Saturday, January 25, 2014

20 January 2014

Hello Family and Friends,

Another transfer has left and number 13 has arrived. To say the least we had some success this past transfer. There were 7 baptisms in total in our zone and 5 of them were ours. There are 7 companionships in our zone. In addition the people that we baptized are making a difference in our little ward. They are already bringing friends and family to church so that means that we should have another handful of baptisms this transfer.

If you all have not noticed from the previous paragraph Elder Horst and I will be here in Restinga for another transfer. I am excited, the people here absolutely love Elder Horst so it will be good. There were a lot of changes in our zone though, 3 greenies will be coming which will be good for us. Greenies usually give their companions a lot of motivation to work extensively. So I'm thinking are zone is going to fire on all pistons this transfer. Oh, and Elder Machado will be one of our District Leaders!

The only thing interesting that happened this week was that we had a zone service project. We went to a school in POA, and we painted the fences and guardrails throughout the school. It was such a nice time just doing some mindless paint work for a change. We arrived at 9:00 in the morning and we worked until 5:00 in the afternoon. I literally painted for about 8 hours straight without thinking twice. We had lunch at midday and then I quickly went back to painting. It was such a relief for me, like mental therapy. Before I knew it we had painted everything and it was time for us to leave. I hope the President organizes more services projects like this. We worked for "Mãos que ajudam" we might get in the Brazilian Liahona if we are lucky.

Well I heard that the Seahawks are going to the superbowl! That is going to be quite the football game, Broncos vs. the Hawks, I wish I could see it ha ha. Also I am sending a Birthday shoutout to Dad, 53 and still putting the youngsters to shame. I am proud of you.

That is all I can think of for now,

Love you all,

Elder Miller

13 January 2014

Hello Family and Friends, 

It was another week of success here in Restinga. Adriana was baptized! Last Monday we went to the registry place to watch her and her husband Everton sign their marriage papers. When they finished signing we quickly left and secretly went over to their house where the Bishop, members, and other Family members were waiting anxiously for their arrival. When they arrived the Bishop gave a marriage blessing and then we chowed down on churrasco and cake. It was all very good.

Saturday Adriana was baptized. The baptism went well. President Castro and the Stake president were present and I had to give a talk at the last minute. At first I was kind of mad that I had to talk, especially with our mission president there, but then I remembered that I had been praying to become more confident and courageous and so God gave me a chance to improve in these areas. The talk went well and Elder Horst baptized Adriana. That is three weeks in a row! Now we are going to have to dedicate all our time to finding new people to teach seeing that we have not been able to put 100% into finding the past few weeks.

Next week we will have transfers. I am about 99% sure that I will stay in Restinga due to the fact that I have only been here for one transfer. What will be interesting is what happens with the rest of our zone. I think Elder Horst will stay another with me because he has had a lot of success in this área. The rest of the zone has a lot of time in their respective áreas so there will be many changes. Honestly, I am looking forward to the transfer because there will be a lot of new faces in our zone and hopefully some new fire in the zone.

This transfer was definately the quickest of my mission until this point. When you have a companion that you get along with and some baptisms lined up, it is like a blink of an eye and then you are already talking about the next transfer.

Mom, I read your email that you went to teach a Family with the missionaries. I thought that was very cool. In our mission it is a rule to invite everyone in the first visit to be baptized, even the people in road it is advised that we invite them too. At first it was scary for me, but if you have the spirit with you there is nothing to worry about, 10/10 they accept. I happy the missionaries invited you to teach with them, it is so much better with a member's testimony. Also it gives the investigator see that we are normal people. Countless times people have asked us if we can listen to music, dance, go to the beach etc.. It is actually kind of funny some of the rumors that go around about us. I advise everyone to go out an teach with the missionaries. The prophet has said this is how the missionary work will go forward.

 Also I got your email about housing for Fall semster in BYU. I really want to room with Wesley and the rest of the bros. We all planned it out before leaving for the mission and I think it would be cool to get back together with them. Let me know what happens. Moreover can you see when I can sign up for classes? Dad ask Karlan what types of classes I need to take?

Well that is about it for right now. We just played flag football and ate Mcdonalds which was super expensive. In Brazil only the wealthy eat at Mcdonalds is that not ironic? Good thing I got some extra Money for Christmas.


Love you all,

Elder Miller

Monday, January 6, 2014

6 January 2014

Hello Family and Friends,
I hope that everyone had a good new year! My new year was very unexciting. We got home at 9:00pm and I was tired so I lied down and the next thing I know there were fireworks going off all over Restinga. The fireworks lasted for about 10 minutes which was pretty good for at-home-firework-enthusiasts. Shortly after I hit the bed again and it was lights out for me. The past two weeks have been horrible to sleep. It felt like a 100 degrees in our room and the fans were just blowing the hot air in our faces. Moreover when I finally would fall asleep the mosquitos would have a feast on my body. Finally midweek the rain came and took the humidy out of the climate so I am well once again.
The best news of the week is that we had another 2 baptisms! Y and M were baptized after our church meetings Sunday. I had the priveledge of baptizing M, 29, a man with down syndrome. It was a spiritual experience for me because of the sweet spirit this man has. He loves us and we are always pulling jokes on each other. His case is a little bit different than most people with down because he can carry on a full conversation with us as if there was nothing mentally holding him back. I feel this like baptism was to help me and my testimony more than it was for him, seeing that he doesn't need to be baptized. Christ's atonement has already given him his ticket to the celestial kingdom, but I haven't got mine and he helped me to be more determined in my daily efforts. Elder Horst baptized Yasmin. The day was absolutely perfect.
We are going to have another baptism this Satuday. Her name is A and she is so ready to be baptized. She has already been going to church the past six months and helps the ward a lot. She is getting married today and we are going to have a surprise party for her which is going to be awesome. This means that we are going to baptize three weeks straight which will be a new thing for me. We are working to try and baptize someone the week after as well.
We had zone counsel with the President Thursday. It was one of the best meetings I have had on my mission. All the zone leaders shared ideas and showed what was working in their areas. The President gave us a message about conversion which really had us reflect upon ourselves. We made goals and we saw the results of the past year. Our mission had a 30% increase in baptisms from the past year which was a huge success. President Castro is a really good mission president and I am grateful I will have my whole mission with him. Afterwards we went to a rather fancy buffet place and we stuffed ourselves and then we went back to our area.
Yep, so it was a good first week of the year for us and we are excited for all the adventures we will have this year. I know it will be the best year ever
Lots of Love,
Elder Miller

30 December 2013

Hello Family and Friends, 

Wow there is a lot to talk about in this email. Let's start with the most important news which is that we had two baptisms, Paulo and Ismael, this past Saturday. Everything worked out perfectly. Paulo was able to quit smoking and his brother baptized him. Ismael accepted everything from the start and has a lot of support from the Young men in the Ward, and Elder Horst baptized him. They were confirmed Sunday by the bishopric. Also, if everything goes to plan we will baptize another two this week, a Young girl whose brother is a member and mentally handicapped man that asked us to be baptized, he also has family that are members.

Elder Horst and I are working a lot with families which not everyone is baptized and we are having success with this. It is a double whammy because we can reactivate a family and baptize those that aren't yet. I am liking our companionship a lot because we manage to work hard but we still have fun at the same time.

This past week was rather relaxed. The first half of the week we did not get much work done due to the fact that Christmas Eve and Christmas are very complicated for missionaries. The people are with their respective families eating and opening presents, enjoying each others presence and the last thing they want is two strangers coming in making things uncomfortable. Also, our thoughts were all on the Skype call home.

Christmas this year did not feel like Christmas at all. I woke up Christmas morning and did my exercises before I even realized that it was Christmas! It was hot and humid, and nobody has lights up or Christmas trees so you can imagine how someone could forget. We grabbed some laptops after lunch and quickly made our way over to the chapel and I waited in great anticipation for my chance to Skype home. After a few hours a laptop was available for me to use and I quickly called home.

The call was excellent to say the least. It had been 7 months since I had seen my family's faces and heard their voices so you can imagine the emotion that was flowing within me. I kept it cool until the very end and then I couldn't fight it anymore and let them know how I really feel about them and the missionary work. I had been wanting to say that for some time now and finally I got it out of me. Afterwards, I felt a real peace within knowing that everything is well with them and that they know how I truly feel about them. Frankly it was the greatest Christmas gift of my entire life and I am being honest. There is nothing greater to me than God and my family and I am so grateful I can share this with the world everyday.

This week we will have New Years which is even more celebrated in Brazil than Christmas. For sure there will be craziness in the road New Years eve. In addition we will have zone counsel with the Presidente which I am excited for. All the zone leaders will meet with the president to talk about the mission and how we can improve things. It should be cool and it is looking like this week will be a bit laid back as well.

In conclusion I would just like to thank everyone that has sent me a letter or a package this Christmas season. I was literally blown away by the things that were sent to me. It was very contente knowing that many people were thinking of me and went out of their way to prepare something very meaningful for me. I thank you all so much. My Christmas was wonderful and I hope yours was too.

 Lots of Love 

Elder Miller 
23 December 2013

Hello Family and Friends, 

I'm doing well in my new leadership role. I did not have much time to write the past week so I will put some more details into this email. Elder Horst is my companion. He is from California, and he has 1year and 8 months on the mission. The good thing is that there are no signs of slowing down for him even though he is close to the finish line. We are really good friends and we are having some success already. If everything goes to plan we will have 2 baptisms this coming Saturday. There names are Paulo (40+) and Ismael (13).

Being the ZL is cool. It is a little different because I have less time on the mission than the majority of the missionaries in my zone and I have to tell them what's what, but it is cool being able to give advice to more missionaries. Also, we have a lot more contact with the President and we find out what is really happening in the mission. I am excited for the zone counsel meeting with the Pres. at the beginning of the month.

The missionary Christmas conference we had was not too fancy this year. All we did was listen to some training segments and then we watched a Christmas video of the mission and that was about it. It was nothing compared with last year's trip to the Brazilian base, but what can you do? I grabbed my packages and we got out of there as fast as could.

It does not feel like Christmas at all this year. Our Ward is rather weak so we are going to get the shaft for Christmas this week. I think Elder Horst and I are going to pass Christmas in the apartment because no one invited us to Christmas dinner. Oh well, I think we will try and get some contacts in because trying to teach anyone the next two days is futile. One thing that I know is that this Christmas will be a great learning experience. I mean what is Christmas all about? Is it about having parties and opening presents or is about remembering the only perfect human that ever existed and the fact that he gave his life so that we could have eternal life. I think the best gift I can give him this year will be my total dedication to the missionary work.

I think it would be appropriate to finish this email with my testimony that I know that Christ lives. He was sent to this imperfect world to be the necessary sacrifice for all humanity. I know that he completed his mission on Earth, that by him and through his infinite sacrifice and we can return to live with God in his celestial home. I know that his true doctrine was restored through a modern day prophet. I know that he continues to extend his loving hand to all no matter what happens in life. I am so grateful to have these 2 years to get to know him a little better. I am so grateful for what he has done for me and my Family. 

A Good Christmas to all 

Elder Miller