We had another exchange this week! It was fun. It was Friday and Saturday. We changed on Friday morning and then switched back on Saturday night. It was cool. I stayed in our area with Hermana Henk, and Sister Reyes went to San Sebastian with Hermana Ibanez. They are both from Guatemala, so they had a grand old time. Hermana Ibanez is going home at the end of this transfer (the same time Alyse is coming home...crazy that she's already done!) and Hermana Henk is going home the next transfer, in August. It was cool to work with someone new and especially since it is someone with so much more experience than me. I learned about patience from Hermana Henk. It was also refreshing to work with a new companion, because although I like Hermana Reyes, after working with the same companion for a while you kind of start to fall into a routine, which makes missionary work kind of boring after a while, and not as effective as well. So, it was good to work with Hermana Henk because she gave missionary work a fresh new look. The work part of it ended kind of early though because of a slight car inconvenience. We were going to English class and stopped at home to get some chalk and as we got out of the car, we heard "sssss". The right front tire was flat! Actually, it was just losing air. It wasn't flat yet. But, it was eventually. So, we took the car into the driveway and decided to change the tire. We called the missionary (a senior couple) who is in charge of the cars and told him about it and said we could go and get it fixed. We told him we were going to put the spare on, and he just kind of laughed at us and said good luck. We got the jack out of the back and were just trying to figure out how it worked when out of nowhere appeared a man. He was just walking by and asked if we needed help. So, he ended up changing the tire...it took him about 10 minutes and we were on our way. It was a lovely Christian act. I've seldom experienced something like that before...a good Samaritan in our day. It was so refreshing. The experience helped me realize that I've changed. Before if that had happened, I wouldn't have tried to invite him because "He's done enough, I don't want to bother him." But this week, I really wanted to invite him as a thank you for the help he gave us. We tried to, but he was really hard to understand and didn't seem that interested anyway. We know where he lives though (small town) and I hope to stop by and visit/invite him some day. We went to the panaderia afterward, which is where we buy pastries and such (dangerously delicious and cheap...I can't wait to take you to one) and we saw him again. We bought him a pound of bread as a thank-you (a pound of bread is like a loaf of french bread). I felt like it was kind of a pathetic gesture, but that's what we could do right then. First flat tire, one of my first good Samaritan experiences, trip to the panaderia :) it was kind of an exciting day.

Hermana Reyes had a good time on the exchange too. She talked a lot to Hermana Ibanez about Lajas...a really small area that struggled a lot like Utuado is struggling right now. They recently closed the area to missionaries and closed the branch down there. So, Hermana Reyes wanted to talk to Hermana Ibanez and pick her brain about what we can do to better help the area where we are serving right now, which definitely has some similarities to Lajas. I think she got some good ideas, and we're going to continue to try to make the branch stronger.

So. I don't think any one is taking the BoM (.com) challenge quite as seriously as I am (all are invited to participate), but I sure have had fun with it. I read in 2 Nephi this week and found it interesting. One of the most difficult things for people to accept in the Book of Mormon. We had two memorable contacts this week who just couldn't accept the Book of Mormon and so just couldn't accept the message. Hermana Henk and I talked to a guy, Ramon who was really cool. He knew all about the 12 tribes of Israel and all that good stuff and really understood it. I thought it was interesting when he said the Ephraim was going to gather the house of Israel. He even knew how to listen, which is actually a skill that very few people possess. He could have been so prepared, but he just couldn't accept the Book of Mormon. I wanted to leave him a copy so bad, but he just couldn't. We tried to spark his interest by telling him that it was a story of a branch of the tribe of Joseph, but nope. I really wanted him to read in 2 Nephi. Another guy, who was really prepared just couldn't accept it either. He was great, because he was very humble, stating his opinion, but also admitting that it could be wrong. We tried to leave him a copy of the book of Mormon too, but he didn't accept it. Second Nephi is really cool because of all the prophecies in it. I like how he talks a lot about the latter-days and the restoration, and (as part of that) The Book of Mormon. I especially like 2 Nephi 29:7-10. I don't know why people limit God by refusing to accept that He would write more. One of the problems (here at least) is that people don't understand the word gospel (I finally realized that last week when we were talking to Octavio). People are always quoting Galatians 1:8-9 to us, claiming the we are preaching another gospel. But we're preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ! They think that gospel means scripture. I can only assume because the New Testament titles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John "The gospels" of each respective. What a blessing to have a modern prophet to help us interpret the scriptures, because you can really see the confusion people create for themselves when they don't have that guide in their lives.

I also read in Jacob this week, which is a charming little book that I've never quite appreciated as I should have before. I especially liked chapter 4 which talks a lot about Christ. I especially enjoyed verses 7-11 (but lots of others too...just read the whole chapter!), which talk about the hope we have in Christ...through His resurrection, we too have the power of resurrection, and through his sufferings we have a hope to see God again by being reconciled through the atonement, but we have to have faith. I liked how it talked about building upon Christ as our only sure foundation at the end of the chapter. Everyone should read the Book of Mormon! It is the best!

In food news, I tried tamarindo this week, which is a fruit (well, it's something that grows on a tree) that looks like a brown pea pod and then you open it and it is a long-ish slimey-ish strip of sticky stuff. You eat the meat off the seeds and it is kind of sour, like lemon, but it is brown and soft. It was pretty cool. Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. I like trying all this new produce. Also. We go out to eat at a restaurant every week that serves criolla food (classic Puerto Rican rice, beans, and meat) by invitation of a member. I've had rice and beans at least once a week since arriving in the DR in October. Although I had it every day in the DR and nearly every day in my other area, I still love it! Until this week. I looked at it and just couldn't do it any more. I still ate it, but it is the first time I didn't think it was "very very good." I kind of just ate it because I had to. That is truly a change. We'll see how I feel next week. So, it just takes months and months of nearly every day to change preferences from "si!" to "no, thank you."

That's about it for this week. Not very exciting, I know. But I hope all is well at home and that you are all working hard on the Book of Mormon. I didn't tell you, but I would like to extend the challenge to one and all...not just Tyler.

Hermana Miller

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