Friends and Family,
How are y’all?! Yes, I used the word y’all...I have used it before but the South is teaching me that “Y’all” can be used in any situation referring to another person so I am using it more often. I also want to first thank all of you for the thoughts and prayers. They are felt everyday, so for me and in behalf of all the other Laborers in the Vineyard-We thank you.
This week hasn’t been too crazy but that’s coming from me and crazy isn’t what it used to be. (I also forgot my weekly notes so I apologize and I will try my best to remember…) We did tract into the awesome lady last week I believe and her name is Agnes. Agnes is 95 years old as of last Thursday and she has grown up in the Church of Christ (which is basically what all of Florence is, either that or Baptist). We left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon and when we came back she had studied it. And I mean studied, she didn’t just read but she cross-referenced, went through the testimonies in the front, read how the Book is organized, etc. etc. We are pumped, because it was a miracle in it of itself that someone actually had read and had questions about it and the church. To say the least we were excited. We saw her again after that and brought her a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and so hopefully that will continue to go well. She also invited us back in September of 2021 for her 100th Birthday party that she’s having! Wahoo!
Now that I’m talking about Church of Christ members...in downtown Florence there is a store that we have grown to love called Coats Clothing Company, and we’ve become friends with all the employees there. One in particular is Susan, I don’t know if I’ve brought her up before but she is awesome. She loves us and so she asked us one day how often we got to go out and eat. Being missionaries we told her not often because we don’t have a lot of money but sometimes we would have the opportunity to be taken out by members. She then proceeded to invite us to dinner with her and her Church of Christ Deacon husband. We didn’t think anything too bad would happen and so we went out and it was great. No awkward “trying-to-convert-each-other” discussion was had and I love meeting people. That is something that is such a blessing in the South is so many people believe in Jesus Christ and have a Testimony of Him. And coming from other congregations and religious groups changes the testimony slightly and brings new perspective for me on who the Savior actually is and what that actually means to me personally. I am growing more here than I could anywhere else!
On Thursday, my day was spent at the temple! I love the temple. And after going and having the opportunity to go so frequently, getting on my mission I’ve been cut off...but I’ll go once every third month, and it will be glorious. This was the first time I’ve been able to go through a temple session with just missionaries and the Spirit is indescribable. I can honestly say that for the first time since I left Arizona, I felt at home. I felt like I was with Family. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I’ll never trade for anything. I’ll only have that opportunity 8 times so that trip was ⅛. (I’m going to get to the point of not counting but for now I think I’m good). President Sainsbury talked to us a little before we went back for our session and he talked about how the temples are literally the Lord’s house. He walks there. And as we attend the temple and perform those ordinances we are walking where He walked. The Temple President then shared a few things about the Threshold of the temple, and how the threshold separates the Spirit of the Temple from the world. Above the threshold it reads: “Holiness to the Lord House of the Lord.” He asked if when we stepped cross that threshold, did we feel the difference? Do you feel the difference when you enter into the temple?
As a missionary it is easier to be subject to those spiritual things and it’s amazing how receptive I can be sometimes. There are many instances when I’ll have a thought or a feeling and my mind immediately goes to the Spirit. I hope that I’ll be able to maintain at least some of that sensitivity in a couple years from now.
A couple other random things that I remember throughout the week: We were able to go throw hay and stack it in a member’s barn so that was tons of fun-and I mean that not to be sarcastic. I’d love to do that again. We met a UNA football player who we are teaching and so our new goal is to make the University of Northern Alabama BYU-A-I mean that to be sarcastic. But we are teaching this guy named Jalin, and he seems super solid so that’s exciting. Me and Elder Causey, who is also from Gilbert, love to talk about how we are even closer connected like the fact that we attend our home wards in the same building or that he went to a party that was a huge deal a couple years ago, etc. We also like to talk about how Arizona is Celestial. Another Elder in our Zone is from Phoenix and I’ll leave you with his quote: “Christ will come again at Adam-ondi-Ahman (I may have butchered that spelling but oh well), but He is going to live in Arizona.
I love my mission and I love the gospel. Hopefully I’ll be more prepared next week. If you have any specific question hit up MyLDSMail inbox! Love y’all, have a great week!
Michael got to attend the Birmingham Alabama Temple
with his Zone and Mission President & Sister Sainsbury