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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Letter #5 CCM (1 month)

CCM District - Elder Miles & Comp. Elder McLain the far right
So this week was exactly the same as the others pretty much.  Get up early with my comp and study before breakfast everyday.  Eat basically the same tasting food every day and learn the same things.  The fruit has been getting less and less impressive.  I'm starting to see through my CCM excitement and view this place with a little more realistic perspective.  With this in mind, I don't think that I have loved this place more than I do right now! The schedule is tough, the curriculum does not make chronological sense, and the Spanish is getting pretty tough to keep up with.  We didn't learn much Spanish in our first two weeks and now we are going over 1-3 new conjugations every day.  I hope that It slows down a bit so that I can hammer some of this down into my head.  

Guatemala City Temple
I'm liking my companion quite a bit.  I think that we make a good team when it comes to teaching.  I need to say a little more during some of the lessons but other than that we are pretty much on par with each other.  He has been reading through the Book of Mormon and I have been really getting into the New Testament.  I like reading directly about the Saviors ministry sometimes.  Don't worry I study the Book of Mormon most of the day along with my Spanish.  There are so many things that I didn't realize were actually in it!! It really does have all that man needs to know about God in that one book!

going to the market
I was able to walk down to another market sort of thing today.  It was a 5 minute walk and we were only able to go to two stores.  One of them was rather large and was basically just a hardware store with some odds and ends thrown in.  I bought a thing of bleach for 7 quetzales and told my district that it was for all of us to share.  The container was super super cheap for how big it was.  Everything here in the city is really just about the same price as it is in the states.  I have heard that just about everything will cost less in Xela.  For this reason I am really only trying to buy things that I will absolutely need in my stay here.  I have no clue what kind of situation my actual mission will be.  Anything from city living to deep jungle mountains.

I talked to a guy who works at the CCM who went to Xela on his mission.  He said that it is like here only a little colder and dryer.  I am going to love the weather.  Sweater weather for a while and then it won't ever get above 80.  He also said that during the coldest nights during the winter it will get ALL the way down to 40 degrees.  Basically perfect weather to sleep in.  He said that he did not have any much issue with bed bugs and mosquitos, spiders, snakes, and the scorpions were pretty mild.  He did say that the fleas were about to become my best friend, ahha!  I have no clue what that could mean? I'll soon find out I guess.  As long as I get that machete and am able to tromp through the jungle I will be fine:)  He also said that during the dry season you can look off of the mountain and see absolutely everything.  Volcanoes mountains and lush jungle.  But the jungle shouldn't be so lush that it is much of a hinderance.  

I've been memorizing and practicing how to begin teaching, and memorizing a few scriptures.  D y C 20:37 being one of the scriptures that I need to memorize.

The kids who had been here for their full program have left this place today.  About 45 latinos and 30 gringos in all I think.  The place feels kinda empty.  I will be one of the big old kids now.  It will be weird looking like the king of the roost in this place.  Especially since I only really have learned how to survive the CCM.  I can hardly even understand and talk to the custodians when they say "como esta?" It is weird how the language just totally changes when real people are speaking it.  I don't feel scared at all about going into the field.  I guess all a "greeny" really needs is to know is how to bear testimony and use the spirit. I'm pretty sure God is quite the master when it comes to something like Spanish.   2 mas semanas en aqui.  Despues salgo y enseƱo muchos personas ahha.  

Oh hey, can you guys send me some yoga instruction and tai chi instruction in a letter or something.  I just want to really relax during deportes time.  I am pretty much sick of basketball these days haha.  

My health is not failing just yet.  I'm feeling kind of a mild grossness but I think that this is just from the food.  Oh well!

I really don't have much else to say due to the mundane nature of the CCM.  My comp got those military boots that I was looking at online.  They are pretty sick.  It is just those ones that zip down.

The night that all the missionaries left ALL of the Elders got into one room and we sang three hymns together. "Called to serve" and few others.  We ended it with a strong prayer from a Latino Elder.  That was a really good way to send off the those who were leaving this place.

There are lots of motorcycles here but I haven't seen anything over 350 cc.  The engine size and everything else about the bikes here are really small.  I probably couldn't ever ride any of these little cyclos.  

I love you guys and miss home.  I don't want to be home at all but I still miss it.  I wanna just hang out and watch some "Burn Notice" with you guys and use Roxy as my pillow as charlie lays on top of the air conditioned vents behind the couch.  In time, I won't even think about it guys! haha.

I am loving Jesus Christ and all the people here.  There is nothing more than I want to do other than just stay here.  I want to want to serve.  That is just what has been in my mind lately.

You will be in my prayers as will my investigators!!


Elder Josh Miles

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Letter #4 CCM (MTC)

This week at the CCM (MTC)

My companion and I have some new roommates.  They are true Latinos.  They speak practically no English.  This just so happens to be really good for my spanish.  I get to talk to them for about 45 minutes every night before we go to bed.  One is from Guatemala City.  Another is from El Salvador and  the third is form Costa Rica.  They are all really cool to talk to.  It has been weird finding that we all think in just about the same way and think the same things are funny even though we speak completely different languages and were brought up in different countries.  

This week I have gotten the objective and the first vision down pat in Spanish.  I have also been trying to memorize a few other scriptures.  There is not much time to just do stuff like that here.  Especially when I have to study study study.  It is pretty easy to focus here and everything is coming to me really quickly.  The first time that McLain and I taught a lesson we were allowed to do it in English.  The teachers said that we taught like good missionaries out in the field.  Now that we do all of our lessons off of memorized Spanish we have no such luck.  It is weird being limited to certain tenses and a small vocab.  It is going to be such a great time when I can just articulate everything that I want to say without even thinking in English.  My goal is to be fluent in spanish before the four month mark in the field.  I will continue to just work and work and pray and work until I have all of the language that God wants me to have.

One of the biggest things that I have learned this week is that I and supposed to feel incompetent here.  The CCM watched a video in which President Bednar explained how if we really understood that we truly represented Christ than we would be just completely overwhelmed.  That has kinda helped me to just drop some stress and be a little happier here in the CCM.  I also have been learning what it takes to really be able to teach with the spirit.  I just have to serve.  Just work and serve as hard as I possible can and the rest will come.

The food here has been tasting pretty bland lately.  I eat every meal but it is all just starting to taste the same.  It has mostly been American food as well, which has been kind of a bummer.  Today I had my best meal yet though.  We just had some beef and chicken tacos.  The good part about the meal was the salsa.  They almost never have any spicy food in this place.  I LOVE spice and so this has been kinda wierd.

I play basketball here every day and I think that I am picking it up pretty well.  I am the tallest person in the CCM out of about 150 guys so that helps quite a bit haha.  Just stand by the hoop and post up basically.  

I just got my super cool hand made burned leather scripture cases today.  I'm so psyched about them.  It has a picture of Jesus being baptized on the front and Joseph Smith reading James 1:5 on the back.  All hand drawn and burned into the leather.  I have heard that there will be more cool nic nacs over in my actual mission.  The book case is soo cool though! It feels like a spell tome or something haha.

Well I don't know what else to say so I guess I'll just bear my testimony.  Basically, I know that Jesus loves us more than ever and I've only been here for 3 three weeks.  I don't even think I could imagine how much love I will be able to feel from him within the next 2 years. I am so stoked! Christ lives and he is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  He loves us and wants us to be happy.  All we have to do is keep the commandments that we were given and we can really know our brother.

I love you fam!

Elder Josh Miles

Monday, August 4, 2014

Guatemala MTC Letter #3

August 4, 2014

It is kind of weird not really talking to any girls.  Although, I pretty much expected that.  My companion and I were exploring the CCM and accidentally went up to the girls area.  For the two seconds we were there we noticed 1- carpet 2- better lighting 3- better smells 4- couches 5- better wall paint.  The ambiance wasn't nasty man smell mixed with hospital lights hahah.  

Grandma and grandpa Miles have been really good about writing me so far.  2 for 2.  My p day switches around as other missionaries come and go.  Today is not even my pday but they gave us time to write so that we can go to the market tomorrow with out delay.  My P day is Tuesday this week and next week but I don't know how exact that will be.

So I have already found some super awesome scripture cases.  I got some that actually fit my spanish bom and biblia perfectly.  They are the classic textile that you would expect haha.  I also have some hand made hand burned leather ones coming here within the next week.  on the fron there is a picture of jesus and on the back a hand burned picture of joseph smith.  Costed my about 20 usd for both of them so no worries. 

So I have been dying to get out of this place and see the world:) We are going to the market and a tourist trap map thing in the city.  I dont know what the map thing will be like but I have heard that the market is just absolutely insane.  There is supposed to be knick-knac stands as far as the eyes can see.  I will be looking for a shirt that I very much need.  It will most likely be just a soccer jersey.  I will also be looking for a few tie clips.  Sorry Jenna,  but cant send packages from here.  I will have to wait until I get out to send something cool from xela for your birthday.

The 5 "weeker" kids in my room are now 6 "weekers" and they get to leave... Im so jealous. This place definately has its purpose but it is kinda boring.  Working hard everyday without being able to share what I learn feels kinda empty but I know I'll be able to share it soon.

There is an Elder Johnson and an Elder Macfarlan in my room.  The second one lives in our stake and I think that I have seen him before.

Today for breakfast I had platinos a bean burrito thing and some eggs.  I mango drink to top it all off.

I haven't been feeling sick at all but my stomach is definately having to adjust haha.  I just eat all the food they give me and hope for the best.

I have heard that when I get to Xela (Quetzaltenango) they will give me 4 things.  A machete, slingshot, water filter, and the bomb.  A machete for brush and snakes. The slingshot for dogs.  The bomb is a pill I will get to take when I start feeling the tape worms crawling around inside me.  I guess there isn't really a way to stop the parasites from getting into your body...  Oh well, I will still have a good time.

The weather here right now is about 75 some overcast.  Perfect humidity.  It is sooo nice out here it would be worth it to come out just to feel that.  The plants are all lush green here and there are birds of paradise in some of the pots in the building.  

The driviers here are crazy and the traffic is always pretty bad just outside of the CCM.  There is also a bar/dance club thing right outside so every once in a while the music gets pretty loud.  I heard a guy singing on a stage from a different builing close by.  He was singing nothing other that the Beatles:)  It was pretty funny hearing him struggle with the pronouciation of the word "Help".  There is absolutely no music aloud here in the CCM.  No ipods or anything.  Just singing hymns every now and again.  Sometimes I try to get songs from my paspt life stuck in my head but with all of the spanish practice I just end up trying to translate it haha.  I have really tried to work sooo hard. Yesterday, I was just puching through reading the spanish Book of Mormon out loud and I just fell asleep.  It was so weird.  I didnt ever realize my head was down until I woke up because it was time to go back to meetings after my 30 minute nap...  Happens to everyone at some point or another I suppose.

I get to go to the temple every week and it is always a really great experience.  I've seen all of the new things now. The last one that I saw was definately the best. I hear from one of the xela kids that the temple there is bigger and even nicer than this one in the city.  I'm pretty stoked.

I guess this is it for this week.  God lives.  Amen

Love, Elder Joshua Miles

Letter #2 MTC Guatemala City

July 30th, 2014

It is good to hear that you guys are coping! There isn't time to feel sad here.  All I can do is pray for myself and my familia.  Some words are already starting to just come into my head in spanish before english.  My stomach has been fine so far.  I've taken some medicine a few times but it was mostly for the headaches here:)   

I went to the temple today!!  It was super great.  It is pretty small but it has the exact same spirit and answers my questions just as always.  Did Grandpa Gilbert Anderson go the the temple and endowed? 

I'm having a good time with my companion and the other roommates.  We all joke around and tell stories at night and stuff.  My companion and I work hard together every day and he is super nice.  He is a good first companero.   

The humidity here is kinda rough at night.  The room gets kind of potent with eight guys working out and eating food that we are not used to, haha.  I did get to eat a hamburger here the other day though!  It was soooo good.  I haven't even been out here long but every day feels like ten when all you do is study.

So every day we have to teach a fake investigator in spanish and that is pretty hard to do sometimes.  Im trying to learn spanish as fast as I can and I just go through preach my gospel every day for as long as I can and write down every scripture in it.  There is basically no time to learn anything here other than what is being said in class.  It is hard but I guess it is the Lord's school.  In my first investigation my companero and I just kinda jumped back on the english train in order to teach by the spirit.  There is definately some extra power for the missionaries who work hard.  My moto these days is diligencia, diligencia, diligencia.  It really helps me to stay focussed and push into the work and find answers for those who I get to teach.  The more lessons I teach the more that I try to teach them in spanish.  It just gets harder and harder but I feel like I'm learning really fast.  Dad, almost all of the 12 kids in my district have written down the 55 essential verbs from the 501 verbs book.  It is super awesome.   

Jonny thanks for writing your note to me man.  It really got me to push into the work knowing how much I love you and I will work so that the whole family can have blessings.  I also work so that the house can have some of my spirit still in it.  Jonny you will not be lacking me at home for the next two years man.  Just do all the things mom and dad tell you and remember that one day you will be a missionary like your two older brothers.  How are you doing with that RHCP song man..  How is the laptop doing..  I'm gald that you got to go stay with the Taylor's in Monroe. 

Jenna I read your note and the encouragement was much appreciated.  I love you too sis.  You are going to have such a great year at school!.  I'm just going to remind you that you need to get your patriarchal blessing.  I can't stress it enough.  

Love you guys!!

Elder Joshua Miles

Just arrived Guatemala City!! Letter #1

July 23, 2014

Hey Family!!  It was a pretty rough flight over here, but I made it and I'm happy! I am companions with Elder McLain! Weird how things like that turn out. I gotta tell you that I'm getting pretty tired of speaking English already.  I just want to forget it.  I want to know Spanish really badly!

The temple is right across the street from the MTC.  It is a really cool looking one and I'll be able to go through it every p- day.  My p-day will most likely be on a Tuesday.
The weather is absolutely perfect out here right now.  It hasn't rained yet and I'm actually loving the humidity. I don't think that my companion is loving it as he has said, "Everything just feels wet,"

I'm dorming  with 8 elders in my room.  We are all from the U.S.  I don't know any of the names other than my companion so i'll get you their names later.

I was promised that I would be fluent in Spanish within 4 months so that is really cool.

I have been eating a lot of fresh fruit in my meals.  I WILL get sick from it but I can't say that I care just yet.  It just tastes so dang good haha.  Fresh dragon fruit!

The bathroom facility has been super clean so far.  There are individual stalls for showers and everything.  I'm trying to figure out what else to say...

The mission leaders are super cool!  They are the Cox couple so that is cool.  They are just really nice and spiritually powerful.

I would say that I miss you guys but I don't even feel like I am gone yet.  DON'T lose sleep over me being gone.  I am happy being here so far.  People have been so nice and I have been loving the food. I love you guys still and hope that you get over me being gone quick so that you can start feeling the blessings from me being out here.

Hey Dad my feet hang off the bed just like yours did on your mission.  I like it, haha.  It gets hot so it keeps my feet cool.

Well, I only was given about 5 minutes so I just sped through all of this stuff.

Love you all!! 

Elders going to the MTC in Guatemala City.
P.S.  They took the camera so that the help in the building would not be able to steal it.  So you won't be getting pictures for a little while.

See you in TWO!!