Dear family,
How is everything at home? I'm happy to hear that you could have an impromtu visit from cousin John this week; what fun! I wish I could have been there to experience what a junk yard is like and to help with the fun of fixing phone jacks and office blinds. It sounds like a good time was had by all.

I have been having fun here in Utuado. It is completely different from Bayamon! Seriously. But I really like it. It is a really small place, so that is the first change. Everyone knows everyone (it seems) or everyone is somehow related. It is pretty cool. Also, everyone knows the missionary that I replaced..."And the other blanquita?" they tell me, "Where is she?" She was here for 7 months, so I guess it is kind of like she was part of the town by the time she left.

Also, going door knocking is completely different. We live in a town in a small mountain valley, so everyone in the surronding area lives in the mountains. When we knock doors it is kind of like going on a 2 or 3 hour hike everyday. Seriously! We just park on the side of the road somewhere and climb these really steep roads that have little houses nestled here and there. It is really cool because the people really do just live on mountain sides. I wish you could see it.

Like I said last week, it is an absolutely beautiful area and it is exciting to be here. The wildlife is gorgeous and it is overcast a lot. There is still a lot of sun, but it is also a lot more cloudy here than it was over in Bayamon. It is also not very hot (but we still sweat plenty climbing all the hills); in the high 70s, low 80s. Quite lovely, actually. I like it here.

The branch is completely different. It is very small, but that is an important experience to have to, I think. They depend on us as missionaries a lot. For example, we taught Relief Society/Priesthood last week and we also gave talks in sacrament meeting (I guess we speak once a month). The branch has several new converts, and the Relief Society president is a recent convert (she was sick this week, and that is why we taught). So work is progressing in the area, but as in all areas, the hard thing is retention. We really need to work hard to keep the recent converts converted.

We teach an English class on Saturday nights. That was stressful to hear about, because my companion doesn't speak much English, so that means I teach an English class on Saturday night. We haven't had the class yet though, because it was canceled for the week we had conference and then the people who attend didn't realize it was back on the last two weeks. If you have any ideas, let me know! We (apparently) just play games and stuff with vocabulary and work on phrases. For example, they played a charades-type game the week before conference with occupation words. Let me know what sorts of games you think would be good.

We basically have one investigator, Carlos. But oh, what an investigator! He is awesome. He has been to church several times and a lot of people all ready think he is a member. He stays after church to put away the chairs as the members scurry home. He is a retired humanities professor, so loves to read and study. He knows the bible quite well and likes to read The Book of Mormon. I guess he was listening to missionaries 20 years ago or so, but one of them stole a Rubik's cube from his house, and so he said don't come back. (Sad, right? You can't do stupid things like that as a missionary!) But, he is listening again now and progressing well. We have been teaching him the Plan of Salvation recently, and it is cool because he completely agrees with everything we say that is sometimes a point of controversy for other investigators. He is very prepared. It is hard to teach him sometimes though because he has a difficult accent for me to understand, and also he likes to read the bible to us. Which is fine, except for I don't really understand the Bible in Spanish. There is some strange vocabulary in there, and so I often get lost when he pulls out a Bible scripture. But, my native-speaking companion takes care of it all, and it's good. He is a really cool guy and we're excited that he is progressing so much.

I hope all is well at home. I sure do love you all and thank you for your support! Have a great week!

Hermana Miller

ps. I saw an interesting contraption this week; we were in the home of a member and she had (what looked like) a tennis racket sitting on her table. Innocent enough, right? Innocent until a mosquito flys by. She saw a mosquito and picked up the racket and swings at him. We know that she got the mosquito because there was an electric sound. It's a mosquito stunner! There were definitely sparks. It definitely scared me. I kind of want to go back and try it though.

We had a kickball game as a zone last week. It was a lot of fun! These are the sisters in our zone. That's right; just us four. We are also in the same district, which is what makes our district awesome.

I discovered that the best way to get dogs to stop barking at you is to befriend them. So, in addition to befriending lots of people (sometimes grumpy), we also befriend lots of grumpy dogs (who are really just excited). This one looked exactly like Aki, so we took a picture. It was like being with family again! I almost kissed it, but right before I did I remembered that it was a random dog wandering the streets...bad idea (to touch it, never mind to kiss it).

This is us on top of a mountain we recently climbed. The "city" you can see in the background is downtown Utuado. "The Pueblo" as it is known here. Beautiful, right?

Here I am in Utuado! It is a very country area and huge (geographically). Wow. I was in a realy city,city area before, and this is completely different! Let me tell you though. If I thought Puerto Rico was beautiful before, it was only because I could see the campo in the distance. When you are actually in the campo, wow! Breath-taking. Seriously. My new companion is Hermana Reyes, who is from Guatemala. She is really nice and very easy to get along with, which is great. We live "downtown" in the pueblo, which is nice. We have a pay-less and a Walgreens and a McDonald's nearby. Everything you could possibly need! Oh. And another establishment that basically confirmed to me that I am in the right place. I will provide photographic evidence and explain myself shortly (hopefully next week, depending on time).

Exciting news about the apartment: it has a piano! Woo hoo! Well. Not exactly a piano. Just a keyboard, but's a step up from nothing. It definitely distracts me from doing things like writing in my journal, going to bed early, folding clothes and washing dishes, but it is a good distraction. It just makes me a little happier every time I use it. Also, the ceilings are high enough to jump rope inside! Also cool. Downside to the apartment: no hot water! I know! It is crazy! But, it is just more motivation for me to work out in the morning so I'm really hot and want that cold water. Also, more bugs and bigger bugs. My legs look like they have a really bad case of the chicken pox, they've been bitten so badly, and on my first morning in the apartment I saw a cockroach the size of my thumb. It was rather disgusting.

Besides the bugs and the cold water, Utuado is beautiful. It is nice and cool here...80-85 every day, which is definitely an upgrade from Bayamon weather, which was already in the 90's. The funny thing is I really do feel like it is cool. It is cool because we live in the mountains. There are winding roads and lots of bamboo. Random, right? But really. There are large clumps of bamboo shoots everywhere. It is cool. The houses are farther apart, and you have to hike mountains to get to them. The roads that go up these mountains are of the one lane variety and also have tight curves, so you have to honk your horn as you come upon a curve to warn others who may also be coming the other direction. It was kind of weird at first, but now I'm used to it. I have also learned about a "new" gear in the car. It is called "Low" (I think) and you use it when you're going up or down really steep hills so you don't hurt your engine. There are some hills that are so steep here that you are going up and you can't see over the nose of your car because it is pointing too far up. It is all very adventurous and I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

We also went to conference this weekend. There are some sisters in Lares, the pueblo next door to Utuado, and we picked them up so that the Elders in Lares could use their (the Sister's) car. We went up to Arecibo to watch the conference, and wasn't it the best? I loved it! There were several talks that I really enjoyed and I am excited to read them again. I really liked Elder Christofferson's talk and also Elder Bednar's talk. Did you notice his point #3? That is what he talked to us about! I think everyone should read his talk "Seek learning by faith," whcih isn't a conference talk, but should be available from CES. It is a great talk that is kind of an extension of his point #3 from Saturday. Read it. You'll love it. We (our mission) love it. I like the conference right around (or in this case on) Easter because it focuses so much on Jesus Christ and His life and resurrection. It was a really wonderful weekend that just went too fast. We got to stay in the apartment of the Lares Sisters on Saturday and Sunday night,which was cool because it was just like a great slumber party...that ended at 10:30. Haha. But we like going to bed at 10:30 (and that is the truth! All Returned missionaries know that). It was really fun. The sisters are also in our district, so we get to see them a lot, which will be great. They are really cool.

I am excited to work in the area and get to know it better. I don't know what it will be like working in the country like this, but it should be exciting to find out.

Hope every one had a great conference/Easter weekend! I was thinking of you all when every one was talking about families. :)

I love you,
Hermana Miller

Or, at least off to see Puerto Rico. That's right; I'm getting transferred! We are actually both getting transferred. How sad! They are taking Sisters out of Caparra. You should have seen the response in Relief Society when we told everyone we were leaving. Everyone was all in uproar. Haha. It is nice to know we are loved. We made a lot of visits yesterday to people to say goodbye and such, and there were definitely some tears (not from us, although we are definitely sad to leave the place). I am going to miss this ward so much! The people here are awesome, and I really feel like they are my family. I feel like I have found some extra mothers and grandmothers here and I'm going to miss them tons.

I am definitely going to miss our investigators too. Carolina and her son Cristian are now in the hands of the Elders in our ward, and that makes me sad. Carolina continues to face trials and difficulties, but also continues to stay strong. She found out this week she has to be out of her apartment within the next month, for one reason or another. She had just looked at a new apartment and was walking down the street and someone held her up and took her handbag and her phone. We went to visit her and we're like "How have you been?" Carolina is really cool and calm and doesn't over-react about things and she said "Well, I don't feel so good because someone assaulted me today." And for a second, we just kind of sat there, making sure we understood it right, and she told us they took her phone and her handbag, which had lots of important papers because earlier that day she had gone to do something with the government, so she lost her SS card and all her identification etc. It is absolutely amazing what Satan is throwing at her. I almost feel bad for kind of bringing it on to her, but she knows that she has the truth and is still fighting for it. We went over to her house last night with the Elders to tell her we were leaving and she told us they were going to miss us. She says Cristian is always saying "The Sisters haven't come recently, mom!" and he is always excited when we come. Oh, he is so cute! I'm going to miss them tons. After the Elders left, Carolina asked if even though Cristian wasn't born in the church if he could be a missionary too when he grew up, and we're like "Of course!" She was very excied to hear that. I just love her so much! And I'm so sad the Elders are taking over. We can't even see her baptism, or help her as a recent convert. I am just so, so sad. We took pictures with them and I'll attach them. Cristian sings Follow the Prophet all the time. I just love him too. He is the sweetest little thang.

Another investigator we're sad to leave is also someone we toc-ed into, last week. Her name is Raysa. She is amazing. So humble too, and so ready to learn. She is from the DR and was really sad to hear we were going. We left her a Book of Mormon last week and assigned her a chapter to read. When we came back, she had read the chapter, and the introduction and the testimonies and everything. The book we gave her had the testimony of a member in it, and it really touched her heart. I know that she is going to accept the gospel as the Elders continue to teach her and that her life is going to change and improve through the gospl. She has two really cute little kids too. At first I thought one of them was called Hedwig (which would have been awesome), but alas, it is Herber.

It was sad to say goodbye to all the members on Sunday and Monday and we're really going to miss them, but that is just part of the mission, right? We have to move and go meet new awesome investigators and members. I'm mostly just sad that we are both going. We have worked in this area for 3 transfers, and we had a really good hold on it finally, and now they're kicking us out. I opened this area with Hermana Lopez and I really do just feel like it is my home, and now we lose it. Anyway. I can't think about it anymore. The investigators are strong and are going to continue strong in the gospel too. I'm sad to get a new companion too, but it'll just be a new opportunity to learn new things.

I love you all! I'll let you know next week where I am and what the area is like and all that good stuff.

Sister Miller.