Dear Family,

First of all, congratulations to Tyler on his Board of Review! That is really great news. I didn't realize it was such a pain; I helped you on your project and you are just now getting all the paperwork through? What a pain! But, congratulations! A lot of work, but definitely worth it, right?

So, thank you for making me learn piano, because I get to play in church here! There is a young woman that can play some songs, but others she doesn't know how to, and so when she doesn't know how to play a song, I get to play it. It is nice, because I really love playing, but never get a chance to here. The really awesome thing about the girl who can play piano is that she looks exactly like Gabriella Montez from HSM. I mean seriously. How cool is that? I wonder if she sings like her too. Haha.

I feel like I have a lot of things to tell this week, but as always, only a limited amount of time, so here I go:

This week we saw some really interesting things. Cultural things, I suppose. Things that most Puertoriqueños wouldn't think were that crazy, but were really amazing for me. First of these is called a caravan. The caravans are these mini parade things (like two "floats") that go around the neighborhoods at night. There are decorated a lot with lights and they play loud music and they throw candy at people walking by. The music is loud and so it attracts all the neighborhood kids to them (kind of like the pied piper...haha), but really. This is legit, because they have the police escorting them and blocking the roads and such. My compañera says that this happens all the time in the Christmas season. It is pretty cool. I'm not sure who funds them, but I guess they're pretty common.

In other cultural news: we were driving away from a recent converts house recently and on the corner is a bar thing. At the bar, there was a party, and what was at the party that made it so interesting? A pig on a spit! Seriously! An entire pig, roasted, on a spit. It was crazy! I wanted a photo, but shucks. I didn't have my camera. It was pretty crazy.

You asked if people speak Spanish or Spanglish, and I've been meaning to tell you about this, because it is really cool actually. Everyone speaks Spanish here, but the really crazy thing is that practically everyone (not everyone, but nearly everyone) can switch to English at the drop of a hat and with practically no accent. It is really pretty cool. We know this one family where the 15 year old boy can speak English just by watching movies and talking with American Missionaries. He says that he actually knows and English word sometimes without knowing it's Spanish equivalent, which is pretty cool. Also, sometimes in conversations there is a little bit of Spanglish going on, where they use one or two words in the midst of Spanish, but this doesn't happen very often. It is really useful, because if someone says a word I don't know, I can sometimes ask them right then, and they'll translate it for me. Sometimes when people see I'm American (I don't hide it very well...and I sound like an American too) they'll just start speaking English to me. My companion, however cannot understand or speak English, so I try to speak in Spanish and translate by including the question in my answer, so she can follow the conversation too. It's so hard though! That is, to hear and think in English, but then to be asked to speak in Spanish. Ah! It is crazy, but I'm getting better at it.

So, there are always good door-knocking stories, right? And this week we had some awesome ones. We knocked a lot of doors this week, because we're opening in the area, and my companion assured me it is often like this when you're opening an area; a lot of knocking. So, first the funny ones. We meet a lot of people who say they're really busy right now, and some of them truly are, but some of them it's just like "Tell us you're not interested. It's okay. We get rejected all the time." This one guy this week was sitting on the curb watching his kids play and drinking some sort of beverage..."Oh, I'm reeeally busy right now," he told us. Haha. It was funny. Another lady we knocked and she appeared at the window (this happens all the time; people talk at us through the window. Sometimes we can't even see them, which is a little weird) and she said she was busy. But we could see in her other hand that she had 7 or 8 cards, like she was playing a card game. haha.

We also met a lady this week who said, "Oh- I've read that book, that book, that book..." "Oh, The Book of Mormon?" I provided. "Yeah. That Book of Mormon. I know your story, and I know all about John Smith." Hmm. I thought. I don't know if she knows all about it, but okay. It was pretty funny. We actually met two people this week who knew all about John Smith. Nobody that knew about Joseph Smith though. Haha. People can be funny sometimes. We just have to stay happy and remember not to take it personally (even though their rejections are meant that way at times).

We were knocking on Saturday and hadn't had a lot of success, but we had 10 minutes left after we finished the street we had chosen, and only 5 houses or so between us and the car. I had a good feeling about a house a little bit down the hill, so I said "Let's just do these three houses here (the house I wanted to knock was the second) and then we can go back up the hill." Well, we got the the second house and they weren't interested. We got to the third house however, and met Emilia. Emilia is 37 weeks pregnant with her second daughter. Her first daughter is 14 months. She is a nurse. She was really interested in our message, and is really excited for us to come over and teach her this week because she wants something more for her family. We started teaching her a little bit about the plan of salvation, and she got excited and let us come in to meet her daughter and her mother. (Her husband lives somewhere else that is closer to where he works.) So, we met the family and shared a little something and had a prayer. We're going to return this week and teach the first lesson, and I'm really excited! She seemed really interested and she is at an important time in her life right now, with two young children. It is exciting to meet someone who is interested after being rejected all day, but it always seems to be the last house. It just shows us that we need to endure to the end and stay faithful even through hard times; that applies to life as well as missionary work.

I experienced my first Puerto Rican rainfall recently. It is crazy because you can see rain clouds, but it doesn't rain, it doesn't rain, it doesn't rain, and then suddenly out of nowhere it is like buckets are just being thrown down on you. It was actually pretty intense. My shoes got soaked, and my skirt too. But the nice thing about Puerto Rico is that the sun is so powerful here that my skirt was dry within minutes. Sometimes while it rains the sun is shining too; there is a lot of sun-showers, which is also pretty cool.

This is exciting: I discovered this week where I can buy skim milk! Yeah! I bought some today and the guy was like "oh, here is some regular milk." He was stocking whole milk and tried to give me some, and I said "No. I want this one." "This one is without fat. You want milk that is completely without fat?" "Yes. With 0% fat." He gave me a weird look and surrendered the carton. People here really like fat, which is hard for me, because I really don't. But, they like the flavor. I don't know why. But thus it is. I realized this week I am going to gain weight here, because we started eating at member homes. The food was good, but definitely not healthy. With the exception of the vegetarian sister's home. Her food was good and healthy.

One last story: We had an appointment with a young girl who we met in the street the other day, and we went to meet her at her home. She wasn't there and was not answering her phone. As we were leaving, we met one of her nighbors who was eating lunch. We asked him if he knew anything about her and started chatting. Apparently he is a member of the church, but inactive. We did not have his address because he moved after he left the church. We stopped and shared a song and a thought with him and talked for a while. We are coming back later to watch a video with him. It sounds like he was a really stong member, because he has a lot of books from the church and reports that he used to go out with the missionaries all the time, so we don't know what happened to make him inactive now. I just love these stories where we randomly run into people who are inactives; it turned out that Kayla wasn't interested (we went back to her house after talking to her neighbor; we knew she was there because she had just walked past; but she wouldn't let us in), but we were led to Carlos (the neighbor) through Kayla. The Lord works in really amazing ways and it is cool to see the results of seeking out and following the spirit.

Well, I'm all out of time, but I hope everything at home is going great and you stop feeling sick all the time! I don't feel like my letter this week was that spiritual, but I know the church is true! The Book of Mormon is the word of God and was translated by a prophet of the Lord, Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ lives and loves us and through Him we can be clean and return to live with God and with our families after this life. I'm happy to hear it snowed (from more than one person...haha) and that you are all getting ready for Christmas.


Hermana Miller

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