Dear Family,

You know that lots of people think we're nuns...but not every one asks us if we are. This week we were in a summer camp and a 7 or 8 year old girl asked us if we were nuns. You can always depend on kids to tell you what every body else is thinking... :). It was just funny to me, because we always joke that we're like nuns, but one of the first times we've been asked. Speaking of the summer camp, the branch president's wife is in charge of this summer camp at a local university. She asked us to come and teach the kids how to play piano. We agreed. When we got there, it ended up she just wanted us to play the piano while the kids sang a song they've been working on..."Madrecita de mi amor." It is a song from the children's songbook in Spanish where the lyrics are (roughly translated) "Dear mother of my love, seeing your sweet face, makes me feel so happy that I love you more and more." It was funny to hear all these kids (non-members) singing a primary song. It was cute. I guess we're doing one for the fathers next week.

Random side-note. Usually when we walk through the Pueblo, we see people that we know and say "Hi." It is a small town, so we know the postman, the lady who runs the restaurant, the policeman, (sadly) the town drunk, the owners of the stores and some random people who are just always there. For example, Hector. He is just a random guy who is in town all day. We always see him and say Hi. I think we've invited him like, 20 times now to learn more about our message. When we walk through town, sometimes I hear the song from Sesame Street running through my head, "The People in your Neighborhood," you know, where they talk about people in the neighborhood like the postman and the cable guy and the milk man. I am now wondering why they never had missionaries as one of those people in your neighborhood. We're always there! One day we were walking through a parking lot and a kid says to his mom, "Hey, look! It's the people who are always knocking on our door!" It is like the church doctor in charge of the Caribbean area told us, "There are three things that you'll find no matter where you go in this world: Pepsi, Marlboro cigarettes, and two Mormon Missionaries." It is true, and I feel like we merit a spot in "the People in Your Neighborhood" song.

English Class this week was cool. Carlos came, which is cool, because he hasn't been around for the last couple weeks. We had planned to talk a little bit about future tense, but there were some questions. Let me explain. Before we start, we always have a little part I like to call "Introductions," which is where we have a question on the board that the class members have to answer. For example, "Tell me about your family," or "Why do you want to learn English?". You know; something "conversational." This week it was "Tell me about your favorite book". We had finished talking about it and we were about to start future tense when Moncho (which is a nickname for Ramón...I know. I don't understand it either.), who had lived in the states for a while and knows a good amount of English said, "Well, yeah, book is like what you can read, but I also saw the police use it in a movie once." It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about, and initially thought he meant "to book" as in a flight or a reservation. I started to explain that, and said that it is like making a reservation, but finally realized he was referring to the expression "Book him!". So, I had to explain that to Carlos, who is very interested in the complex expressions that aren't in the dictionary. And then Moncho was like, "Oh, but this word 'make' is interesting too because it means a ton of stuff. Like, 'make up' means to reconcile." I explained that one to Carlos, and then Carlos was like, "Well, can you say this too?" And he writes 'make off' on the board. Initially I said no, but then remembered that you can use it. I explained it as like to escape. I was worried he was just going to keep adding prepositions to the word make, and was worried we'd eventually get to 'make out'...and didn't know how to explain that one. Haha. I can understand why they were interested in the idioms, because it is something that is hard to learn from any source other than a native speaker. It was interesting to realize all the strange things that we say. Because literal translations make no sense. Also realized this week that the whole subject/verb agreement thing is kind of complicated.

As I said last week, Carlos just kind of disappeared for a while, but he is back. We were able to teach him twice this week. We finished lesson 3 with him, which is The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Fe, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End), and we're going to talk to him some more about the restoration next week. He is really cool and really likes the Book of Mormon (I don't remember if I told you, but he was totally sharing scriptures from the Book of Mormon the other week in Sunday School), but we're thinking he is not sure about Joseph Smith. So, we're going to go back and try to help him understand his role in the restoration better.

You may have noticed that I don't talk so much about investigators any more. It's not because I don't love them, it's just because we don't have any! Well, false. We have investigators, but they just aren't as promising (read: interested) as our investigators over in Bayamón were. It is weird how people can be from the same country, but so completely different in another area. I will tell you about two of our investigators and one of our exciting contacts this week.

1. Carmen. Carmen is a Baptist who lives in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain. She is really cool because she has a testimony of the gospel...the gospel that her church teaches. Even though it is not the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I can really respect her that she has a testimony of the gospel and lives it too. She let us share with her, but she said that just because we can share with her "doesn't imply I am going to change my beliefs." Usually people like this (who say, " Yeah...I like to listen to 'the word'.") we just share something once and that's it. But, we felt something different with her. She read in the Book of Mormon but said she didn't pray to see if it's true because she doesn't have faith that it is...which is also respectable. When we're in the area next time (I don't know when that'll be...seeing as she lives on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere...), we'll stop by and see how she's doing. She is pretty cool, and may one day accept the gospel. She understands basic principles like faith and what a Savior means and why we need one.

2. Luis and María. Luis and Maria are Catholics who live in the Pueblo. We toced into them the other day. Luis is a very happy fellow who is just kind of bubbly and excited and loving (think Bert's (?) uncle who "loves to laugh" on Mary Poppins.). He says that he loves the missionaries and then said a classic line that we hear all the time "The 'muchachos' used to pass by all the time, but then just stopped coming for some reason. I don't know why...." Haha. We know why! We asked them if they had ever attended church and they said no because they have to go to church in the morning (their church), and then they spend the rest of the day with their family. We weren't going to set a cita, but he insisted, so we did. We came back without much expectation, but we soon found out why the muchachos always visited them; because they're cool! They are prepared, but they (Luis and Maria themselves) just don't know it...and that is why the Elders stopped visiting. They know that the bible is incomplete. They know the Catholic church isn't perfect, and they understand what the restoration is. They even believe that God would give new scripture and that the Book of Mormon is true. Their main problem is that they don't believe God would call another prophet. They believe we can receive personal revelation, but that according to the Book of Revelation God will not call another Prophet to receive revelation for the world until Christ's second coming, or something. They are really cool because they understand the message on an intellectual level, which is actually quite difficult for the average person (Maria has actually studied theology and knows some doctrine that others don't. She knows that the church "conveniently" left some doctrine out of the Bible and believes in some things that the church doesn't the spirit world, for this very reason). They just don't completely understand authority, I think, nor the relationship between Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. One really cool thing about our lesson with them was that at the end, we requested if we could have a prayer and their 20-something daughter kind of jumps out of her chair and says "Claro!" which means, "of course!" She was very excited to pray and that was a very refreshing sight, because in some houses we visit it is like we are always trying to cajole family members to pray. I want my children to love to pray, and I liked seeing that she was so excited to do so. As we walked out the door, Luis calls after us, "Take care, chicas!" Haha. Cracked me up. We'll see how it goes with them.

3. Octavio. Octavio doesn't attend any church, but he was very contrary to our message. His mother is the one who let us in to share a little something one day while we were knocking doors on a mountain. For me, this experience was the epitome of popular ignorance. He was vehemently against our message, and refused to accept what we were saying. He knew enough to sound informed, but too little to actually be considered intelligent. Ignorance is one of things that is most annoying to me lately. We talked about using the Book of Mormon to resolve doubts in a district meeting with the Mission President this week, so Hermana Reyes read him Helaman 5:12 and after talking for a bit, he actually said, "Well, it (the Bible) contains the fundamentals." We asked him if he wanted the fundamentals or the fullness. That tripped him up a bit. It was interesting how sharing a verse from the Book of Mormon had such power in a situation like that. But really. He didn't know what he was talking about. He kept saying "John Smith" (we get that all the time...) and at one point, when he was going to tell us what he knew about the Book of Mormon, he said "Well, I don't know much, because it really doesn't interest me...but I do know..." Argh. Annoying. My favorite little piece of information he shared with us was "Nine out of every 10 religions is false." When he said that, I was just like... ... ... "Wait a second. Think about what you just said and then tell me if it makes sense." And I thought about sharing with him Adrienne's statistic, (that is that 83% of statistics are made up).... But I contained myself and when it was time to go said, "Well Octavio, You yourself just told us that you haven't read much and don't know much. We are here to invite you to read more and understand these things better, and when you're ready to learn more, we'll come back and help you." Mostly just underlining the fact that he had no idea what he was talking about. It was an unfortunate encounter, but part of the mission experience. I just re-read that paragraph, and it sounds like there was a lot of contention there, but it was mostly just on his side. We were very calm and it wasn't ugly like it gets sometimes.

We've had an interesting week, but a good week. We ate fresh mango this week (I love mango!); $1 for a bag of 8 - 10 from a guy selling them on the side of the road. Sounds sketchy, I know. But that is totally normal here. :)

Love you all!
Hermana Miller

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