People of the Lord,
Well, I’m no longer in Tupelo. Kind of sad I was only able to stay for six weeks, but Smithville isn’t too far! It is a lot different though, a lot smaller. This unit has some history let me tell you. I am also sad to have left Elder Stanford but Elder Nielsen is awesome and it will be a piece of cake training him. He’s going to kill it and we’re excited to get to work helping people come back to church!
So, without further ado, Elder Nielsen. He is older than me, but we graduated the same year. He played baseball at BYU for a year and then decided to come serve a mission for similar reasons I did. He played shortstop, second base, and third. His team is the Washington Nationals because he is from Vienna, Virginia. If any of you visit D.C. just let me know and he’ll make sure that his family can take care of you. He is a stud muffin.
Smithville, Mississippi, is a great place. Not longer than a year ago they used to be a part of the Tupelo Ward, but President Pettus decided he wanted to start a group here. So, the members here were looking for a place to meet. They finally found a funeral home to rent out on Sundays, but that fell through because there were people who threatened to take their business somewhere else if they rented to the Mormons. Then, one of the members found a plot of land (five acres) for cheap and he bought it with the intentions of putting a building on it. They then had another Priesthood stake meeting to show the plans for a building they were going to buiding which costed around 200,000. One man volunteered to invest in it, with the idea of getting it all back once the branch got big enough and the church bought the building. However, his lease agreement was something that the church wasn’t going to pay for so he bailed. Then, the man who initially bought the land called the stake President and said he would build the building. So….the Smithville branch building and the land it is on is owned by one of the members and the Church is leasing it from him. While they were waiting for the building to be built however they we able to meet on Sundays at the High School in Smithville; then, after that lease was up with the HS they had to go back to the Tupelo Ward for a little bit because the building still wasn’t complete. Now, we have a building and that’s the story of the Smithville Branch. Crazy stuff, and we learn more and more every time we go to a member’s home we learn something new. I love it here!
Some of the people that we are working with are Dorris, Angela, and Raven and Harley! Dorris is on date now for the 14th of October! She is super spiritual and has the biggest desire to be baptized. There are going to be some interesting logisticals with getting her baptized because of her health and physical condition but hopefully all goes well! Angela has been taught forever...and she is kinda close to getting baptized. Not really progressing but kinda, it’s a weird situation. Raven and Harley are the grandkids of a member and they come to church with her somewhat consistently. We haven’t met Raven but they were at the top of our list when we got into the area. We are also going to try and start working with a lot of the Less-Active members in getting back to church. So that’s our main focus, at least as far as we see right now!
We do have some appointments with some other people, investigators and such. One experience was really awesome last Saturday night! We were going into McDonald’s to put the Gospel Library back on Dorris’ Kindle and when we were walking in there was a lady next to the entrance. I asked her how her days was going and she said, “Not too good, but I’ll live.” So, naturally I went over to try and talk with her. Eventually we started to share a little of a message with her and she began to cry and really opened up to us about all this junk that was happening to her in her life. We gave her a Book of Mormon and are looking forward to meeting with her again tonight! Also, somewhat of a small miracle, but since being here we haven’t really been rejected hard at all. I told Elder Nielsen that he’s gotten it easy the past week or so because every door we knock on the people are genuine and nice and it’s really cool. Blessings of white-washing!
My last couple days in Tupelo were good though, being able to go around and see some members and talk to some of the investigators I learned to care about so much was nice! That is a great area and I’m looking forward to watching all the progress made there! I was able to go back to Tupelo on Saturday for AJ’s baptism! I’m so proud of that guy, more than anyone! He’s awesome and he’ll continue to progress in the church!
Not too many funny stories this week….my companion and I are dying to play catch together. I’m back in 12 Week Training which is fun. Oh, and we live in a house so that’s pretty cool! If y’all need anything let me know! Thanks for your love and support!
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 Stanford and AJ
Elder Nielsen and Elder Milius