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?

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