Monday, October 30, 2017

Hello everyone. The lesson we had with the Bonilla family was a good one. We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them for the second time (this is the one that deals with baptism and why it's important. We even brought a recently returned missionary with us from the La Canada ward. At the end of the lesson we asked them if they would be baptized once they came to know the Book of Mormon is true. The mom and the kids gladly said they would and that it'd be the obvious course to take. The father, however, still maintains that he is doing this to support his wife, so he told us he couldn't give a direct answer at this point. That was a little bit of a let down to hear; we felt like he was further along than that, but he still comes to church with the family and remembers just about everything from the lessons. I'm sure he'll come around, eventually.
Aside from that, lots of going door to door in the neighborhoods. With that - a lot of rejection. People often think of tracting and imagine doors slammed in missionaries' faces unceremoniously. I will say that happens hardly ever, but our encounters with people are still pretty short, nonetheless. I was on exchanges with our district leader on Saturday and we were at it for four hours straight. We did come across a super nice lady named Hannah. She goes to Lutheran and let us teach most of the first lesson to her on the doorstep. She took a Book of Mormon and said she'd need a good amount of time to look at it. We set up a return appointment for a little ways in the future, but she seems to have the intent to read it. It was certainly worth the effort; I pray something good comes from it in the long run.
I love you guys, I hope you have a good, safe week,

Elder Miller

Monday, October 23, 2017

Baptism!


image1.jpegIt was a wonderful weekend with Seirra's baptism. So many people showed up - including the Bonillas and Seirra's neighbors who aren't members of the Church! I'm not sure if I mentioned last week, but she asked that I do the confirmation (give her a blessing in front of the congregation so that she may receive the Holy Ghost), which I got to do yesterday. It was such a great experience, but it was very nerve racking. I even messed up on the wording a bit (just as I thought I would), which made me even more nervous. But I still got through it, and she seemed to have appreciated it very much. I'm so thankful to have been able to play a role in her conversion, as well as many other people I have seen so prepared by the Lord over the course of my mission thus far. I know there are many more just like her ahead in the the few months I have left.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Visiting Seventy and a new Bap Date

I don't really know where to start with all that has happened since I wrote last. I believe I said last week Elder Carlos Godoy was visiting Tucson and was going to visit the Bonilla family. Turns out, there are actually two Elder Godoys in the first quorum of the Seventy and it was Taylor Godoy from Peru who came and not Carlos like we told the Bonillas (this matters, because we showed them a conference talk by Carlos and told them he was the one who was going to visit them). Either way, it was still a General Authority who came and saw them, so it was pretty cool; we didn't get to be there, since we weren't asked to. At church yesterday, he attended La Canada Ward and Elder Toomer and I got to shake his hand and meet with him for a little while. He told us he talked a lot to the Bonillas about gaining personal revelation and challenged the father, Bobby - in Spanish - to find out for himself if the Book of Mormon is true. The Sunday School lesson was on baptism that day, too, so hopefully the Bonillas are starting to see what it is they need to be thinking about.
As I've mentioned before, the Bonillas were introduced to us by Sis. Beauto who is a recently reactivated member in the La Canada ward. Her daughter Sierra is unbaptized, but she has been sitting in on the Bonillas lessons this whole time. We just found out on Saturday that she has decided she wants to be baptized this weekend since her family is visiting for fall break! She has asked that I confirm her a member of the church that Sunday, too. This is going to be the first baptism I've had in my three months in this ward. Needless to say, I'm very excited for it.
Last week I talked about the Byzantine Catholics we knocked into. We saw them again on Saturday and they let us in. They're a very faithful couple - Misty and Kieth. We had a great discussion about our beliefs and they said they had a great admiration from the Mormon church (mostly because they see that we recognized the need for authority in setting up Christ's church and performing ordinances of His Gospel). We invited them to come see Elder Godoy of the Seventy and Misty came for that, but not Keith. She left early, so we weren't able to talk to her at the end. They also invited us to their Liturgy that evening, so we went to that after our ward meetings. This was the first Catholic service I had been to in my life; I could go one for a few paragraphs about my thoughts on it, but I'll just say it was interesting and very informative. Their meetings are a lot more organized than Mormon's - I will say that. We had to leave early - right before the members were going to partake of the Holy Communion - so we, again, couldn't talk to Misty or Keith afterwards. We'll have to go back and thank them; they are super nice and the first Catholics of the hundreds I've talked to invite to one of their Liturgies.
That's what I got. It's been a super week! Hope you all have a great one,

Elder Miller

Monday, October 9, 2017

16 Months

I can't believe I have only eight months left (but who's counting, right?)! Has I have said before, time just needs to slow down a bit; I can't be this far out already! I need more time. The amount I have grown in the past months has been huge (and I'm not just talking about the 25 pounds I've gained). The things you learn out here I know will help me for the rest of my life (perhaps eternity). I can communicate with people better, I can do harder things, and I know even more now than ever before that Christ is my Savior and this is His Church.
Elder Toomer has been a joy to work with (and note I don't say that about everybody). He's a funny, relaxed guy - a lot like Elder Lamb, but he talks a bit more. We've set a goal to tract as much of La Canada ward as possible this transfer (everything short of the gated communities). I want to get this done especially, since I may be gone in the next six weeks - who knows?! We tracted three hours straight on Saturday and got a whole neighborhood done. It was early afternoon, but not too many people were home. We did meet a nice lady named Misty, who is a Byzantine Catholic (can't say I've met one of those - they've all been Roman around here). Of course, she told us our church was set up by Joseph Smith, while her's was started by the Apostle Peter (making allusion to the fact that her church was truer than ours - side note, if Catholicism is true, which Catholic Church is truer and why?) She also told us the King James Version of the Bible isn't acceptable since it was made for the Church of England and the kings are immoral rebels to the Pope (fun fact: King James had hardly anything to do with the Authorized Translation). She then told us her bible - the New American Version or something like that - has four books in the Old Testament that aren't in the KJV. This had me intrigued so I asked if she has a copy I could study; she told us to come back next Saturday, so she can get one and we can discuss more. Needless to say, she's a lot of fun.
We also met a guy named Mark, who doesn't go to church. Interestingly, it's those type of people that most often accept a Book of Mormon, which he did. He said we can come back on Thursday - woo!
Our investigator family - I'm just going to say their name - the Bonillas, have been working and reading to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We set a to know date for October 21. Also, Elder Carlos Godoy of the quorum of the Seventy is coming down to Arizona to train area authorities. He asked for recommendations on who to visit while he's down here and the Stake President recommended the Bonillas. Elder Godoy is moving forward with the recommendation and will be seeing the Bonilla family on the 15th!!! I don't know if we're supposed to be there, but the family is excited for it since they just learned all about who the Seventies are after watching General Conference this month.
Love you guys and hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Miller

Monday, October 2, 2017

New Transfer

Hello everyone,
Sadly, an other transfer has come to an end and Elder Lamb will be leaving the Northwest Zone. He will definitely be remembered as one of my favorite companions on the mission. In our two transfers together we have had a lot of fun and a lot of hard work done. When it comes to finding investigators, this hasn't been the easiest area, but we've put all excuses aside and just knocked with faith, knowing that the Lord will put things in our past. Our zone (15 companionships) had a goal to get 450 Book of Mormons out by the end of September. We found out last night we reached a grand total of 469, with Elder Lamb and I contributing nearly 20 of those!
I love, love, love the Book of Mormon. I think at the beginning of my mission I felt it didn't have a lot of relevance to me. I knew it was true, but I also thought I already knew everything about it. I saw why my investigators really need to read it, but I, myself, had already got everything I could possibly get from it; I should focus on the "deeper" things found in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Old Testament and so forth. Although it is true that all scripture is very important, the Book of Mormon is FOUNDATION to our testimony of it all. Elder Tad R Callister's talk yesterday really laid it down. What would we know without it? What would our lives be like without it? Everyone in the universe needs to listen to just that short talk. How is it made up? How do you feel when you read it? How many people have felt closer to Christ and felt a great peace in Him from reading it? Listen to this talk if you didn't catch it - share it with a friend -- post it on Facebook--it's just that good. Our mission president explained that the Book of Mormon was the "lead in" to the Restoration of the Gospel. It was translated, it was publish, the copyright was secured, then the church was restored. In the case of a missionary (and possibly anyone who is a member missionary), we should also use the Book of Mormon as our "lead in" when introducing people to the church. If the lord wouldn't even set up His Church without it, what are we doing when we're NOT testifying of its truth at the first sign of even remote interest?
On Tuesday we were tracting and the third door we knocked on turned into an hour appointment. It was a lady named Dana who had lived in Utah for three years previous to coming to Tucson! She "wasn't interested in converting," but she gladly took a copy of the Book of Mormon and said she'd read it! Wonderful! We'll follow up maybe tomorrow to see if she read anything. I used to be restrictive in my distribution of the Book of Mormon, my reasoning being we should only give it to those who read it. But if we gave a copy to everyone who would take one, think of how many people would start reading it for the first time?? She doesn't want to convert now, but the Book of Mormon and very much change that if she will "give place in her heart," as the prophet Alma would say.
I failed to mention last week our mission was approved for Facebook use in proselyting as a means to communicate with investigators. To be honest with you, I haven't even downloaded it yet. I'm sure it will be successful tool among the younger people, but it would be nothing more that a distraction on the screen in this area full of old people.
Tuesday, I'll be getting an Elder Toomer. I've never met him, but he's been out just a transfer less than myself, and I've heard he works hard; I'll be excited for that.
This last conference was simply wonderful; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I was grieved to hear of Elder Hales passing - what a wonderful man. It was great to hear Elder Neil Anderson share a few of the words he wanted to say if he could have been there yesterday. I also pray for and honor and sustain our beloved prophet Thomas S Monson. He could be the prophet till the Second Coming if it was up to me, but there will come a day he will leave us as well. He will always have a special place in my memory, being the prophet of almost my whole youth.
Love you guys, hope for the best!
Elder Miller

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sup?

Tons of tracting this week. Our zone has a focus to pass out at least one Book of Mormon out every day this month. We've done good for the most part, but this week was a little difficult. Despite our best effort - and giving most of our time to tracting - we only got one out two days out of the week. We did find a nice older gentleman who invited us to come back when he gets of vacation. His name is Bill and he doesn't understand why we don't believe in drinking wine when Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine - haha! It'll be fun to see him again to answer his question.
We gave the run down on general conference to the big investigator family we teach. Bobby, the dad, was fascinated by the fact we have twelve apostles in our Church. They probably won't watch all ten hours of conference (I don't know why they wouldn't want to), but they seem interested in catching at least some.
Sorry this email is super short; just not a whole lot from this week. I will like to say congratulations to Bryant who made it home from Sao Paulo this week! Wish you the best of luck; I'm sure you had a wonderful mission.
Love you guys!
Elder Miller

Monday, September 18, 2017

La Canada ward

We had our primary programs this week, which was super fun to see; everyone in the ward invited so many nonmembers and a lot of them showed up, too! The kids of the investigator family - Lorenzo, Janeya, and Andres - did so well on their lines. Janeya, who's eleven, did the thirteenth article of faith - I don't even know that one!
Tracting wasn't as great as it was last week, but we did still get a good amount of Book of Mormons out. There's so many young families the La Canada ward, and they always seem to be the most open and promising contacts we get in the week. One family we ran into actually saw the temple during the open house, because their neighbors invited them! They took a BOM and said they'd like a tour of our church building as well.
Our ward mission leader invited us to come teach a friend of his on Saturday who lives in his neighborhood. His name is Adam, and we had one of the more interesting discussion of my mission thus far. Instead of teaching our normal first lesson, we asked him if he had any questions he'd like to ask us first, and he had a TON and it took up the whole time. He asked about why we Mormons, what's right and what's wrong, about dinosaurs, and aliens, and the purpose of religion and whole bunch of stuff. Then before we could invited him to read the Book of Mormon - he walked out! It was still pretty fun though; probably the first time I had a lesson turn out that way. The ward mission leader and we got a good kick out of the whole thing. He might invited him over again when one of us gets transferred, so he can throw the book at him, too.
Apparently, our mission is going to be getting Facebook this week. I have no idea what that all entails, but we'll find out on Wednesday. I have to give the details next week, but I heard I might be able to teach relatives from home who aren't members of the Church (the catch is eventually they'll have to meet with the missionaries in their area).
Hope you guys are doing good and have a nice week!
Elder Miller