Family and Friends,
I want to first again wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope your day yesterday was as great as mine out here! We got to visit several member’s homes, get feed, call family, get feed, and eat food! I’m so grateful for our Savior and for this week that we’ve had! I’m even more so thankful for the gifts, thoughts, and prayers that were directed toward me. They are truly felt and appreciated daily! May we never forget this season and more importantly never forget our Savior Jesus Christ.
On Monday we went on another hike, but it was the same one we went on several weeks ago when Elder Morley and I first got to Fort Payne. However, because of all the rain that we had received, there was actually water in the river! Tuesday was a basic day except we attended a Sign Language Group meeting that evening. Because we are teaching Virginia (who is not getting baptized on the 31st anymore but we are still hopeful for the near future) we decided to go to learn some basic signs that we can use to communicate to her. It was a very cool experience and all the people who were there were accommodating and loved to help us learn. How about that? English called, un poquito espanol, and sign language!
Thursday was a big day and a highlight of probably my mission so far! Brother Lee Donaldson, former President of the San Diego Mission during the filming of The District 2, and current paid trainer and teacher for The Church came to our mission to help train us on how to better teach. He went over our mission specifically and stressed the importance of prayer. Prayer is something we would consider basic as far as teaching and most people in the South are knowledgeable on the concept. However, most people pray to Jesus instead of to our Heavenly Father. Brother Donaldson explained that if we want them, the investigators, to receive and answer to a prayer I don’t know such as “Is the Book of Mormon true?” then they need to be asking who-God. Our Heavenly Father is the person they need to address. He also went on to help us learn how to better teach the first lesson-The Restoration. He pointed out that The Restoration is all focused on how the investigator can receive personal revelation. Revelation is the theme. So, as we emphasize that we will better accomplish the purpose of that lesson. The last thing Brother Donaldson talked about was the importance of the Book of Mormon, of using the Book of Mormon as a tool. He read the first twelve verses with us, showing us how to make the Book applicable to the individual and how to be more of a “guide” than a “narrator.” When we as missionaries teach people we aren’t simply telling them stuff, or giving them information. We are helping them understand the material in order to prepare them for baptism because if we do it correctly and if they are sincere in listening to our message they will want to be baptized into Christ’s true church and make further covenants with the Father. That meeting was amazing for me to participate in especially so close to the beginning of my mission. I hope and pray I never lose the teaching skills I’m developing on the mission, it’s amazing. Young Men and Sisters who are preparing to serve, if you think you are a bad teacher just wait, the Spirit will use your willingness to minister to whoever you talk to, I promise you that!
Friday we met a LA/PM family who is in an interesting situation. But, there are several people in that home that are ready for baptism, it’s just a matter of time. So prayers going out to the Serabia Family! Also, we went over to another Less-Active’s home to do a Christmas Lesson in which we were asking the kids about the Nativity and the story of Christ’s Birth. We established that Jesus was there, Mary was there, and we were trying to get other answers to people who were there as well. It was a struggle (and just for background information we are very close to this family). But, the 12-year-old when asked “Who else was there?” said excitedly “JOSEPH….SMITH!!!” The response to that was I am sorry to say laughter on our part with my companion stating through his breathes “You guys are Terrible at this!” It was a fun night, and although it was kinda rough, the focus was on the true meaning of Christmas so I think we got our point across!
Saturday, Christmas Eve, basically all of our plans fell through-life of a missionary. But we were able to go to a family’s home and participate in blowing up 1000 balloons and playing in them. My fingers have a couple blisters from tying balloons, but it was a good time being there with the other missionaries from our District and spending Christmas Eve in a Family setting. Sunday was Christmas, and one of the most interesting Christmas mornings I’ve had. But it was also one of the best Christmas Days, being able to talk to my family, those closest to me, and see how wonderful they are all doing! I’m so thankful for Family and for my knowledge that Families can be together forever!
Have a good week everyone and I will be emailing on Tuesday next week because our P-Day got changed due to New Year’s. Take care, and if you need anything from Elder Milius let me know! Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Godspeed, and Much Love,
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