Wednesday, April 25, 2018

25 April 2018 - Elder Milius Week 95

What a wonderful week.
       Transfers bring a time of changes and what an opportunity we have to change! First of all, I'd like to apologize for late emails-today we are going to the temple so this is our P-Day. It should be back to Monday next week. But, the news y'all have been waiting for... I'm in Weatherly!! It's a great ward just outside of Huntsville, AL. I am serving with Elder Holm and I will talk a little bit more about him in a minute. Lots of amazing things happening in the mission though and I'm excited to be a part of it all.
       Elder Holm is an awesome missionary from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has a great sense of humor and is ready to learn. I look up to his coachability (if that's even a word). He loves basketball and all sports really and wants to go into sports casting as a career. He is always looking out for the Lord's hand and is quick to blame good things on Heavenly Father. Elder Holm served in the Montana Billings Mission for a couple transfers before coming to the Great ABM and served with a good friend of mine up there, Elder Phillip Bredsgard. Small world, especially in the church.
       Now, into the activities of the past week and a half or so. We picked up the new missionaries last Monday evening and helped them out that evening. We played a game of sotra-jeopardy that Elder Canty put together and it worked out great! We got to talk a little about culture and what this mission does and what we are trying to become. Transfer Meeting was the next day and that's always an adventure. It adds to it all when you don't have a car area and have to figure out how to get two peoples stuff up to Huntsville. We worked it out though and Elder Holm and I were on our way. By the way, Elder Nielsen is training this transfer as well so I have a "grandson" in the mission! Wahoo!
       Throughout this past week we have been meeting all of the investigators that we have and I'll tell you a little about them:
Mike and Mary are an older couple and the missionaries tracted into them, I think. Mike said that before they came over and before the Book of Mormon he was a "wretch." But now he feels like he his getting on the right path. Mary has some heath struggles, but both are very kind and open. They are both studying out of the Book of Mormon and now the trick is trying to help them realize that they are ready for Baptism.
Matt is a guy we haven't met yet but he has the desire to be baptized as far as he's texted us so we look forward to finally getting to meet with him. Along with Matt, we met Anthony who is in the same boat-and I will share more about Anthony a little later. Just kidding I'll just say that the other Elders were having a hard time contacting him. We went by last night and met him and asked if he still had a desire to be baptized. He said yeah and so we are going to help him reach his goal!
Rose is a lady we met our first evening in Weatherly and we got to teach her the Restoration a couple days ago. She loved it and committed to read the Book of Mormon. We are looking forward to teaching her more often.
Jennifer and Miguel are the definition of "selfless service softens stoney souls." Their only downfall is they haven't really done anything as far as keeping commitments but we will see what we can do.
Tim and Laurie with their daughter Syann are similar to Miguel and Jennifer. They are great people and let us come in and talk but as far as doing things and understanding to severity of the Restoration they are slacking. We'll see how that goes though.
The Shellmans are another awesome part member family that we are working with. They love music and art and we are working on the church. We'll be keeping up in them though.
We have met several other new people, but then again everyone we meet is new. So I will just talk about them as they progress. We've also met several members, unfortunately however this past Sunday was Stake Conference so not the best Sunday to meet people. But, many members have honked and pulled over next to us as we've been walking. Great people, great area, great ward, great companion, great mission.

Some stories from this week:
  • When we were driving back from Transfers we passed a Church's Chicken as they were wheeling a guy out on a gurney. There were also a ton of Police there and Elder Townsend said to Elder Holm, "Welcome to AL where people kill for their chicken."
  • We saw a guy named Chad on our way back up from transfers at the gas station that I had met previously. It'd be funny if you knew Chad.
  • When we met Rose she gave us knuckles when we ended our conversation and said, "Y'all are cool with Jesus!"
  • Elder Townsend and I told them story of John Turner to Elder Holm and Sebastian on the drive up.
  • One day as we were walking there was a guy who picked us up in his jeep and drove us across town where we needed to go.
  • At the Cox home for dinner their young daughter who is almost two, I think, gave me hugs before we left. It was precious and I almost cried. It made my day!
  • Elder Holm wore his suit pants over his shorts on accident one day. "No wonder my pants felt so weird!"
  • One day we played a lot of riddles and Elder Holm was frustrated. But, he learned how to paint the moon.
  • We walked 105,049 steps in four days. Elder Holm said on Friday night that he wanted to get back to the apartment and die.
  • There were probably a lot of others but it's been a crazy week so I'll let the Spirit help me remember all of what happened.

       This past Sunday we had Stake Conference and there was a lot of talk about Ministering. Something that the Stake President said that hit me was, "Ministering is simply developing friendships." President Sainsbury also mentioned the motivation now behind our ministering efforts. He compared it to how the church used to keep track and record temple attendance. Now, that doesn't happen and we visit the temple because we love the Lord. Likewise, we will now minister to others because we love the Lord and because we love them. While spending time in the temple today my testimony has been strengthened about why we do what we do as members of the church. All things that we learn and do in this life is for our progression to become like our Heavenly Father. With the Plan of Salvation as evidence, He is the perfect minister, teacher, God, and Father. He loves us, and devotes all his time and effort to helping us grow.

I love y'all! Hope you have a blessed week!

Much Love,
Elder Milius

"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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

16 April 2018 - Elder Milius Week 94

No time!

Well transfers are this week! And... I am leaving Hoover!!! Kinda bummed but at the same time excited to where the Lord needs me next. It will be a great place without a doubt! We’re staying super busy today in getting everything worked out for transfers tomorrow. This past week was interesting, a little bit unconventional and not really typical but we made it work. Last Monday we had to turn in our car to get it fixed so we've been on bikes all week and that's been fun...lots of hills that I didn't realize before.
I'll give you a couple quick updates on people. Theresa and her boys, Jabori and Javon, are doing well. They are still progressing and Theresa is working to free up her schedule still which is proving to be a bigger stumbling block than we imagined. Hopefully within the next little while she will open up to allowing her boys to get baptized. We taught them a little more about revelation this week and how to receive personal revelation so that should help their conversion. Landyn and Lydia are better than ever. They are just the most accepting people I've ever taught and I'm sure they will eventually get baptized. There are a couple obstacles so they won't get baptized on the 28th but they will soon, I can tell. Their comprehension is perfect and they are just so ready to learn. Last night we had a lesson and talked about the changes that they've already begun to see in their lives as we have met and it's amazing. The Lord knows which of his children are prepared!
We met a couple other new people who we've had lessons with. Jake is one guy who let us come in and share the Restoration. He was interested in the Book of Mormon but once we started explaining Priesthood he told us that "[He] just wanted to take the opportunity to tell [us] that he wouldn't be changing churches or religions." We were pretty blunt in testifying that this was the whole truth and that he wouldn't be able to find it anywhere else. Then we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and we left. It's really interesting that just as the Spirit starts to work on someone they immediately kinda shut it out by saying things like that to tell their natural man that they care more about it that about their spiritual salvation. We also met a guy named Joseph Smith-imagine that! He was a cool kid so hopefully we'll get to visit with him again. This lady named Lena was awesome too! She's been here for about 7 months and we were the first to invite her to a church so that alone made her super interested. The best part is that she responds to messages. We finally got in to teach a guy named Demetrius who I met like 6 weeks ago, at least. (Time just runs together now). He believe that if all we shared was true it would change his life, however he wants his fiance to be on board as well so hopefully she doesn't disagree with meeting with us. Finally, Jewel is a referral we received not too long ago. She's been reading out of the Book of Mormon and won't progress to baptism because she moves back to Jamaica in like 2-3 months but we are hoping to teach her to the point of investigating back home.
All is going well with everything else. I don't really know why I'm updating you on all sorts of stuff because next week it will be something totally different! We did go on a couple exchanges this week and obviously we have stories from being on bikes...

  • Elder Tausinga and I contacted all these kids and told them to give pass-along cards to their parents.
  • When Elder Harman and I were together we were teaching this guy and the manager of the apartment complex came up to "talk" to us. I recited the First Vision and Elder Harman talked to the guy and we got kicked out.
  • Elder Stanger rode his bike for the first time on his mission this past week.
  • Elder Canty called us one night as he was riding back down the highway to our apartment because he lost Elder Stanger and didn't know what to do.
  • The amount of ice cream I ate this week was ridiculous.
  • We went to the Barkers for dinner and sang a song for our spiritual thought. Afterwards Sister Barker says, "David Archuleta has got nothing on you two!"
  • Brother Asay won a bet for a quarter about Lydia's age and so as we were walking out of Ward Council we gave him his winnings and everyone else was really confused.
  • We biked to the mission home: #firstinhistoryprobably
  • We got dropped off at an appointment without a ride home one night when we were in Pelham. Luckily we got bailed out and didn't have to walk 10 miles home in the rain haha!
  • Brother Wells forgot us on Sunday morning.
  • I had a weird dream that someone was bearing their testimony of the Prophet. It was great, but the weird part came when instead of saying "Russell M. Nelson" they said "Nick Sabin." I was confused but everyone else in the dream acted normal so that happened. RTR.

It was another good week that I'll never forget. We had the opportunity to attend the Follow-up Training Meeting this past Friday and there were only three companionship there. My favorite part about that meeting is talking about the Atonement of Christ and especially how it applies to Missionary work. It's amazing to me all the things that the Lord had to go through for us, and this time around it inspired me to work to make sacrifices for others and their progress and conversion on the gospel. I was also called up randomly to give my testimony is Sacrament Meeting on Sunday because a speaker wasn't there and I have thought a lot about Mosiah 3 this week. As King Benjamin describes the Atonement and life of the Savior in a sermon like perhaps no other in scripture he ends it with this verse: "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." All of us know our natural man, some more than others. But, the Atonement was made so that we could put off that natural man and becometh like a child. After all, "And little children also have eternal life" (Mosiah 15:25).

Hope y'all have a great week, love you!

Much Love,
Elder Milius

"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

9 April 2018 - Elder Milius Week 93

Just take a lap!

What a week y'all, I mean wow. I didn't think spiritual nourishment could get better than General Conference but I was wrong. This week was amazing with all sorts of miracles in finding new people to teach with the company of Elder Klebingat of the Seventy visiting our mission and giving us a little motivational Zone Conference!
It all started in Monday though when we went tracting with President. In the technology training we had talked a lot about setting goals and making plans, even small ones. So on Monday night when we were tracting we had a goal to get into one home and teach a lesson. Just a few doors after vocalizing that goal a guy named Vipin let us in. He isn't super religious but he was interested in what we had to share. We taught the Restoration with President and committed him to baptism. After we were leaving and President said, "Well this is fun! We'll have to do it again sometime-I didn't even get to knock on a door!" So we will see when he comes out with us again but that was a small miracle.
Same week but different day we were following up with an investigator and he wasn't home. So we decided to tract and we set a similar goal if getting in to teach and setting a return appointment (basically to have a new investigator). The FIRST door we knocked Anthony opened up and let us in. The pizza guy was delivering pizza to his house so that might have helped a little bit but we still got let in, taught, and set another appointment. Miracles of setting goals and making plans!
I'll interject with an update on the boys and Theresa. They are doing great. At this point we are just waiting for Theresa to be able to get off work enough to come to church consistently but they will all be baptized probably next transfer. When we were on a call with Theresa this week though she told us that Jabori had told her he wanted to go on a mission and he was asking questions about how it all worked. What?! We answered some of her questions and that was a sweet experience to hear from them. They both came to church, unfortunately Mom had to work, and Javon bore his testimony of which I'll mention later in the email. Chad is doing well too. We taught him how to tie a tie this week and he's just getting prepared to visit with Bishop.
Now, the fire for the week-Elder Klebingat. I won't bore you with the details and notes that I took. He talked a lot about our divine role and premortal nature. He answered a lot of questions and knew the scriptures well. If anything, with the knowledge of who we were before this life I've been motivated to get out there and talk to everyone! He reference the Abrahamic Covenant and went deep into the promises we made before coming to the life. I don't know about everyone else but I'm trying to just give myself up and give myself to the Lord but that's a work in progress. Anyway, hope that all made sense! It was an amazing conference and if the rest of my mission goes like the past two days it'll be everything it's supposed to be.
Saturday was a day and a half. It started with a baptism that we attended for a girl named Kanuri and it was awesome. Unfortunately we didn't have anyone attend with us, but it was still good. Then, our day starts. Taking the advice of Elder Klebingat both Elder Canty and I just threw ourselves on the altar and decided that anyone we naturally saw we were going to talk to and talk to about the message of Salvation that we share. We went to follow-up with a guy named Brandon who wasn't home so we then "took a lap" (I put that in quotes because that's going to be the theme of our day). In walking around the complex we said simple prayers out loud along the lines of, "Ok Lord, we're here and we are going to talk to anyone we can see so... Bring it on!" Within the next 50 steps we met Fernan who walked out of his apartment when we were walking by so we stopped, turned around and talk to him once he came down. We got his information and are hopefully going back this coming week. Over the next hour, yes hour-and it wasn't a huge "lap" - we met Aaron, a nice lady who didn't want us to help bring in her groceries, Ashley, and met Patrick again. Throughout the course of the day we did the same thing: if we went to an area and things fell through, we "took a lap" and asked the Lord to put people there. Sometimes it took us stopping and redirecting where we were going to talk to someone but it worked, all day long. We met: Z, Cidney, Ameer, Renesha and Kylie, Claire, DJ, Jewel, Anthony, Judy, and Landon and Lydia. Some of those were follow ups but we still were just on top of things. Those last two people, Landon and Lydia, were a miracle. I met them on exchanges Wednesday and didn't think anything of it. When we went back on Saturday night they were the most prepared I've ever seen anyone to accept the gospel, especially Lydia. They wanted to read and pray and come to church and feel it in there heart that this was true. All of their questions came from their heart and it was amazing to witness how God prepares people. Oh and they also accepted a baptismal date for the 28th which honestly it could happen in a couple weeks and I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, coolest day ever and I love the relationship I've gotten to develop with the Father. It's been a pleasure to serve alongside Christ in His work and to be a part of the marvelous wonders that happen.
To continue the story of Lydia and Landon on Sunday they walked into church and loved it. Both felt welcome and said that it was the first place in a long time that they felt comfortable. Even though third hour was all about the changes announced during General Conference they look forward to coming again. Landon is asking his boss for Sundays off so that he can keep coming consistently. Lydia asked us Sunday night for advice in dealing with family adversity. She asked, "So what would you say to someone who is thinking about converting but has family that is causing struggles?" I couldn't feel less adequate to teach people as prepared as they are to receive the gospel. It's crazy how many times I've walked past their door in that complex and it's unbelievable how the Lord puts individuals like them in front of 18, 19, 20, 21 year old boys and girls. I testify that it wouldn't work without Him. Grateful to be a part about it and I hope I'll be able to see them enter the waters of baptism soon.

  • We went store contacting and I show a magic trick to a three year old.
  • We met a guy that was adamant that if "You go to my church I'll go to yours..." He was not interested.
  • We met an older lady named Susie who, in the middle of our conversation, asked for our hands and prayed for us. I swear she was about to through down in tongues.
  • Another lady talked to us this week and told us she was a Prophet and that the Lord wanted us to know that we need to search for Him again outside of the Mormons...
  • The Starkville Elders show us this picture last week about some people who were kinda like "The end is near" folks. I'll attach it at the bottom.
  • Elder Canty hit me with the car when I was backing him up...hard. It's a good thing we were taking the car in to get repaired from damage that was done earlier thus transfer because the dent in the back was not small. Shout-out to my awesome comp! :)

This week was great, can't complain. I look forward to seeing how the work moved forward even more than it has already. As we've gotten technology I've seen how the work will move forward from the missionaries perspective. As announcements have been made to change the way we as member minister to one another I've seen how the work will move forward from the members perspective. It's all coming together to gather Israel and to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ.

I love y'all, and hope you have a blessed week!

Much Love,
Elder Milius

"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

Monday, April 2, 2018

2 April 2018 - Elder Michael Milius Week 92


If there was one word to describe this week it would probably be hasteful, meaning full of haste, meaning the Lord is definitely hastening His work and His church. It's been a miraculous experience to go around and visit different Technology Trainings to introduce smartphones to the missionary work here    in the Alabama Birmingham Mission and then to hear the changes that are taking place in the Lord's kingdom.
Like I said this week was busy. We left on Tuesday evening and headed up to Huntsville for a Technology Training on Wednesday; drove to Madison and had their Technology Training on Thursday; then we drove to Tupelo and finished with their Technology Training on Friday. In the middle of all of those we were able to go on some blitzes with awesome Elders in Weatherly, Florence (whoot whoot), Hamilton and Haleyville. Even though we got home late on Friday night it was still a very effective week of missionary work. Thank goodness for Technology and Facebook which kept us on contact with Theresa, her boys, and Chad. Some off those calls were made in the parking lot of McDonald's but hey, if we've learned anything this weekend it's you gotta do what you gotta do to bring others to Christ!
Speaking of Theresa, she's doing great! Still praying to know when she should be baptized but we have an awesome lesson with her and the boys about personal revelation. President and Sister Sainsbury joined us for the lesson and bore awesome testimonies--not that I expected anything less. They also had her over to their home for breakfast and the morning session of General Conference on Saturday. In addition to that she was messaging us and watch at least pieces of all the other session. Heck even some members of the church don't do that! But anyways, good news there.
In the midst of not being home we still found a few potentials. Quez, a nice guy who is looking for peace and truth in church was one of them. We actually met him a little bit ago along with a lady named Krista and of the two of them we figured Krista would be solid. But, typical of Heavenly Father once we thought we had it figured out He switched it. Another kind older lady named Booba was an investigator we found. Since then she has moved to be more of a potential but that's okay. We had a little bit of time between sessions on Saturday and so we found a neighborhood and knocked a door. Miss Booba answered and let us in and was the sweetest lady ever. She offered candy and the whole bit. We went back yesterday evening but things came up and we were able to teach her. Hopefully she'll be on the radar.
On one of the exchanges we were able to teach a guy named Vernard and a lady named Anne. The only reason I share this one is because during the lesson I just had one of the more powerful witnesses of the truth of the Restoration. Every time I've shared the First Vision and every time I've taught anyone on my mission I can say that I've felt the Spirit. However, there are some moments where its stronger than others. This was the case with Vernard and Anne; I know it's true. It's all true.
After we knocked a door and the guy told us he wasn't interested for the billionth time in that complex I threw my hands up like, "Oh well." Elder Canty quoted a talk we listened to a few times this week: "[When you're faced with trails] just force a smile, look heavenward and say, 'I know what this is Lord, a time to prove myself isn't it.'" We laughed about it but it might have just been because we were tired.
  • Speaking of tiredness when we got home on Friday night we laid down on our beds and fell asleep in proselyting clothes. I woke up at 4:00am but didn't have the desire to change so I rolled over and went back to bed.
  • We were racing with Sister Sainsbury when setting up the lunch tables each Tech Training.
  • I sang a Happy Birthday solo in the Tupelo Training.
  • We played Frisbee with some of the members and their friends and invited all the other missionaries from around here. They wanted to go missionaries versus non-missionaries. We won.
  • Everyone was hiding Easter Eggs this week, haha! #ABMEggHunt
  • I got to ride my bike again!! 
  • Stake President Johnson got called to be an Area Seventy, and so did the former (before President Hanks) Mission President for our mission so that's cool. 
  • When we were sleeping over in Madison Elder Canty reached over me to grab his phone for something. I made a unique noise and then from the other room Elder Stanger yells, "We don't do that in this mission!" 

To finished up, conference was amazing. It's been a great weekend of a solemn assembly and changes to the work of the Lord. Several times there was reference to the hastening of the work and something that I've learned on my mission is that the work will move forward with or without you-so don't take a break! It was wonderful to be able to hear President Russell M. Nelson address us so many times to make announcements and to speak. His talk about receive personal revelation answered all of my questions that I had going into conference. The Brethren are really emphasizing a relationship with God and our fellow men, the first two commandments. The way we build those relationships are the answers we've all know for a long time: pray, study the scriptures especially the Book of Mormon, attend the temple, do family history work, participate in missionary work, keep the commandments, and follow the Spirit. "If we follow the commandments of Jesus Christ, we will be okay." I testify that President Nelson is a true Prophet of God. I bear witness that Jesus Christ guides His church and that those who spoke to us were inspired by Him. Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father live. The Son, crucified for all of mankind, rose from the tomb; it is empty. He and His Father have Restored their church through Joseph Smith and they continue to restore it today. How blessed we are to be a part of this historic time and the hastening if His great and marvelous work!

Love y'all, and hope you have a blessed week! 

Much Love, 
Elder Milius

  • 2 Nephi 25:26
"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." 
  • James 1:27 
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." 
  • D&C 88:72-73
"Behold, and lo, I will take care of your flocks, and will raise up elders and send unto them.
"Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." 

"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