Monday, July 15, 2013

15 July 2013   Lot's of Gaúchos

Hello Family and Friends,

 This week was rather normal so there is not too much to report. The highlight of the week was that we invited one of our investigators, G, to be baptized along with 2 of her kids. She accepted the invitation but is still waiting for an answer from God to be fully committed. She has been a member of the Igreja Universal- Evangelical Church- for 14 years now so she is still a little hesitant in accepting everything. She did mention that whenever we leave her house it feels like something good is missing, aka the Spirit. Also, she has some form of cancer and the other day her pastor tried to "cure" her from the disease, and she told us for the first time she felt the biggest impression to leave the church. We will see what happens this week with her if she received an answer or not. 

We will be having a big activity in the ward this week, Dessert Night. I was an activity that I thought up and with the help of the other missionaries we will give a message of the Atonement of Christ. We have put everything together and have invited everyone in the ward. We are hoping that they will bring friends and family to the event so that we can increase the number of people that we are teaching. This activity will give us a good idea of how willing the ward is to help the missionary work, and according to the results we will be able to plan bigger and better activities for the future.

The zone leaders and some other missionaries are coming to our area tomorrow to help us out in our area. We are working hard, but our numbers are pretty low still so they will contact a bunch of people for us to teach, I think. I don't really know why they are so worried about us, but I accept the help. I won't lie it has been a great challenge opening up this area especially since NOTHING was left for us to work with from the previous elders. But we have 2 special families we are working with for now and my plan for this week is to find a whole lot more. We were forced to slow down the work this week because of a rain storm that lasted a couple days. It was not fun working at all. Not one person allowed us to go into their house. As much as people tell you that it is easier to enter into houses during the rain it is false, it seems almost worse. But everything is good and I'm not worried, I know things will happen in the Lord's time.

So I have not mentioned much about the area. First, we live in an apartment: 1 study room, kitchen, washer room, bathroom, and room to sleep. It is really nice after a good wash and I am enjoying it. Our city is divided into two parts, I have the North section, and Elder Beary, the senior companion, has the South section. Our section is rather poor and more rural than the south section which has the city center and suburbs. What really stinks is that the majority of the members live in the South section and thus the majority of references are for their area. So basically Elder Machado and I are on our own.

We are living in city with a heavy Gaúcho influence. There is a lot of people on horses and there is a lot of agriculture around here. The food is a lot better than my last area. They spice things up with salads, and noodles etc.. We still eat a ton of meat which is cool. The members are really cool and humble people. They seem to have a desire to work with the missionaries which is a bonus. All in all I like the area, we just need to keep on working hard and I think things will turn around. The people here are not really receptive of the gospel, but hey there has to got be someone that wants to hear the good word we just have to find them.

That is all for now,

Love Elder Miller

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

8 July 2013   There is no substitute for work

Hello Family and Friends,
So my second week in Dom Pedrito has already flown by, it was tough but worth it. We taught quite a few lessons and we were able to find some new investigators. Now we need to invite them to be baptized which is our goal this week.

My companion and I are doing well here in Dom Pedrito considering the circumstances, being both new in the area and all. I feel like we have the trust of the members already. We have marked a few Family Nights with the less-actives members of the area and we are organizing an activity in the chapel for the 19th of July. I know that through the members of the church we will be able to have much more success than working alone. So our game plan is to strengthen the less-active members through Family Nights and plan activities for the active members to bring friends and family members to the church. Soon our Ward Mission Leader will be able to help us out a lot. He has been recovering from an emergency surgery due to appendicitis, I know about that. He used to be the bishop in Dom Pedrito and he knows almost everyone in the city so he will be a great asset.

Like I mentioned above this week was no small task, it was all about finding people to teach. We walked, contacted, knocked doors, and walked some more. By the end of the week my companion was wiped out, literally. I know the work has been pretty hard, but I know he is grateful to have a companion that does not mess around. While walking in the street one night he told me that he is grateful to work and follow all the rules because he does not have a heavy conscience. He also said that as we have been obedient and working hard he has been able to say and teach things that he wasn't able to before. In other words, he feels a lot closer to the spirit through our  diligence and obedience. I feel the same way as him. I have faith that by fulfilling all the commandments we will be blessed immensely in our area. I know that sometimes those blessings do not come immediately and sometimes we will not have the privilege to see these blessings in our own time, but they will come, of this I have certainty. 

Other than this there is not much to say. The protests in Brazil are getting worse, I am learning a ton being the senior companion, there are some good cooks in our ward, and living with three other missionaries is nuts! The temperature is getting colder but it is not too bad. I have a cold right now because one of the Elders opened the window last night and I ended up getting blasted by the cold breeze. 

This week the letter is pretty short, but hopefully I will have a lot more to say in the next letter home. I missed you all on the 4th of July. Elder Beary and I made up for it by singing the US anthem to our fellow Brazilian roomates and making hotdogs.

Thats all for now,


Love Elder Miller
1 July 2013  Here in Dom Pedrito

Hello Family and Friends, 

Well, I finally arrived in my new area late Wednesday night. We left Porto Alegre Tuesday and arrived in Bagé around midnight. I spent the night with other elders in Elder Weber's apartment ha ha. It was just like good ole' times with Elder Weber back in Butiá. I told him everything that had happened there the past few months and he was happy to hear that we had really made a change in that area. We got up early the next day and went to a zone meeting in Bagé. Later we had lunch and got all our luggage together to make our final trip to Dom Pedrito, an hour and a half away.

We arrived in our apartment in Dom Pedrito around 5:00 and we started to unpack. I was not surprised to see that our apartment was in terrible condition when we walked in. -This morning we cleaned everything and the apartment is now looking very well- Later we went to a meeting with the Bishop and other leaders of the ward. Yes, it is a ward but the frequency of members is about that of Butiá when I left. So that was about it our first day.

The rest of the week Elder Machado and I went to work on full-speed, contacting people in the street, visiting less-active members, and visiting other active member to get a good idea of what we are working with. We walked and walked and walked and walked a little more.  I don't know if I mentioned that we are opening up the area, the last companionship was taken out of the area. Also, the other elders did not have ANYTHING for us, no appointments, no investigators, no contacts, and very little information about the members. We little literally are starting from zero here.

We did a lot this week considering what we had to work with. I kind of feel bad because I think I burnt out Elder Machado this first week. By the end of the week there was literally no fire left in him, but I kept on wanting to work. I'm trying to find a balance right now with him because he has a few health issues and is relatively a new missionary, but he is a fighter. He had just finished opening up another area in Arroio dos Ratos which is a difficult area, and he had a lot of success there. His testimony is really strong and I can see him having a lot of success on the mission.

I was called to give a talk Sunday. Welcome to Dom Pedrito ha ha! I basically told the ward that we needed to work together, missionaries and members in order to have some real success in the area. I think the ward really likes us and sees potential in us.

Living in an apartment with 4 missionaries is very different. There is a lot more noise and distractions, but at least there is never a dull moment. The other companionship is Elder Beary, from my original group back in São Paulo, and Elder Carlos a Brazilian, recent convert with about 6 months on the mission. They are both really funny.

All in all this week was good but extremely difficult. It will be like this for a few more weeks, but I know that soon through our hard work and obedience we will be blessed. We already have been blessed in this area! We were able to bring a member with us to a few lessons and we have made some new investigators already. In this first week I have grown a lot as a missionary. I have had to take a leadership role not only in my companionship, but in the apartment also. Also, I have had to come out of my shell a lot by trying to talk with everyone, starting up conversations, and taking the lead in lessons etc.. These things are difficult for me. I have always liked staying out of the limelight and voicing my opinion only when necessary, but it is time to grow up. In difficult situations I tend to think about my scripture on my missionary plaque back home. Ether 12:27, I know that through my faith in the Lord my weaknesses will become strengths. We are going into round 2 this week, I'm hoping and praying that Elder Machado and I can keep our spirits up and keep on fighting.

Love you all,

Elder Miller 

P.S. Pictures of last day in Butiá. Me with our recent converts and members of Butiá