Saturday, November 30, 2013

25 November 2013

Hello Family and Friends,

Well, there is not too much to write about in this e-mail. The week was normal. The highlight is that we will probably have a baptism this coming Saturday. It will be the baptism of Junior, an eleven year old. I don't necessarily want to baptize kids on the mission but who am I to deny him, he asked to be baptized after an activity we had at the church Saturday night. We met Junior and a lot of other young investigators my first week in Intercap in the house of a member. We invited them all to go to church that coming Sunday and to our surprise all of them showed up to church, all 8 of them. Over the past 4 weeks Junior has been the only one that has shown interest in the church and has not missed a Sunday yet. We spoke with his mother yesterday and she gave us the go ahead. I see potential in his mother as well, so we will baptize him this weekend and then start to work with his mother. The best part is that his neighbors are members so he already has a lot of support. I am super stoked for him, he is really good kid. He answers all of our questions perfectly and understands the messages. Also, he is reading the BoM and had memorized all the names of Nephi's brothers ha ha.

I mentioned above that we had an activity in the church Saturday night, it was about the missionary work. We the missionaries were invited to do the spiritual part of the activity. I think a missionary's worst enemy is probably procrastination and well... we procrastinated. We decided at the last minute to put together a play about the missionary work which was definitely not a smart idea because non of us are actors. Our play turned out so badly, but it was extremely funny. And because of this play now our lunch calendar is full for like the next two months ha ha. We even have back-up lunches if necessary The members really liked our play a lot. The play started with us making a contact in the street with a punk teenager and after the lessons he is baptized and serves a mission. It was classic.

So we are teaching Carlos and Fátima, an older couple in their 50's and they are super interested in the church. They have already been to church and also the activity and they are preparing to be baptized. The only problem now is that they have to get married and stop smoking. Carlos has already stopped but it is has been a lot more difficult for Fátima. Also, Fátima has to get divorced from her husband from 11 years back. Can you believe that she is still married to her ex-husband which separated from her 11 years ago? That is Brazil for ya. But all in all they will make great members of the church. It will take awhile to baptize them.

The missionary work is kind of difficult here. I thought it was going to be a breeze, but I have come to realize that this is not the case here. It is mainly because the members are so busy and the missionary work is not really a focus for them. I don't really know what to do because we don't have time to train members. Also, I have a feeling that I won't be here in this area for too long and I don't have the will power to fix this problem. We are on our own here. But hey it is not the first time, it is been like this my ENITRE mission so it is all right.

Lastly, our district is doing well. All of us will baptize this coming Saturday. All three companionships. I am excited for this day. If I don't go ZL in this coming transfer I think it will be guaranteed for the next transfer. I don't want to go ZL for any kind of glory it is just that I am tired of working from scratch in every area that I pass through. I want to have a stud companion that likes to work just as much as me and having a good area would be a cherry on top. I want to have a lot of success until the end of mission so that I can go home without any regrets. This is the great desire of my heart.

That is all for now, 


Elder Miller

Monday, November 18, 2013

18 November 2013

Hello Family and Friends, 

It is very true that as district leader the time flies by even more quickly. We already entering into the 4th week of the transfer. It is hard to believe that so much time has already passed. I feel like I have not had any time to work in my own area. We have had meetings, splits, divisions etc. that have taken much of the time. I am hoping that this week will be calmer so that I can work hard in my own area. My goal is to get Elder E. Santos his first baptism in this transfer, and it is seeming to be more of a challenge than I thought. The members are cool, but they are all so busy and they do not seem to understand that the missionary work is for all members not just the missionaries. President Castro has told us countless times that the missionaries which baptize the most are those that teach more with members present. In Dom Pedrito we managed to teach a whole lot of lessons with members, and when we taught with them we finally got baptisms. Right now I am trying to find a way to integrate them into the missionary work.

Another difficulty of the area is finding people that are willing to commit to something. It is easy to get into homes, but the people are pretty lazy and do not seem to want to change their lives. This past week we found a couple that we taught one time and they have already gone to church which was pretty amazing. We will work more with them and we will cut the rest that are taking the lessons more for the friendship than for the commitment to live the gospel.

This past week I went on splits with Elder Oslo, one of the ZL's of our zone. I really like going on splits with the zone leaders because I always learn a lot from them. Well, we had an excellent day of work in his area, and I was feeling the spirit big time. We worked hard and then crashed hard that night at their place. In the morning Elder Oslo wanted to study with me which was the first time on my mission that someone has asked to study with me. We studied super hard and then practiced some things and all in all it was very beneficial. I felt like I was receiving the greenie missionary training that I never received, it was great. If only my companions had studied with me I think I would be so much far ahead as missionary than I am now. Oh well, you cannot change the past. Everything I know how to do was from live trial and error.

In our mission 8 zone leaders will leave this transfer so that means 8 district leaders will be advanced. I am hoping that soon I will be advanced so that I can work with a ZL. I learn so much in 24 hours with them now imagine 24 hours 7 days a week. I am sure we would baptize like crazy together. We will have to wait and see what the President thinks about the work I have put into my district first and then maybe he will give me the higher position which would be cool. I like to help missionaries and I would love to baptize a ton until the end of the mission so I have my sights on one of these positions.

Well, there is not much other news to talk about. Elder E. Santos and I are working out almost every night. He is a monster pushing weights and because of the heavy weight I am seeing myself increase in mass quickly. All I have to do now is lose the gut. Currently, I am weighing in at 95 kilos! That is crazy! I think I have gained 25 pounds since I came out on the mission. It does not matter how healthy I eat the weight will not come off. The only thing that has some effect is doing some abs workouts. If you all have some ideas I would appreciate the help. Also, I cannot do hardly any cardio because we live on the fourth floor and about 5 minutes into the workout I have someone knocking on the door telling me to stop jumping around. It is amazing that meat, rice, and beans is destroying my body. Before the mission I was eating pizza, ice cream, and Oreo cookies and it had no effect. I think after the mission I will push weights as a hobby. Also, I want to get into triathlons.

Alright I am getting off topic so I will put an end to this email.


Lots of Love,

Elder A. Miller

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11 November 2013   Morro da Cruz!

Hello Family and Friends,

Well, another week has passed in my new area, and I am liking the it a lot. The only downside is having to hike the "Morro da Cruz," or in other words, the Hill of the Cross. Yes, there is a cross on top of the hill. One of these days I will hike to the top and take a photo. My legs are already taking strain from the steep inclines and declines. Also, summer is approaching so hiking this hill everyday will not be pleasant. I can already see myself arriving at all our appointments dripping in sweat. Let's just say that I am looking forward to it all.

I am getting to know the members and it seems that they are all pretty cool. The Ward functions like a Ward should. We have lunch everyday and every now and then we get a reference. All in all I am a happy man.

My companion, Elder E. Santos, is well.
We are already really good friends and we are working hard. Like I mentioned in my last letter he is a lot older than me which is cool. I respect him a lot especially for his boldness in the missionary work. This is his best quality, boldness. It does not matter how rich or poor, smart or dumb you are, he will tell you how it really is. We talk to almost everyone that passes by us which is cool. With my other companions we did not talk to that many people in the street (well we did not have that many people in the street) nevertheless we are working hard to find some good investigators. He is also funny which lightens up the day. We get along well to say the least.

Well, I have some good news for you all. Vanzenir and Flávio were married and baptized this past Saturday. I was not there to see the fruits of my work, but it is alright I am super happy. Elder Machado sent me pictures that I will forward to you all. Everything went smoothly and apparently Vanzenir bore her testimony Sunday and I had a honorable mention in it. So my dream came true, a family baptized in the true church, a strong family. Vanzenir's next goal is to be married and sealed for all time and eternity in the temple. That will be a marvelous sight. Another good notice is that Ivana and Fabian, another family that I was teaching in Dom Pedrito will be married and baptized in the coming weeks. The missionaries out there in Dom Pedrito are being blessed immensely.


Speaking of temples, we went to the temple Wednsday. It was the third trip I have made since I arrived in Rio Grande do Sul. When I was in São Paulo we went 9 times to the temple! That is 12 times in total since I left the States. Every time I go I feel my testimony grow. It is so nice to get away from the world for a couple hours and feel that much closer to our Heavenly Father.

I want to visit a lot of temple during the course of my life. It is such a blessing and we should take advantage of it every chance we get. I could spend hours just looking at photos at all of the temples throughout the world. In my album of photos that I show to investigators I have a photo of Greg in front of the San Diego temple and everyone becomes amazed while looking at this photo. It is an excellent way to bring up the topic of eternal families and other blessings of being a member of the church of Jesus Christ.

In other news, my companion and I are working out almost every night. Elder E. Santos was basically a bodybuilder before the mission so we are pushing some heavy weights (he is pushing some heavy weights) and so expect to see a new and improved Elder Miller in the coming weeks.

And that is about it for now. Post the new pictures on my blog when you get the opportunity.

Lots of love,

Elder Miller

4 November 2011    I am in Intercap

Hello Friends and Family,

Well right now I am extremely happy with the results of this past transfer. As you know I have returned to my home, Porto Alegre, deep in the thick concrete jungle. My area is cool but at the same time physically challenging. Let's just say that my area is about 9 long roads that climb the side of a large hill. The incline is about 30% if I had to guess. I am finding new muscles in my legs that I never knew existed. When we finally scale this hill we are soaked with sweat and trying to catch our breath. It is a complete beatdown but I want to lose weight so maybe this will help me out. At the bottom of the hill we have all the rich people and at the top we have the poor. We want to work more with rich people but as always we have more action with the poor. The people are super receptive here which make the missionary work a lot easier. In this past week I think we taught 2 or 3 lessons in the middle of the road to groups of 7 or 8 people which was pretty cool. Also, there is people a lot of people everywhere so we always have somebody to talk to.

My companion is Elder E. Santos from Sergipe, a North Eastern State of Brazil. He hardly has 2 months on the mission, but it seems like he has been out for years. He is teaching me which is ironic because I am supposed to be training him. He is 25 years old which means I have another dinosaur as a companion. This is my third companion that is 25 or older! Elder Weber is 27, Elder Leal 26, and now Elder E. Santos with 25. I don't know why President Castro likes to put me with the elderly but I am cool with it. In fact working with older missionaries is 100x better than working with 18 year olds for example.  Obviously they are a lot more mature and they know how to sweet talk the people. Elder E. Santos is the master at this, he can talk people into doing anything. Also, the older missionaries are a lot more bold and have a lot of faith due to the extra experience. The only bad thing is that they get tired quickly and sometimes like to take a nap during the day. This is the only downside because I want to work, but I don't have any complaints. I can tell that Elder E. Santos will be my best companion on the mission. We work really hard and our personalities mix which makes teaching lessons flow more smoothly.

We already have some good investigators. We are teaching some good families and we have some baptism dates already. The ward is awesome here. The bishop works and everyone else does there part. I think this is the first ward that functions that I have had on the mission, it is nice. The members are super kind and always offering food and references, yeah!!! There is lady, Juliete, that makes a huge loaf of bread for us every Friday. Oh and internet is free here! Right now we are on a university campus using touch screen computers. I feel like I am in the future. Our apartment is nice, it has an elevator which is a first for me. There are 2 other elders that live in our apartment and they are cool.

So I am the district leader here. There are 4 other Elders in our district, Elder Nascimento, Tiago, Harris, and Del Castillo. They are all good missionaries. Nascimento is super trunky and does not really work to much. I have to find a way to help him out. I gave my first training meeting Wednesday which was pretty mediocre, but it was a last minute kind of thing so the next one will be better. I will have to give another one tomorrow.

The meeting with President Mazzagardi was outstanding, a real spiritual feast. There are so many things he talked about that pumped us up. After these meetings with general authorities we are really lifted up and we want to go out and preach the gospel to everyone.

We are going to the temple this Wednesday which will be the third time for me. I'm excited to go, but we are really needing this day to work in our area, oh well. 

So yeah my area is awesome, my comp is awesome, and so is my district. I am blessed man. I'm anxious to baptize strong people that will help and bless the church. I hope I can stay in this area for a long time.

That is about it for now. If you have other questions send me an email.

Lots of love,

Elder A. Miller
These Pictures are from his last area, Dom Pedrito.