Monday, November 30, 2015

Into the Field! 11/10 - 11/23/15

I've officially made it to Irvine California! Leaving the MTC was a bittersweet experience but being  out in the field for almost two weeks now has been absolutely the best! 

Bright and early at 2:30 in the morning we got up to leave the MTC and rolled into Irvine around lunch on Nov. 10th. After a ton of meetings we had our first transfer meeting where we got our first companion! My companions name is Elder Everett! He is a convert to the church as well and has been out on his mission now for just over 6 months. He is really an amazing person and has been such a great trainer for me! 

These past 2 weeks have been insanely busy! Missionary life/work is the best though! My companion and I were whitewashed into an area (meaning neither of us had been in the area before), and the area had also been closed for 12 weeks. So its been really interesting because at first neither my companion or I knew much about the area  or any of the members here...and on top of that they did not give us a GPS! But its actually been a ton of fun figuring everything out and it has helped me learn how important it is to rely on the spirit when planning out your day and when going from place to place! So in a way, no gps has been sort of a blessing....kinda haha. 

The area we are assigned to is Dana Point. We live just 2 miles from the beach! We cant go out onto the beach because of mission rules but we have in the morning for our workouts ran to the beach and back! The people in the area are very nice and the members are super helpful! 

One thing I've noticed is that there is always so much to learn. One of my favorite hours of the day is 8am-9, the hour we have personal study. It's such an important part of the day for me. Each day that I have had a good focused study for myself and the people I will be meeting that day, I have felt a greater confidence in myself and I have had plenty of times where the spirit has brought back to my remembrance small things that I didnt even think would have an effect in my day! 

Last Saturday my companion and I had an interesting experience. We ran into a few sour faces while out contacting. As they came to the door they just started going off on us. Screaming all these different kinds of profanities at us we just stood there till they finished, answered their questions the best we could, offered to help in any way possible and left. It wasnt the first time someone had gotten mad at us, but this one hit us in a little different way. As we walked away my companion turned to me and said "She must have been having a bad day...I'm glad we could be there for her to blow some steam off. Better us than someone else. We can handle it." And we could handle it. It was a nice lesson for me. Christ suffered so much because he could handle it all. My companion and I could never know completely what Christ felt; but at that moment we felt a little closer to Christ, and I was reminded of a verse 2 Peter 2:21 "For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.." 
I'm grateful for my mission and the opportunity I have to be a representative of Jesus Christ every day. I have a knowledge that this church is Jesus Christ's true church on the earth and that the Book of Mormon is divine proof of that knowledge... everyone can know it is true for themselves by simply reading and praying with a sincere heart to know the truth of it! That is the message I go  out and share every day!

Stay posted next week to hear about our stellar investigators we just started teaching! Moe, Jefferey, Willy, and the Rosie family! We met them last week and they are all so excited to learn more about the church and work towards baptism! Cliff hanger I know right....wish us luck! Keep them in your prayers!

Elder Matthew Mills

Friday, November 6, 2015

That MTC/Zone leader Experience!

I've survived my first full week as a missionary! 

The MTC (missionary training center) is so amazing. The first few days are like drinking out of a fire hose....instead of drinking it all, most of it just splashes on your face! There is so much to learn and so many new faces. The first is my companion, his name is Elder Luisa Reynon, and he's from Hawaii. We get along really well! Its hard at first to be with someone 24/7 but now its kind of nice to always have someone to talk and learn with. So in the mtc, there are districts you are put in (which consists of people you are in class with every day), and those districts are put into zones. Theres 7 of us in our district and 3 districts in our zone, so 18 of us.

The first day we were thrown right into teaching! It was an amazing and eye opening experience. I have written in my journal from that day: "Trust your feeling! Let go of fear!" I've found those those two things are so helpful when trying to talk and to teach people. And it goes perfect with what I wrote in my journal yesterday: "Talk to everyone!" That practice of talking and continually trying to stretch out of my comfort zone has been a ton of fun! 

My companion and I have 3 investigators right now we are teaching. Hailey, Tayla, and Carla. Carla is someone my teacher taught on her mission and she is role playing as her. At first I thought it would be kind of weird but we have grown really attached to "Carla" haha, we teach her every day. The other two are possibly real investigators. Either way, it is such a cool experience teaching and loving these people! Member of the church or not, everyone can always come closer to Christ! 

One thing I have really learned is how important it is to love everyone just as the Savior loves us. It was hard at first because sometimes people are just hard to love. I'm sure I'm hard to love at times too haha! But I've really learned that as you pray and ask for that capacity to really love others like Christ loves us, that that capacity of yours will be stretched and it will grow! It's so amazing to see the atonement work in my own life and I love sharing it with others! 

The first Thursday in the MTC I was called to be Zone Leader over our zone! I was really humbled as it set in how I need to be an example and help lead my fellow missionaries. It is such a cool feeling to feel the love I have for each and every missionary in our zone. As I was thinking of how I can be a good leader, when I myself am so new into the mission and not even in the mission field yet, one scripture has really come to mind and has helped me as I learn in this calling... In 3 Nephi 18:24 Jesus Christ is talking to the Nephite/Lamanites and he says:  "Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up." This verse is at the exit to our residence hall on a frame that has a picture of Christ right next to a mirror. Each time I leave for the day I stop at that and look into the mirror and ask myself the questions, "What will others see in me today? Will they see the light of Jesus Christ in me? Will they see that without me even saying a word?" Those questions have really helped me every day and are a constant reminder that people are always watching!

Well, I am so excited to head to the mission field in Irvine California! I leave next Tuesday at 4am.......should be an interesting day haha I'm stoked! I am really excited to get there but at the same time I feel like I still have so much I can learn from the MTC experience. But one things for sure, I'll never stop having new things to learn and to improve on...even 2 years from now!

Until next time!
-Elder Mills"