Happy Thanksgiving (Alma 34:38)
Hope all of you, wherever you are, are having a wonderful Thanksgiving! I love this time of year, and I hope you don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season to forget the many blessings God has given you this past year! This week in Hoover went well, no true complaints as far as missionary work-it’s never too hard! We finished up our round of Zone Conferences in the Tupelo and Madison/Huntsville Zones and were ready to get back to work after not being home for a couple days! It was interesting to be able to tell the difference in Spirit as we went to each of the zones, some were stronger than others, and it was interesting how obvious it was. But anyway, overall it was great!
So, Anita came to Stake Conference and just went out of town for a week. Hopefully she took the Book of Mormon with her and is reading it on her trip. Brenda is struggling. Her daughter wasn’t doing too good health wise and was fighting a pain pill addiction and it’s been rough on Brenda the past week. Things just don’t work out for her I swear. It’s so hard to watch people who are so ready to accept the gospel just get pushed and pushed by the trials the adversary throws at them to force them away from the gospel.
Deshia is a lady we’ve been teaching as well who we had an appointment with last week and I was kinda rude, at least I think I was. We were on exchanges so I was with another Elder and with Brother Huff our Ward Mission Leader. We started the Restoration lesson and we were going great as far as teaching the content but I could tell she was just all over the place as far as her thoughts. So, I paused after the Apostasy and asked her from everything we’ve taught what she understood. When she was unable to repeat back anything we taught her I told her, “Well, we really want you and need you to understand this. So, is there another time we could come back that would be better?” And after that comment it got a little quiet. I felt kinda bad, but then as we continued into Joseph Smith’s story and the Book of Mormon a miraculous thing happened-she was engaged! As rude as it might have seemed, it worked and thank the Lord I had charity for Denisha because if I didn’t we would’ve been out of there so fast.
We also went to see Shaquele on the exchange and she has been in contact with missionaries since around June this past summer. She had only been taught and introduced to the Book of Mormon but some things happened and her life went all over the place. Fortunately she’s got most of it all ironed out and is “ready to listen” now (in her own words). We read the introduction of the book with her and promised her the blessings of coming to know it’s true and then put her on date for Dec. 23! That was a cool experience and lately I’ve gained a testimony of just asking people to be baptized all of the time. It’s my focus for this transfer and it’s worked well so far. The least it does is establish our purpose! Sorry, tangent.
We also found this older lady this past week, Jannette. When we were walking up I asked if we could come keep her company and she said, “Well I’m not going to be a Mormon!” Then we sat and talked to her about life and such for the next 20 minutes. Love when people say that stuff. Timothy is another cool guy we found tracting who we are going to see tonight! He seemed pretty interested and the best part is he isn’t tied down to a church! Karrie is in the same situation, we found her too! We also have been talking to a cool lady named Brandy whom I will mention later; she’s pretty genuinely interested though! Ummm….Jeremy and Beonca are some people we’ve been talking to but this past week we kinda re-established expectations and so we’ll see where that goes!
- We found a couple people sleeping in their cars this week-President and Elder Morrison.
- Something sorta spiritual: How many crystals are in the Boise Temple Celestial Room chandelier? 9,999. Why not just 10,000? Because Christ is the One.
- After the Tupelo Zone Conference Elder Ratigan was going to ask President a question but President was walking into the bathroom. So, instinctively Elder Ratigan said, “Oh, sorry President, gotta take a leak?” We died.
- I got a phone call from the Wish foundation but I had to reject the call because we were talking to someone. So, I called back and started talking to this lady who was kinda rude. She was telling me who she was and then asked if I was some guy. When I told her she had the wrong number she snapped back, “No actually I don’t.” Then I went missionary on her and said, “Well, you do. But, this is Elder Milius a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!” “Oh…” Then she asked how many wives I had, she asked if we believed in Jesus Christ not this Joseph Smith guy, and said something along the lines of “You’re a Mormon in Alabama? Usually we’re all Baptist.” All of that was in the middle of her asking me for money. It was a funny phone call.
- Brandy...this lady. We knocked on a door and she comes out acting really quiet and tells us to come back another time because she has a story of her brother talking to missionaries. So, we go back and she tells us that her brother once answered the door (purposefully) in a wedding dress, combat boots, a pony tail, lipstick smeared on his face, and a bullwhip to “scare away” the Elders. But because we get more awkward things those missionaries stuck it out and ended up helping her brother a lot through some hard times! So, she’s open to hear what we have to say! :)
- We were store contacting in the mall and I asked this lady if she would mind me talking to her and she said, “Yes.” “So you don’t want me to talk to you?” “No, sorry.” “Ouch...you sure?” “Yeah, go away please.”
- We tracted a street and a lady answered and said, “Oh you’re back?” Apparently the JWs had tracted there that morning.
- Another young lady opened the door and said, “Nope, haha, nope.” and shut the door.
- One guy answered and we said, “Hey how’s it going?” He said “Hey bud,” and closed the door on us.
- We ran across an entire apartment complex in the rain because we got stuck across the way and a storm hit. Typical AL.
- An older guy answered a door about 5 minutes after we’d knocked but we had stayed in the same building. His wife had nothing to do with us but he invited us in. (This was also after Elder Lewis said that we would get in the next door that opens). He was not interested but appreciative and to add to the story he was sitting in a wheelchair with nothing on but a diaper. He and his wife were cute though, so it’s okay.
- Beonca was seductively eating a popsicle in front of us when we were talking to Jeremy and showing him the “Ask of God” video.
It was a good week this week and I have a lot to be thankful for! We also were invited to watch the Face2Face broadcast last night and one of my biggest take-aways talked about the balance between inspiration and agency. I thought that was an interesting principle to apply to everything that we do. Just like Oliver Cowdery in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord has given us all Agency and expects us to use that agency and then receive the inspiration of confirmation. But, the Lord isn’t going to tell us everything as far as decisions-even the big choices we must make about marriage, family, school, career, etc. I’m thankful for my family and for all that they’ve given me. I’m thankful for my mission and for the many lessons and trials I’ve gone through over the time I’ve spent in Alabama. Most importantly I’m grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only reason everything I’ve done, I am doing, and I will do will be possible. God bless you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
ELDER MICHAEL S. MILIUS
ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM MISSION
"Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life." ~3 Nephi 5:13
Elder Snow and Elder Milius