Tuesday, March 18, 2014

17 March 2014

Hello Family and Friends,
I really just have to commend my new companion Elder Dos Santos. He has come into our area and zone, and has performed miracles. Our ward now has complete trust in us the missionaries and our zone is working like never before. He is teaching me how to be a real leader. I am taking mental notes all the time of the things that he does so that can lead like him. I have noticed that a good leader is someone who is in tune with spirit, is not afraid to call anyone to repentance, is an example, and loves and trusts others that might not be on the same level as you are.
Our zone is in the process of baptizing 15 people this month. We are all united in this effort to baptize these 15. I think this is what was lacking the past transfers in our zone, unity and trust. All the missionaries look up to Elder Dos Santos and I. They see how determined we are to teach and baptize. Our district and zone meetings are filled with the spirit. One sister called us this week to say that our zone meeting was the best she has ever participated in, and she is finishing her mission. Overall I am super happy to be a zone leader right now with Elder Dos Santos.
Our Zone
Speaking of baptisms we baptized Jorge this week, an older man that is dating a member of our ward. They are going to get married soon. Well, it is funny how we baptized him because he has been taught by the missionaries for months now and couldn't get him in the water. Last Sunday, Sister Dircia, his girlfriend, called us up asking that we give him a blessing. We gave him a blessing and the spirit was really strong and so Elder Dos Santos invited him to be baptized on the spot and he accepted! We baptized him 6 days later. He was a firm member of an evangelical church for a few decades but he couldn't deny the spirit he was feeling during our meeting.
We have another baptism this week on Saturday. His name is Jerson an 18 year old. We met him a week ago and he is all ready to get baptized. He is really an elect of God. He heard the voice of the Lord through us and accepted to be baptized in our first few minutes getting to know him!
I am working more than ever with my new companion and thus I am really happy. Tomorrow we will have a zone conference with all the missionaries in Porto Alegre. It should be a spiritual experience.
Lots of Love,
Elder Miller
10 March 2014

Hello Family and Friends,

 The first week of a new transfer has passed and we had a lot of success. We marked 2 baptisms, one for this week and the other for the next. Elder Dos Santos arrived in our area on fire. We are working more closely with the members trying to strengthen their faith and at the same time finding new investigators to teach. Also we are visiting the less active members on splits with other members of the ward. All in all it is working well for us.
My new companion is really good. Elder Dos Santos is from Rondônia, a state close to the Amazon. He is 24 years old which means that he will be the fourth companion that I have had with an advanced age. Elder Weber 26, Elder Leal 26, Elder E. Santos 25, and now Elder Dos Santos 24. I guess this is one of my strengths on the mission. I always work well with older companions. Elder Dos Santos is obedient and is in tune with the spirit. I have been looking forward to work with someone like him. Hopefully we can stay together for a couple transfers. I know we will make a great difference in our area and zone.

We are focusing more on working with the youth of ward. They are about the only thing that keeps this ward together. Friday night we participated in seminary which in Brazil is at 8:00 at night. We arrived and Elder Dos Santos said we would make pancakes for the youth and then Elder looked at me and said, "You know how to make pancakes right?" because almost every American missionary knows how to make American pancakes. I was rather embarrassed to say that I didn't know so I quickly called up our financial secretary Elder Booren, who is the best secretary ever, and he looked up the quantities and ingredients for me. The pancakes were a hit and now all the youth is giving us references. 

That is just one example how we are getting closer with the members of the ward. There are about 40 active members right now. There are a lot of people waiting to be baptized, friends of members, neighbors, less active families that have members of the family that are not yet baptized. We are super focused on our purpose as missionaries, baptizing.

To finish my email I just want to wish a Happy Birthday to Grandpa who is turning 80! Congratulations! Also a late Birthday wish to Jessie who is now 17! That is weird to say that my sister is 17. I guess I never really imagined her growing up. I thought she would be a little girl forever haha. I love you both a ton.

 Lots of Love,

 Elder Miller

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 March 2014  Jump Day

Hello Family and Friends,
The transfers are in! I will stay in Restinga and Elder Horst will finish his mission in Pelotas. Elder Dos Santos will be my companion. He is an excellent missionary, one of the big baptizers on the mission so I have high hopes for our time together. We arrived here in Porto Alegre together which is interesting because that means we have the almost the same amount of time on the mission. He is from the North part of Brazil.
Speaking of time on the mission this past week I reached the infamous "Slump Day" or 1year and 6months on the mission. That is crazy to say, 1year and 6months. I really thought that this day would never come. When I realized that I hit the Slump day mark, I remembered something that my missionary preparation professor at BYU told me. He said that you have to change Slump day into Jump day. Usually when missionaries reach 1year and 6months they start being more relaxed and start thinking a lot about home and less focused on the missionary work. In some cases it destroys missions. These last 6 months are the most crucial, it will make or break your mission. My professor told me that the drive and determination that you have when finishing your mission will follow you back to the "Real World" and that you will have a great advantage if you are working at your full potential. If you finishing your mission flying then you will soar in life as well hence the jump day instead of slump day. President gave me the perfect companion to help me stay focused on my purpose as a missionary, Elder Dos Santos, and we are going to dominate here.
I have some news in regards to coming home. Our secretaries of the mission say that I will be coming home the 13th of August. This is good because it will give me some time to get things in order before going off to school. There was a missionary living in our house who finished his mission today. Yesterday at church he bore his testimony and it was emotional. A returned missionary then bore his testimony after and mentioned that the mission is the best time ever and that it only gets harder after. Actually he talked so much about life being difficult compared to the mission that I almost called Pres. Castro asking for more time! I know that it will be complicated but I am determined to go into this 4th quarter of the mission running at full speed or as Marshawn Linch says, "Beast Mode" haha. It will be the best time of my life until this point.
That is all for now,
Love Elder Miller
24 February 2014

Hello Family and Friends, 

We got to go to the temple this week. It was the fourth time I have been able to go on the mission. I have been rather privileged with how many times I have gone there. Once again it was a great experience. I felt the spirit strong and I had some questions answered. It was kind of funny because there are quite a few Americans working in the temple and their Portuguese is rusty, it reminded me of when I was in my first months on the mission. It was a major challenge picking up the language. The key was Ether 12:27, humble yourself and have faith. After I was able to apply that scripture in my life the divine help just came flowing in. I still have much to learn but I think the greater lesson was learned, trust in God.


When I left the temple doors I had a great feeling of peace come over me. I went to talk with Elder Machado, and I said, "You know sometimes this world doesn't seem so bad, this is one of those times." I said this because everyday we see things that are pretty horrible.

Last night while returning to our home we saw the aftermath of a murder or execution in my opinion. It did not really phase me until the family showed up at the scene. I will never forget that Mother weeping over her deceased son. It makes you think and even question your faith. But if there is something I have I learned on my time on my mission it is to first doubt your doubts. Quickly I put it all into perspective that yes there exists so much bad in this world, but if there was not any bad then the whole plan of God would be destroyed! We have been granted with free agency from a loving God that knows without it we would never progress in this life or in the life to come, and in short we would fall short of exaltation. If we did not have the choice of bad we would never learn what is good. How can you know what is sweet if you have never tried bitter? And yes many times in this life we choose the former and the consequences hurt, but I like the line from a favorite movie of mine states, "And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." Learn through experience, that is the purpose of this mortal life. That is why we were so happy in the pre-mortal world when God announced that the plan of salvation would be put into effect, because we would gain a body, be tested, and in the end we would be more like God. Sometimes we forget that there was a war in heaven because of free agency or the right to make choices for ourselves. We all accepted God's even if it meant that we would live for but a few seconds or many years, or that would have many mortal pains and disappointments.

While viewing this young man's body lifeless on the ground I became very grateful for the knowledge I have that death is not the end and the in fact it is one step forward in God's plan. Without death there would not be resurrection! It another great gift of God and one of the reasons for which Christ was sent to this Earth, to overcome the obstacle of death. With our mortal eyes all we see is the bad. With our spiritual eyes we would see that this young man is in place a lot closer God, a place of learning and second chances. Although his earthly decisions may have caused his premature departing, he is now experiencing first hand the plan of happiness. He can still make right his mistakes and apply the atonement of Christ and still have the opportunity to live with God for all eternity. 

The thing that makes me sad is that there are many people that don't know or deny these facts that God exists, that he loves us, and that he has made a perfect plan for us. This life would be so horrible if you did not believe in him. I promise that peace can be found in the Gospel of Christ or the truth. I have seen this peace enter the lives of those that we have taught. I felt this peace when I came out of the temple Wednesday. It was quiet, I could hear the wind blowing the trees, birds singing. I saw people dressed finely, beautiful gardens, and the powerful sun. I had the comforting feeling that God is there, and that he is aware. He is all powerful, and all wise. He knows better than us what has happened, what is happening, and will have to happen to fulfill his wise purposes. I know that I have to experience both sides of life, the bitter and sweet in order to grow. The mission has really given me a taste of the two and I know I am a better person because of it. I am grateful for the blessings and even more for the trials.

We gave a pamphlet to this grieving family. I pray that it helps them.


I Love you ALL,

Elder Miller