Sunday, February 23, 2014

17 February 2014
Hello Family and Friends,
We baptized Katiele and Jamiele this week! The adversary was trying everything to stop these baptisms from happening, even until the last minute. Literally minutes before the baptism we called them to see where they were and they said that Paulo and their Mother had left the house and never came back that day and they did not have the means to go to the chapel. So quickly we went and picked them up with the bishop and we pulled off the baptisms in the knick of time. At the baptism it was just the missionaries and the bishop. I felt super bad that they did not have any support at the baptism but we could not give the enemy more time to delay these baptisms. We still do not know why or where their Mother and Grandfather went that day. They where confirmed Sunday and everything is in order once again.

In these last 2 weeks of the transfer we are going to do the upmost to baptize at least another 2. The weather has gotten better so that will help us out a lot. At mid-week a two day rainstorm came in and wiped out the heat and humidity. It has been very calm ever since, well at least I stopped sweating every minute of the day.
I have caught some Olympic news the past couple weeks and it has been pretty cool. I heard Russia spent a ton of money on it. I saw the Brazilian women's bobsled/luge tip of during the practice run and they finished the race upside down - scary. Brazil is rather weak in the winter games but still everybody is watching all the time.
Mom, Wesley Dean's mom needs you to sign up for the apartment for fall semester now. Everybody else is already in on the action and now they are waiting for us. I want to room with these guys, they are my buds from freshman year.
Last thing is that the mission has already bought my plane ticket home due to the world cup in Brazil. They want to make sure that we all get out of here on time. I think next week I will know what date I will be home so I will keep you informed.

That is all for now
Lots of love,
Elder Miller

10 February 2014
Hello Family and Friends,
This wasn't the best of weeks for us. We were not able to baptize because of some complications, but hopefully we can baptize Paulo's grandkids this week. Moreover, the heat was excruciating. There were a few days that it was 42-45 degrees Celsius, but with the humidity they say that it was actually 52 degrees Celsius which is about 120 degrees Fahrenheit! We have been sweating for about a week straight. There is only hot water comes out of the tap and shower which is not too pleasant.  Also, we had two nights when the electricity went down so we cooked for about an hour waiting for power and don't forget about the mosquitos.
This has taken a toll on the missionary work. We stay at home and members houses longer than we should trying to avoid the sun and heat. The desire to knock doors or streets contacts has also taken a dive. As such, we get tired and dispirited quicker. Our goal of 16 is slowing fading into the distance.
In better news we had zone counsel this week. We got to go to Porto Alegre and chill in some air conditioned rooms while President Castro gave us the low down on the mission. It turns out that it wasn't just our zone that has been affected by the weather. The zone leaders exchanged ideas and we had some good practices.
We had some good grub afterwards at a local restaurant. It was a relief to get some good food because our ward does not provide too well for us. We have lunch 2-4 times a week at best so we are paying a lot out of our own pockets in order to eat. There are about 30 firm members in our ward so someone will have to bite the bullet soon and start providing lunch multiple times during the month.
Well I know that this email is short and a little bit negative but hopefully next weeks letter will be better. One thing I like about all this is that I am becoming a stronger person because of it all.
P.S. I attached a photo of half our mission with a member of the seventy. I am in the top row on the right side. (8th from the right)

3 February 2014

Hello Family and Friends,
I have heard that the Seahawks are SuperBowl Champs. I was so stoked to hear the News and it seems that they dominated Peyton and the Broncos. I guess that statement "Defense wins championships" is still very valid. I would have loved to see it and especially Dad's emotion. I know that is has been a long time coming. I remember the Seahawks SuperBowl loss against the Steelers and that I couldn't sleep the whole night afterwards. Now it is just a mere memory as they are now "World Champs." Mom will like that comment.
Alright back to the mission. So this week was different for me because we did a lot of divisions with other missionaries in our zone. I had a division with Elder Machado which was nice to talk about the good old days. He will baptize a few people this transfer which will truly help out the zone. Also I had a division with Elder Saboia who is a new missionary, and 18 years old. It was a real refresher working with him because he has the new missionary determination to be great. I was really surprised with his preparedness and his proactive attitude. I hope that maybe at the end of my mission that I can train a newbie like Elder Saboia. That would be that best way to finish the mission to me.
In other news, we will most likely have 2 baptisms this Sunday. They are the grandkids of Paulo, a baptism from our last transfer. We have been working closely with him and his family since his baptism and now it is time to collect some more fruits. We will need 4 baptisms this week just to stay on target for 16 but 2 is a start. Furthermore, we had some spiritual moments tracting this week so perhaps will have some other baptisms soon.

The real highlight of the week was a leadership meeting with Moroni Torgan a member of the área 70. Sunday, right after lunch, we got a call from President Castro saying that we would have a meeting with Elder Torgan in 40 minutes and that we had to be there on time. We quickly scrambled to find a member whom would be able to take us to the center of Porto Alegre about a hour away. In short God blessed us with someone with a car, which was a miracle in itself, and we managed to make it to the meeting in about 35 minutes right on time. I felt like we were in the new "Fast and Furious" movie. At one point I think we were even airborne.
The meeting was eye opening to say the least. It was us and about 10 other zone leaders. He talked very frankly with us and I really had to repent afterwards. It was a rewarding experience and now I have a new determination to be a better leader and member of the church. Basically, this time on the mission is for me to learn how to speak the language of the spirit and how to be close with Christ. We are here to learn and obey celestial laws. On the contrary there is no chance of entering the celestial kingdom. Elder Torgan invited us to all make covenants with God and we did. Later we bore our testimonies, the spirit was noticeably present.
Okay so that is about all that happened with me this week. Mom I was not able to watch the vídeos you sent me. Do you know when I am able to sign up for Fall/Winter classes? Yes, I got the package that you sent. Everything fits well and thank you for the sweets.
Lots of Love,
Elder Miller
27 January 2014

Hello Family and Friends,

Elder Horst and I have had our best week together in regards to numbers. We worked really hard and it all started with a simple suggestion last Monday. We were home and just conversing about the past transfer and what we expect from this transfer. We starting pondering the idea of a baptism goal for our companionship. Some ideas were suggested but I was not feeling it so I thought for a few moments and then I asked Elder, "How many baptisms did you want when you came out on mission" and he stated his number to me. Then I said, "Well how many baptisms do you have until this point on your mission" and just like before he stated his number. I paused and then mentioned that he has this transfer and one other to achieve this goal and so with previous numbers I divided by 2 and we got the number 16 for our baptism goal for this transfer.

I do not know if it was inspired or what but it ignited a fire in my companion that I have never seen before. He believes 100% that we can reach this goal, and his faith has started to strengthen mine. I am really liking this goal and I do not know why I have not made goals like this one in the past. It has always been 5 or 6 baptisms and we thought that was over the top, and now we are fighting for 16! We are working a lot more than in the past weeks and it is all because of this number. Just imagine, even if we do not reach this goal how much farther ahead we are going to be than if we made a goal of 5 or 6. It is going to require everything from us and we are ready to make the sacrifice.


We are also happy with our new missionaries in our zone. Tuesday we had our first meeting with them and they all seem to be ready and willing to work hard. We received 2 green sisters and 2 elders with just a few months under their belts. The young blood has given our zone a kickstart that was much needed. There is a new Brazilian living with us, Elder Saboia, 18 years old, from Rio de Janeiro and he is pretty cool. He played American football in Rio for the championship team. He says that American football is having a lot of success where he lives. He has joined me in a few workouts that I do outside the house, jumprope, running, push-ups, and abs. I destroyed him which was pretty funny and so I think I lost another workout buddy. To update you all about my weight I think I have lost about 7lbs and I have put on more muscle. I am sure the air force program has some kind of push-up, pull-up, sit-up, and running requirements. I would like to know what that is to start preparing.

Another cool experience I had this week was working with one of the Assistants to the Presidents. His name is Elder Reis and he is from Bahia, the same place where Elder Capistrano is from. We worked here in Restinga. We managed to teach a lot of lessons and every street contact we made was amazing. I was thinking the whole day, why does this not happen more often? The day was literally perfect, we were inviting people to be baptized in the middle of the street! He gave me a lot of advice and insight, and I was grateful for every bit of it. This is my favorite thing to do on the mission, divisions with missionaries that are really in tune with the spirit and just know what to do. I learn so much from them.

In other news, the weather was pretty horrible this week. It was about 40C with like 100% humidity, and Restinga has no shade whatsoever. I felt like a piece of churrasco meat over the charcoal flame from Monday until Friday. Then God sent the rains which killed the temperature and humidity Saturday. I almost had to sleep with a blanket that night because it was chilly. It was such a relief but they say the heat is coming back with a vengence. I guess we should be worried but we are too focused on baptizing to worry.

 That is all for now,

 Lots of Love,

Elder Miller