be sober when we show up because he could be a great addition to our ward. Just weird things like this happened pretty much the whole week.

We did manage to find a new investigator. Her name is Carmen and is a little on the older side. The problem is that she smokes like a chimney but is really serious on stopping. It will be difficult but this lady has a ton of faith. After one of our lessons I asked Elder Skouson "How are we going to get her to stop smoking" and he replied, "just get her to read the Book of Mormon." It is so true the Book of Mormon works wonders. If someone really has a true testimony of this book they can do anything.

Other things this week... I bought a gigantic chicken heart pizza for Elder Skouson and I. It was my Christmas/birthday present to him. His Birthday was the 23rd of December. And yes Mom the guy who baptized you is a friend of the Skouson family. Pretty cool huh? It truly is a small world. I asked Elder Skouson if any Skousons served in South Africa to find out if that missionary who served with dad is a relative or not. But he doesn't know because his family is huge. He said if the guy who served with dad had a name spelt like Skouson then it definitely is a relative.

I received letters from G'Ma and Oupa this week. I got a sweet picture of Seattle from G'ma and some reals (Brazilian $$$) from Oupa. Oupa said that he had this money from way back when. It was cool because it was a bunch of paper 1$ reals which are pretty rare to find in Brazil anymore since they were converted into coins a while back. Oh some other news is that up in the North of Brazil they are baptizing like crazy. In the Manaus mission they baptized over 200 people in a week! To give you some perspective our mission here in the south averages a little more than 600 baptisms in a year. That is crazy!

Not much else this week. Just trying to stay out and about working, hoping for success here soon. Lots of people are gone for the holidays and we are getting denied by everyone :(. Hopefully we will get some inspiration this week. 

Much Love,

Elder Miller 

p.s I only got about an hour to email including reading and writing emails. mish rules