Dear family,

I know that subject line is really captivating. But you're going to have to wait to find out what it means.

This week was a great week. I hope everything is going great back at home.
As for exciting news, Joshua got the priesthood this week! So cool! He was ordained to be a teacher (because he is 14), and he seemed very happy about it. In other exciting news for Joshua, he learned how to tie a tie and...he came tracting with us! It was great. I could definitely tell he was nervous, but he has agreed to come with us another time, with the condition that we don't toc so near to his house. Which is understandable. It would be a little awkward to toc in your own neighborhood. The problem is, he can't get in our car, so we just have to find a solution for that. He is doing great though. He comes to church and we are still meeting with him and he still loves the gospel. Yay! It is so great to see how the gospel can really bless the lives of those who accept it.

Carolina is doing great too. She came to church and smiled a lot there. That is a big deal. She is changing, you can see it. Not that she is not a happy person, she just doesn't smile a lot. She has a really hard life. But, we love visiting her and seeing her in church because she is starting to smile more and more. She even laughs at my "jokes" sometimes. Which is also notable... coming from anyone, that is. The Gospel Principles class meets right next to the primary, and at the end of the class, we could hear the primary singing "Follow the Prophet" and there was one kid singing louder than all the rest, and it was Cristian, her son. She laughed at that when she recognized his voice. I love Cristian. He is so cute, and he is really smart too. I love Carolina. I just love everyone. :) She got her own ride to church this week, which is an awesome step, because a lot of people just expect the church to provide transportation, but she took it into her own hands. I'm tellin' you. She is a refreshing investigator. Everything about her is different and new. She is prepared. We talked a little bit more about how her friend is still trying to convince her away from the church and how her friends are printing off anti and giving it too her ("From googles" she said. I liked how it is plural.) to read. She tells us that she made a connection. She already knew the church is true, but she feels like all the opposition she is getting is just confirmation, because she realizes that Christ too had a lot of opposition in his life. People persecuted and rejected him and it was because it was the truth. I just love that she made that connection on her own and that she is learning on her own with out us having to push her along.

We met with Rudy again this week. He was missing for a few weeks because his phone was broken and he was working down in Bocaron, which is really far away...the southwestern corner of the island. But, he randomly called us and we set a cita, and he came. We meet in a member (recent convert:)) home for his citas. He told us that he prayed and feels that Joseph Smith is a prophet, which is definitely a great first step. We are really excited for him. He lives about 3 houses down the street from the member, and we can see that they really like each other. The member (actually, there are two members...they are brothers that have less than a year in the chruch, but they are awesome) and Rudy are growing to be good friends. Which is cool.

In other investigator news, we made an investigator cry this week. It was sad. It wasn't because the lesson was just so spiritual that he couldn't contain himself. It's because he didn't read and we talked to him seriously about how we have to read to grow and he is breaking commitments with God, and how we can't come back until he read. We weren't really mean, we were just firm, and we were really sad and disappointed in him, and he knew we were disappointed. He looked really sad and then I said a prayer, and he was sniffling during the prayer and then as we were going, he just kind of started crying some more. He was trying to hold it in, but couldn't. It was a really sad moment, because we want to help him, but he isn't doing what he needs to do. We are just going to pop in again this week to see how he is, so hopefully his last experience with the Mormons won't be us making him cry. That would be a shame.

Also this week, we made no bake cookies (because we don't have an oven), and they were a big hit! I guess they don't have them here in Puerto Rico. Also, remember those pictures I sent with the Bananas that were growing in our backyard? We picked them this week. The whole bunch! The owner of the house told us to cut off the bunch and that we could keep them. We didn't really want them all, but when a Puerto Rican offers you something, you take it. Well, the huge bunches of bananas that are growing on the trees seriously have 60 bananas at least, so we don't know what to do with them all! We have been giving them to everyone we know; investigators, members, and menos-activos alike. It is kind of fun. Hermana Reid and I like to give things away. I like doing it. Lots of people give us sweet things, like desserts to eat, but we don't want them because we're getting fat! So, we just take it with pleasure from the person ("Thank you so much," we say, "this is a great snack!"), and then promptly pass it on to our next appointment or the next member we meet. It is great, because everybody feels good. The member we take it from feels good giving it, we feel good taking it, we feel good not having to eat it, and we feel good givig it, and the person receiving it feels good too. That is one thing Sister Reid has taught me, is the joy of giving. That is why we made no bakes; to give to people and make them feel good.
I'm so excited for conference! It is only 2 weeks away, and I can't wait! Conference is a little bit like Christmas for missionaries. We wait and wait and wait for the amazing opportunity that we have to listen to the words of a prophet and the apostles. I am still re-reading the Conference report from October because the talks are just that good. I can't wait to hear the things that the Lord has prepared especially for us for right now. Woohoo! I'm excited.

I love you all so much and love hearing from you! I hope you're enjoying school and work, or whatever it is you're all up to.

Sister Miller

ps. Random photo. We were driving one day and there was a guy on his motorcycle riding on just the back wheel. Which is actually quite common here. Dangerous. Anyway. I saw that the back of his motorcycle was on fire, and I thought, "Well, that is an interesting effect," and then I thought "I wonder if it is supposed to be on fire." Come to find out, it wasn't supposed to be on fire, and it turns out that when he discovered it was on fire, he couldn't put the fire out. And so his motorcycle went up in flames. It was interesting. I have a photo of the burning bike. And it got worse than that photo too. There was a big, ugly, black cloud of smoke. It was kind of an interesting experience. But let that be a lesson to you. Don't do wheelies on motorcycles.

I just realized that! But seriously? That is so cool! People come here to vacation, but we get to live here! It is really cool.

That aside, it was a really cool week this week. We are teaching a lot, which is really a blessing, because that is what missionaries like to do. We are always busy, and that is also a blessing. We have lots of investigator news.

Remember Rolando? I don't think I've talked about him in a while, but we are still visiting him and his friend Mariely. They are doing really well. They are progressing and reading in the Book of Mormon. We realized we need to kind of teach them like we would teach children, so we have been leaving cool stories for them to read from the Book of Mormon. For example, we left Nephi building the boat and they read the whole thing and remembered it and learned things from it. We talked about the importance of obedience with that story. Then, we decided to leave the story of King Noah and the prophet Abinadi. We told them to start in Mosiah 11 and that the story ends in Mosiah 17, but if they could at least read chapter 11, that would be good. We came back this week and they had read the whole thing. It was really cool because we knew they would read, but we didn't think they'd read the entire story. It was exciting. And they understood the story too. They remembered what they read. We used the story to talk about follow the prophet, the 10 commandments, and the Sabbath day. It was a really good lesson. So, they are making great progress. They still haven't come to church, but that is a work in progress.

With Carolina...she loved church! It was great to hear her tell us, because we weren't sure. She said that she didn't even realize the time...that it just flew by. When she has gone to church before, even though it is just an hour long, it just crept by, but she loved how it was, she loved how she felt, and she said that she's going to keep coming back. And she is getting her own ride (without us even asking...she just told us!). So, we set a baptismal date. Initially, she said "I think this is the right church, but I want to make sure before I make a commitment like that." Um. Yes! She is awesome. Then we came back later that week and she said she knew it was the right thing for her to do. So, we made the date official and she is preparing. Yay! I love going over there, because she is the investigator that every missionary wants. She is there for the appointments, she reads, she has great questions, she has amazing responses to our questions, she understands the scriptures, she uses her mind and can think. It is just so cool to find someone who is truly prepared. We talked about the word of wisdom, this week because she wanted to know if there were things we couldn't eat (I'm sure her friend is still telling her crazy things), and she accepted it so easily. She said, "Well, I smoke once in a while when I'm stressed, but I can stop that." She asked if we were allowed to get we know her friend is still throwing crazy things at her, but she knows it is true and knows where to continue finding more truth...directly from the scriptures and the spirit.

She is an agent (not and object...she acts in place of being acted upon), and it is so refreshing. So many people in this world want to be treated like objects. They want people to do things for them. Because, it is not easy to convert yourself to the gospel. You have to work and be willing to search and take responsibility for yourself. So many people we work with just throw excuse after excuse at us about why they didn't do something, or why they can't do something, etc, but I remember when Elder Bednar came and talked about agents vs. objects. He said that when people make excuses they are removing their agency and putting it on some thing else. I have really thought about that a lot since his visit, and it is so true! When we don't take responsibility for our own lives, for our own actions, we are removing our agency, and allowing something else to act upon us. I think it is ironic that people strive to be objects though, because that is what we were fighting for in heaven; the ability to choose for ourselves. But people are constantly trying to remove that and put it on some one or some thing else. It is sad and frustrating. And so, Carolina is exciting and refreshing and prepared. I love visiting her.

Other random stories from this week are the following:

1. Juan. We contacted this guy named Juan at the end of January...a long time ago! But, he was really cool and interested in our message, so we set a cita and went to visit him. He wasn't there at the cita, but we talked to his wife, and she seemed rather dis-interested in our message. We tried to call him, but his phone was disconnected, and since his wife seemed frustrated with our visit, we didn't try to contact him again. Fast-forward to this Friday. Our zone leaders call us with a referral from their bishop, and I recognize that the street and the name match up, and it turns out that Juan knows the bishop of the Bayamon ward, and the missionaries went to teach him, because he lives right on the edge...the corner of our area. He really liked the lesson and wants us to keep coming to visit him (because he lives in our area). So, it is really cool that the Lord will always make sure that those people who are prepared for the gospel are taught it.

2. We met a guy on Saturday while we were toc-ing doors named Edwin, and we left him a restoration pamphlet and our number and he actually called us yesterday to see if we could come by and visit him on Thursday this week. Yay! As you know, I love it when people call us! :)

3. Jose Luis (btw. Everyone named Jose in Spanish is Jose Luis. And every one named Juan is Juan Carlos. It is just how it is, and it just kind of cracks me up a little). We met him while toc-ing yesterday, and he let us in and we taught him about the restoration. He really liked it, and he had really good, thoughtful answers to questions.

4. Yvonne. The neighbor of a member. We invited her while right before lunch at the member's home, and I complemented one of plants (because it was a cool vine thing). She said she has talked to the neighbor before, and that we could come and visit her in the future sometime when her kids are home from University, which was really cool. When we came out of the member home, she had cut a part of the plant for us to bring home in a little terra cota. So, no we have our very own house plant. I named him Pete...or maybe it's Peet. I'm not sure how to spell it, but that's his name. :)

5. When we were knocking doors one day this week, there was someone in a car, so we went over to talk to him. We started testifying, and he interrupted us and said "I'm drunk." I didn't really know how to respond, and even thought it was a little funny at first, but then, as we were walking away I realized how sad it is. The Word of Wisdom is such a blessing! He may have lost his one chance to learn about the gospel because he gave up his agency in an important moment. It made me sad, and helped me realize what a wonderful blessing the commandment are. It was an important experience for me, I think.

In other cool news...we made a cake in the microwave in a member home this week, because people don't have ovens here (some do, but most don't...we don't either, which is a little sad). It really works. I confess, I had my doubts at first, but try takes less then 5 minutes, and as little as 90 seconds, depending on how big it is. It came out tasty enough.

I love you! Keep doing what you're doing; being examples and helping people learn about the gospel!

Hermana Miller.

Dear Family,
I don't have any words for how awesome this week was. I don't even know where to start. This week was marvelous. Seriously. I think it is probably the best, most crazy, busiest week of my mission. What a contrast to last week! Perhaps the most exciting thing is that Joshua got baptized! Yes! It was awesome! He was just beaming at the baptism, and it was great. The spirit was there and Joshua was happy. We kind of have a funny story relating to the baptism though.

On Friday, we were going to have his baptismal interview, and we planned on meeting him in his "grandmother's" house at 4:30, chatting for a bit about the interview some more, and then walking over to the office to have it. Well. We also had zone conference on Friday (which, by-the-way was so good), and the Zone Conference was in Vega Baja, which is about a 45 minute drive west of our area. Zone Conference ended fine but we ended up waiting for a long time so we could talk to the missionary doctor who is in charge of the Carribean area, who was visiting that day. We finally finished at about 4:15, because there was a long line. When we went to get in our car though, we tried to start it and nothing happened...we ran out of battery because we had left our lights on! "Oh no! We're never going to make it to the interview now," we thought. "Luckily" (ha), just then the Vega Baja Elders "just happened" to pull into the parking lot. They "happened" to have jumper cables, fixed Pepe (our little white corolla), and sent us on our way. So, we were on the road at about 4:35. We drove really fast, and a little dangerously too, but we made it to Joshua's house by 5:05 and then ran over to the office licky-quick and made it there at 5:15...before our district leader even got there. Haha. So, all-in-all, it was a little crazy, but Joshua had the interview and he got baptized the next day and everything was good and happy.

While we were at the office, we invited all the people who work in the office to the baptism, and they all came! It was so sweet. Sister Martineau, the mission president's wife came too, with the doctor and his wife. Leo, Joshua's friend came to support him and he dressed up in a suit and tie too. It was really sweet. The Young Men's president baptized him, which I think is really great for him because they have a relationship already and that will really help him stay strong in the church. Just someone else to support him. It was a really great experience. What's better, Joshua received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday in Sacrament meeting, which is a wonderful blessing for him. We were just really happy for him and excited everything turned out well.

We had other great experiences this week too. On Monday, for P-day, we went to Isla de means Goat Island (which I thought was interesting, because Niagra Falls has a Goat Island too, right? What a random name to occur more than once in Geography). Anyway. Isla de Cabras was really cool. From there, you can see the Moro, which is kind of like the symbol of Puerto Rico. The Moro (along with Old San Juan) is over in the East Mission, but it was really cool to see it from far away. Just as we were about to leave, huge cruise ship was coming into the bay. It was massive. For reals. It was pretty cool.

Carolina is doing so great. She is still reading in the Book of Mormon and yesterday committed to do so daily. Yay! Also, she came to church yesterday! It was so wonderful. It was testimony meeting, and the spirit was really strong and (although we didn't get much of a chance to talk afterwards because her ride was leaving), I suspect she felt the spirit in that meeting. We talked about the Priesthood in Princples of the Gospel, which was good, but a little advanced. In Relief Society, we talked about Jesus Christ and the pre-earth life, which was perfect as a reinforcment of the Plan of Salvation lessons we taught her this week. Her son, Cristian went to primary and loved it, so that is great. He'll be able to help encourage his mom to come back to church. We had some great lessons with members this week at her house too, so we're really excited for her. The reason she couldn't come to church last week was completely out of her control and just reinforces to me that Satan really doesn't want people to have that experiece in church just because it is so important in the conversion process. It was great that she came though. We were so happy.

Rudy is one of our investigators. I don't know if I've told you about him before, but we had a lesson at his house just before Hermana Lopez left. He is a contact who called us, and that was just really exciting for us because contacts never call you. But, he called us and that really excited us. We had a lesson with him, and then didn't have another one until this week because he has a crazy work schedule. He paints houses, and so he works whenever he can get work, so it is hard to connect with him. Also, he recently moved to a new house, and the owner of the house doesn't like the church very much, so we can't teach him there. Fortunately, one of our new members lives right down the street, and they love missionary work. Really. They go out and knock doors with the Elders all the time and are always asking for pass-along cards to give to their friends. So. One of them came to our first lesson with Rudy, and they said that he could have the lessons in his house. We had a lesson there this week with Rudy and it was really good. He had read in the Book of Mormon, and what's more...he had remembered what he had read. Which, believe it or not, is not very common (the investigators remembering what they read, that is). Anyway. The cita was good. We left him with an assignment to read in the Book of Mormon and also we left him a pamphlet of the Prophet Joseph Smith's testimony. We got a call the next day while we were in a lesson with Joshua. Sister Reid answered the phone because we were waiting on the bishop before we started the lesson. It was Rudy, and I guess he had read the testimony and was really excited about what he had read. Hermana Reid said she gave him basically the whole first lesson again, over the phone. They talked about prophets and their importance and Jesus Christ and how he set up a church and then how he restored the church through a prophet because it had been lost. It was cool that he called us again and that he was so excited about what he had learned. We have a lesson with him today, so we'll see how it goes.

So many other wonderful and exciting things happened this week, but I just don't have time left. Sorry! Haha. I guess I found the words, but just to share the experiences. Not the feelings of this week. Really. I wish you could just come and feel the mission with me, because you can't describe it. This week was fabulous. Thanks for your love and support!

Hermana Miller :)

ps. Remember the green bananas in that other photo? We ate them this week! They were tasty. Actually really sweet and a fresher, happier flavor than the normal, yellow ones. Yum!

Dear Family,

You know how when we were ak ids and Christmas Eve would be the longest day of the year because we were just waiting, waiting, waiting? (Sometimes we'd even try some strategies to make the day go faster, such as running in place and jumping "through time"...?) Well, This was the longest week of my mission because we were just waiting, waiting, waiting for the water to come back. "They" told us it would be back on Tuesday some time, and then it kept getting pushed back. Finally it came back on Thursday morning and there was joy again in the pink house. Luckily, we never got to the point of convulsing people, just extreme physical discomfort, because I like to shower...daily if possible. We were lucky though, in that we got to shower every other day...we showered on Monday morning in the Mission home, and then again on Wednesday morning in the Office (it was so cold!). On Wednesday when we found out we weren't getting water until later, we decided to go home to get our jugs to fill them up (did you know it is 2 1/2 gallons to flush a toilet?!). When we got home, we were blessed with a water truck right outside our house and the task that we thought would take a long time ended up being only 20 minutes. That was definitely a blessing of the Lord. So, not so much sitting (nor running in place or jumping through time for that matter), but lots of waiting and wishing this week.

I feel like we did a lot of knocking doors this week, because a lot of our investigators have fallen. They were really great, but they just don't have time to meet with us or to keep their commitments, so hopefully other missionaries in the future will be able to pick them up again and help them. One of my favorite stories from this week while knocking is this one lady that we knocked into while it was raining outside. It wasn't even raining that hard, but she flipped. out. Seriously. She was like "No! You're going to get wet! You're going to get sick! No!" She wouldn't even listen to us. It just kind of cracked me up because we're like, what?! You're not going to get wet, and we're still in the should let us into your house! But seriously, I guess that has happened to Hermana Reid before in her other Puerto RIcan area. It was just funny.

We also met a new investigator this week while knocking doors, named Pablo. Pablo is a retired theater teacher. And you can tell. He is so dramatic and very animated. It is really just a joy to go over to his house. He is a really great guy, but didn't quite understand our claim to the authority of Jesus Christ. We were talking about this is Companion study one day and how we need to be more bold, because a lot of people just think that if it talks of God, than it is good and therefore true. That is why there can be so many churches here in Puerto Rico that are supported by the people. So, we read him a verse in 1 Nefi that clarified that... and I felt really bad reading it, but I think it may have worked...we'll see next time we visit him, and what's more, he still like us afterwards and gave us treats and refresco. He just cracks us up without even realizing it because his personality is just so stereotypical drama-type, and it's fun. He told us that he wasn't going to answer the door to our shouting, but that something told us that he should come and talk to us and let us in. So, that was really cool and I liked to hear that.

We have one investigator, Carolina, who is really cool. She has a young son and we have been teaching her for a while now. She always keeps her commitments and reads in the Book of Mormon, even if it isn't a lot, she has always read in the assignment, which is really exciting, because no one ever keeps their commitments here. We were visiting her this week and she told us about one of her friends that told her that we practice plural marriage. We told her that it is against the beliefs of the church and any one who practices it is not a member of our church (although they may do it under the name of the church). She told us what she told to her friend when her friend told her not to listen to us anymore, and it was cool! She said that she feels good when we're there and she feels good reading in the Book of Mormon and that she likes the Book of Mormon and that she is going to ask God if she should keep listening to us, instead of listening to what her friend says. Yes! It was so good to hear that, because now we know:

1. She can think for herself and does
2. She feels the spirit
3. She recognizes the spirit (we talked more about why she felt the way she did)
4. She trusts in us enough to voice her doubts

It was a really good lesson. And then we went back later this week with a member, and the member bore a really powerful testimony, which was great. She testified that Carolina really needs to gain a testimony for herself and that we were there to help her, but she really needs to work and look for the answers for herself. We were so happy that her testimonry really focused on that aspect of the conversin process because it is something we've really been focusing on with investigators lately, ever since Elder Bednar came. It was a really great lesson. And on top of it all, she is a great mother. I am jsut really excited for her. She commited to come to church on Sunday and we arranged a ride with the Primary president to guarantee that she would make it, but then she called on Sunday morning and said she couldn't (I think...I still find I difficult to understand Spanish on the phone), but she didn't make it to church. And I find it encouraging that she called instead of just not being at home when the ride came, so we still have a lot of faith in a hope for her.

Joshua is still learning and progressing wonderfully. We're very excited for him. He had to go to his grandmother's house this weekend, and that is the hard thing with him. That is, that he doesn't have a lot of control over his own time. He missed a cita once because he had to go to his aunt's house, and then this week he missed a cita and church because he had to go to his grandmother's house. But, we know that he is ready because he is keeping his reading commitments and is excited about everything we tell him, and he just tells us always that he wants to know more.

Thanks for all the love and support. Missionary work is great, and I am learning so much! I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ; the same church that he organized when he came to earth, and that only through the principles and ordinances He has given us can we reach our goals to live with Him and our families forever.

Hermana Miller