Monday, April 24, 2017

Tucson Central Ward South Week 1

It's amazing how the time flys; I've been transferred again and am now serving in Tucson Central Ward South. I'm right in the middle of the city now (the North elders get downtown, though - darn). It's odd because I'm only over half of a Ward here, as opposed to being over two wards in my two previous areas.

The situation in this area is a little interesting; it was once the
highest baptizing Ward in the mission, and now we only have one
nonmember family that we're teaching. The area Book has no records on what has happened in the past few months. I'm follow up training, and I'm in the projects. We'll see what happens. Right now the main task is cleaning up the area Book and seeing who lives in our area and who doesn't. There are a ton of recent converts and less actives in our records that my companion doesn't know, so we try to go see them and the apartment or the house is completely empty. Apparently, people are constantly moving around here.

The members in the Ward are a pretty interesting mix of people. The University of Arizona campus is within the Ward boundaries, so you get professors from the college and graduate students along with the people from the rougher places in town. There is a nice older man named Roy Salcido in the Ward that is a convert of about twenty years who helps us missionaries a ton, too. He'll go to lessons with you whenever you need him; he'll make you dinner if you don't have one; and he lets us use his washer, dryer, and wifi (all three of which I'm currently using) on P day. Shout out to him!

Oh, I'm back in a car area, too, which is so awesome. I get to miss
out on biking in the Tucson summer now (of course I'll still have to be out in it a lot, though). Can't wait to see what this place has in
store in the next few months or so for me.

Love you guys!

Elder Miller

Monday, April 17, 2017

Southeast Tucson Week 17

We got transfer calls on Saturday, and I found out that I'm leaving the Bonanza and Tanque Verde Wards. I'm moving into the heart of the city and am going to Central Ward in Tucson to follow up train an Elder Lee. This area has been quite the experience; I feel like I've been here forever, yet for no time at all. There were some big challenges in the beginning with taking over a new ward and whatnot, but I'm proud with what I've accomplished during my time here.
I'll just go ahead and jump into the big news of the week as far as investigators go; that being we finally have a new baptismal date! We taught Jeff the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson toward the begin of the discussion (the first time I didn't extent the invitation at the end of the lesson), and after a short moment of thinking (which felt like an eternity) he agreed! On Saturday, we then taught him every investigators favorite lesson - the Word of Wisdom; although he acknowledged he would have to give up a lot of things, he said he was more than willing to follow it so he could be baptized. Unfortunately, his baptism won't be until May 20th, but hopefully my mission president will let me travel to go see it.
Sometimes I forget some of the people getting this email might not be familiar with our Church's lingo and what I teach people as a missionary. To explain briefly, The Gospel of Jesus Christ are the principles and ordinances (or sacred acts) we live by to follow Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost makes up the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. The Word of Wisdom is a revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith that acts as a sort of health code for us to live by. We believe we have been commended by God to abstain from namely alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea - as well as recreational drugs and other habit-forming substances. These were the things I was teaching Jeff this last week.
Easter was a lot of fun; I never noticed before how truly sacred this time of the year really is. This was the time in which many of the important events of the Saviors life took place - birth, suffering, death, resurrection. As a missionary, you inevitably have these things in mind during the holiday and it adds whole new meaning to it.
I hope also enjoyed it and I can't wait to talk about the events to come in my new area on the mission
Elder Miller

Monday, April 10, 2017

Southeast Tucson Week 16

I'm going to do something different with my emails to put more order in how I write them. I'm going to try to do a day-by-day account of his week, so you can get a better idea of what a week in Tucson is like for me. Hear it is:

Tuesday, April 4: We spent most of the afternoon visiting less
actives. A good way to get to talk to them is to knock on their door,
look like you're real thirsty, and ask for a drink of water. They'll
give you a glass and then they'll have to stand there and wait for you to be finished with the glass. Works almost without fail. We also gave a single sister a blessing since she was going in for a medical procedure that Friday. And we shared a conference message with a part member family. That evening we had a lesson with Jeff - our new investigator in Tanque Verde. We had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon and read 1 Nephi 4 with him. As always, we had to explain why god wanted to have Laban killed, but we seemed to resolve his concern rather easily.

Wednesday, April 5: Most of the day was Zone Conference where we had trainings from the assistants and President and Sister Passey. It's always a great motivator for us. We then got to teach the story of Easter to the Andrews kids (they never get to go to church because their parents are constantly working). That night we met with our high councilman who's over the missionary efforts in the stake. He has been pushing us to invite as many people to the Temple Open House as possible. It's such a great blessing to be in Tucson at this very special time for the city.

Thursday, April 6: I was on exchanges with Elder Hansen, our district leader. We spent a good part of the day helping an older member unload two tons of sand and gravel from the back of his truck. It was a lot of fun. It reminded of all the odd jobs I'd do with Grandpa Kennedy all the time. That night we went on splits with their Ward missionaries to go see some less actives. The one we were assigned to go see wasn't home, so we just ended up talking to his dad who was an active member. Oh well.

Friday, April 7: Weekly planning day - boring. That night the Bonanza Ward was having a Family History potluck. People brought dishes that had to do with their ancestors and the cultures they came from. Some members brought their nonmember neighbors with them and we sat down and talked to them a bit. The husband asked me what college I wanted to go to and I told him I wanted to go to Hillsdale College. It turns out him and his wife are from Michigan and they had a nephew who went to Hillsdale. They called me a "hero" for wanting to go there and getting into constitutional law, haha. We invited them to the Temple Open House and they seemed to have a lot of interested. Can't wait to
see where it goes from there.

Saturday, April 8: Hit my ten month mark - I'm getting old! Sadly, we had to move a great family out of our ward - the Harris'. That took us clear into the afternoon. That evening we had another lesson with Jeff. A family in Tanque Verde Ward named the Decasters had him over for dinner. We taught the Plan of Salvation and I really wanted to invite him to be baptized, but it just wasn't feeling right. It'll have to wait for another day according to the Lord's timing, I suppose.

Sunday, April 9: Fast Sunday. Jeff came to church for the first time!
We sat him up front so he wouldn't have to hear the crying kids so
much and see everyone looking at their phones and whatnot. It was
perfect, he was attentive to it all, and I could see he was really
pondering the things he was seeing and feeling as the sacrament was being administered. That evening we were discussing what we learned in conference with our investigator Ben Zesch. He is so ready for baptism; due to special circumstances he just can't yet. That night as we were about to go in for the night, one of the neighbors of our complex stopped us. We talked to a very troubled man named Robert. He has gotten himself in a bad situation, and he's not sure how much longer his life is going to be spared. He told us he desperately wanted to get closer to God. I simply handed him a Book of Mormon and said reading this book has brought me closer to God. I put it in his hands and he looked down and stared at it in awe for a moment. "Are you sure you want to give this to me?" I assured him I did. He expressed exceeding gratitude for my gift and said he'd begin reading it immediately. We then said a prayer with him and promised to see him again tomorrow. Dare I say it was the most powerful contact I've had on my mission thus far.

That's it. I love you. I miss you. God bless you all.

Elder. Miller

Monday, April 3, 2017

Southeast Tucson Week 15 General Conference

What's up guys!? I hope you enjoyed Conference weekend. I particularly enjoyed the talks given by Elders Renlund, Oaks, and Rasband. Elder Rasband's talk was especially helpful and very applicable to missionary work; I could certainly do better in listening and acting upon the impressions I get from the Holy Spirit. It reminded me a lot about a great talk I heard from Elder Bednar in the MTC (I did't actually see Elder Bednar in the MTC; it was a video). The basic principle taught in both talks is that the more we strive to be like Christ and heed to the prompting of the Holy Ghost in the moment we receive them, the more the Lord will trust us and the more opportunities He will give us to be an instrument in His hands. This week has been a good one, considering we actually got a new investigator in Tanque Verde Ward (our ward that is struggling). Last preparation day I got a phone call from a member in Gilbert who said he had a friend he works with who has agreed to meet with us. He set up the appointment for us and even drove all the way down from Gilbert to sit in on the first lesson! His friends name is Jeff Rosano. He's
39 and single; when he was younger he was going to seminary to become a priest, but he decided it wasn't the path he wanted to take. He comes from a Calvinist upbringing but has always had problems with its teaching of predestination. We taught a great lesson of the Restoration; he was very involved in the lesson and had a lot of great questions about prophets, the priesthood, and dispensations. He is truly trying to find god's truth. It's very refreshing to be able to teach someone who actually wants to learn.

I love you guys. Have a good week,

Elder Miler