Monday, October 31, 2016

31 October 2016 - Elder Milius Week 18

Dear Children of God,

Hello! The weeks just kinda keep getting better and better on the mission. Now that isn’t to say there still aren’t hard, tough, frustrating, and annoying things happening, but I guess by now I’m just starting to get used to it all!
 First thing that was awesome about this week was the Trunk-or-Treat for our ward. Apparently the Florence Ward is the “youngest” ward, that is to say there are lots of little children who participate in things like a trunk-or-treat (Highland Groves Ward though….). But we went as Missionaries and decorated the trunk of our Mission Car to pass out candy! We also dressed up as the “Mormon Missionaries,” best costume I’ve worn since being on the mission for sure.
 Thursday we had the opportunity to have interviews with President and Sister Sainsbury, which was awesome! I love them, and being able to sit and talk with each of them was awesome! I’m glad I’ll be able to be with them throughout my entire time as a missionary. I learned a lot from them, and probably from the Spirit, about what I needed to do to become a better, more powerful missionary. I determined that with everything going on, it was difficult to focus on the little “successes” throughout the day. So, I made a goal with President to help focus my thoughts on helping ONE person a day feel the Spirit. Since Thursday it’s been really amazing to go through the day and focus on one person. I feel like it’s giving me a better perspective not only on Missionary Work but on how Christ went about His days during His time on Earth.
 I’ll share a couple of experiences that both ended up being my “ONE” for the day on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was pretty busy, and on top of it all we had a Housing Inspection so like Elders do we spent basically our afternoon cleaning and getting ready for this inspection. Afterwards we went out with one of the priests in the ward and we went to visit our Less-Active/Part-Member Family, Candy and Jeremy. Their kids were having a big Halloween/Birthday Party thing and so we wanted to stop in there. About 20 minutes in from being there, a big snowball fight broke out with the shaved ice from the truck the brought for the party. All these kids and adults and four missionaries and basically everyone was throwing ice and having the time of our lives. I looked at Isaac, the priest who drove us over, and said “Don’t you love missionary work?!” Anyways we ended up leaving and going to do some tracting, but looking back on it, the time we spent at that party was not only fun, but it brought the Spirit. I have determined that the Spirit is soft, calm, peaceful, etc., but it is also FUN. And the good-hearted, Spirited “Fun” that we have as missionaries is a blessing to us as well as the Less-Active/Part-Member Families we work with (at least in this case).
Then, on Sunday we went out with a 20 year old Less-Active member of our ward who is starting to get himself back into the routine of coming to church. We planned to go visit a couple families and then tract a little bit, however, like usual our plans were quickly changed. Quinn, had offered to pick up his girlfriend from work and she got off early so he asked if we would be okay with picking her up (she's not a member but has told him that she wants to visit our church with him). We thought that would be a splendid idea and went to pick up Kassidy. She felt awkward at first, but that feeling soon left as we somehow or another got to teaching her about the Restoration. We ended up back at Quinn's home and sat with Quinn, Kassidy, Scott (Quinn's Less-Active older brother), and their parents and began to teach Kassidy the Book of Mormon. We taught, the Spirit most definitely testified, and the members only interjected to witness that what we were saying was true, and that the Book of Mormon would indeed be a major blessing in Kassidy's life. I cannot tell y’all how wonderful it was to teach that lesson and see not only Kassidy's face light up, but also see the Spirit touch each of the other Members in the room. The Holy Ghost is a real thing, and the reason we try to take members out with us is because of our purpose: " invite OTHERS to Come unto Christ...," and members are "others" too.
 Sunday Night we also went to a Youth Fireside that focused on Missionary Work and Bishop asked each of us Missionaries to share what we thought best prepared us to serve and what we wish we would have done better to prepare. So, speaking now to mainly those Young Men or those who are thinking about serving a mission, or anybody: Even though it sounds simple, reading the Book of Mormon through multiple times before coming out on my mission has proved to be the biggest blessing for me. I am able to share testimony and bear a greater witness of that Book because I know it. I wish I had gone out with the Missionaries more when I had the opportunity. I regret not taking the chance to go out with the Elders to prepare myself for what Missionary Work truly is.
Now that you’ve heard my words of wisdom I want to wish everyone a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Dress up awesome, scare some people, stay safe, and always remember that it’s the little things that matter the most! If you have any questions you know what to do! I love y’all!

Elder Milius

PS: The pictures of the lake are just in Isaac’s neighborhood where we went tracting this week. I thought it look cool...and I really wish I could’ve jumped in, but oh well I’ll come visit!


"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

 Man! Wish I could've jumped in this lake! - Elder Milius

Florence Ward Trunk-or-Treat

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

24 October 2016 - Elder Milius Week 17

People I Love,
Hello again! I am coming at you from the wonderful city of Florence, AL with my new companion Elder Areno. So, to answer the question on everybody’s mind, yes Elder Areno and I do get along and we are both very excited to work together over the next six weeks. He is from Las Vegas, Nevada (no he is not Elder Areno from Reno, it’s disappointing). He is athletic enough to keep up with the Florence sports traditions that we uphold and he is also very smart and creative. He likes to draw and build things and basically do whatever. He is also interested in going into the medical field to possibly be a surgeon. However, he may move down to Arizona and join me in a Private Practice-Dad I hope there’s room to expand. All joking aside, we are again both very excited for the work we will be privileged to do here.
This past week was super busy, which is unusual for a transfer week. Typically it is very slow and involves the “new” missionary getting acquainted with the area, the people, and the apartment. But no, this week we taught a lot of people and had a lot of “success” (I will always put “success” in quotes because the measure we all use for “success” is different at different times in different places). Two girls we taught in particular are named Christian and Alex. We had met and tried to teach Christian before but she was never too interested; however, every time we saw her outside we would come and visit with her for a little bit and just kinda talk. Then, the week before transfers we met her outside with her friend Alex. After visiting with them we left and got a phone call asking us to set up an appointment with them to come answer some questions they had about the church and our beliefs. So, the day after Elder Areno arrived we sat with both of them and answered questions for an hour and a half and are expecting the same thing this coming Wednesday. They both seem to be very open and interested now and this experience was a testimony to me about how easy it is for us all to be missionaries. By simply walking by and being a “friend” as Christian referred to us as we were able to eventually soften their hearts to learning about the gospel. And let me tell you, when that happens it makes teaching so much easier. So, that’s the mid-letter challenge: Find someone that you can simply be a friend to. You don’t have to tell them your beliefs or mention anything about the church but I promise that one day they will ask you, and you’ll be able to share with them the wonderful blessing we have-The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another awesome experience for me was the team-up we went on this week with Noah. We went with him to go visit Agnes-who we are dropping because she won’t progress but that’s besides the point. During the lesson we were trying to help her understand what the Spirit is, how it speaks to us, and why it’s important in knowing the truth about the Restoration. About halfway through the lesson I was describing the Restoration to a football game: How in football, if there were no referees to tell the players what they are doing wrong and what they need to change there would be chaos-and that’s exactly what it was regarding religion. But, there are now referees called of God today, and we as missionaries are telling all the players that the referees (Apostles and Prophets and Revelation) are back. While doing that the Spirit became thick enough to cut but Agnes didn’t get it at all. And at that point I knew and we knew that we weren’t teaching her, we were teaching Noah. The next day he met with the Sisters and told them about his experience with us and about the analogy to football. He told the Sisters that he had felt the Spirit, and he knew it was the Spirit, and he knew it was testifying of truth. Apparently the Sisters saw it in his eyes and Noah committed himself to be Baptized! They called us after and we couldn’t contain ourselves. I had been waiting for that call for a month and it finally came! Noah is working on setting a date but he is getting baptized and one day I swear he will be a fantastic missionary for the church! This is what missionaries live for, and I can’t tell you enough how amazing a feeling it is when you are told that something you said made it all click; and then you realize it wasn’t really you who said it.
There were some other cool things that happened this week like Disc Golf with Brother Pennington; and team-up with Brother Pennington; the Renaissance Fair on Saturday; and some others. But, those two experiences really helped my testimony grow and I hope it helps yours as well. I know this church is true y’all, with all my heart. I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t. Hope y’all have a great week and remember to find that friend! If you have any questions or need anything from me you have my email!

Elder Milius

PS: I don't have any pictures of Elder Areno and I but hopefully there will be some next week.
PPS: We found Rapunzel's tower.


"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

 Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

Elder Milius and Elder Wheatley with the Dickson Family

Monday, October 17, 2016

17 October 2016 - Elder Milius Week 16

Loved Ones,

Hello people! This week hasn’t been super crazy or exciting but things are always happening, and definitely as Missionaries. 

Something that was awesome that happened this week is a young man in the Florence Ward received his mission call to the Texas Dallas Mission. He’ll be speaking his native language, which is Spanish, and he is leaving on November 16. Crazy! We’ve gotten to be really close to him and it was cool to the share that experience with him. Life’s been really nuts for him so it’ll be good for him to get out and serve. I told him it was the best decision I’ve ever made! Also, it was fun to reminisce on how I opened my call only about 7 months ago. (And I state yet again that time is just different…)
Speaking of time Transfers are happening this week. So...drum roll...I will be staying here in Florence and Elder Wheatley is getting transferred East to a fun little city called Huntsville ALabama. Elder Areno will be my new companion. I don’t think I’ve met him before but I’ve heard good things so far and I’m looking forward to living with him for at least the next six weeks. I’m excited to be running the wonderful are called Florence and for the opportunity to share it’s beauty with Elder Areno. This transfer ought to be a good one!

A couple other things that I got to do this week was do service on this land for an “Eternigator” (all y’all returned missionaries and current missionaries know what kind of guy I’m talking about) named Sam. He has a beautiful piece of property and we went and cleaned up around some trees for him. It was nice getting out of Proselyting clothes for a while and helping him out. Also, this morning-and this email isn’t really in chronological order so I apologize-we went with Brother Pennington who is a less-active to go Disc Golfing at a course here in Florence. First time I’ve been and I didn’t do half bad if I say so myself, but I hoping we can make that a regular Monday Morning thing! I might get into Disc Golf when I come home, who knows right?

As far as people go, this week our highlight was meeting an Investigator named Caleb. Caleb is a real open minded person, which is great to come across especially in the South. We shared a couple things with him and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon to start reading and to study. Before we left the apartment complex we saw him again and this guy had already ripped through the introduction, the and the testimonies. In a matter of 10 minutes this guy had read the beginning of the Book basically. So, we come back and follow up on Sunday afternoon. He was asking us a couple of questions outside of his apartment mainly asking why we both decided to serve missions. Both of us gave our answer which were both focused on Jesus Christ and share His Joy-which was cool-and then he invited us in to look at some “notes” he had taken. Caleb had done research and all of the things he was bringing up were true and legit as far as the information he came across. Also his “notes” were a 1 ½ page document on Word. Caleb is solid. And to top it off when we were leaving we asked him to read and pray and find out if all we’ve discussed is actually true. He interjected by asking us about our experiences and how we came to know the church to be true. And then he went on and before we could say the typical “...And if you find out these things are true will you take those next steps including being baptized…” he said that if when he found out it was true he would “...definitely take those next steps on God’s pathway…” or something along those lines. Y’all I’m excited for Caleb. I’m excited for Florence.

Nothing else crazy like that happened but I’m looking forward to this next week and this next transfer. I have also found that when one Elder is leaving an area you are BUSY on P-Day and Transfer Day (which is tomorrow instead of Wednesday because President has a meeting or something). Thank y’all for your thoughts and prayers, they are always felt. I love you, and so does your Heavenly Father!

"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 Wheatley & Elder Milius

 "He's the Hero Florence deserves, but not the one it needs right now."
 -caption from Brigham Milius 

Tupelo North Zone with President & Sister Sainsbury

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10 October 2016 - Elder Milius Week 15

Friends and Family,

Hello! Happy P-Day and a Happy Monday to y’all! Hope life is treating you well! I love you and thank you for your continuous thoughts and prayers!
This week wasn’t super exciting, just the same old stuff: Find, Teach, Baptize, and Retain. We are still sitting in the Teaching portion of that process but it’s all good! There are a couple Investigators that we have who we are beginning to really dive into the basic discussions so that should be good.
Thursday was probably the most eventful day this week. Elder Dyches of the Seventy came and called a Multi-Zone Conference and so there were two meetings in the course of two days that was full of trainings from President and Sister Sainsbury as well as Elder and Sister Dyches. All of it was amazing and most of it was applicable to our mission in specific. A lot of the things we were taught didn’t necessarily answer any questions that I had, but the emphasis was placed on the White Handbook and how that is the way to become better missionaries. That is the goal in life I think: To Become. Because as we Become we are constantly striving to progress and be better than who we were the day before.
This week was a testimony to me that the Spirit guides us in our work. I don’t think more that maybe two appointments that we planned actually happened when we planned them to simply because our plans were changed. We were still productive, still “successful” but nothing seemed to really go to plan. It just goes to show that we aren’t actually in charge. Nonetheless (yes I just used that word) that does not mean that we do not plan. Especially as a missionary, you need to have a plan in order for it to be changed by following the Spirit. I don’t believe that anyone can walk aimlessly expecting to be lead. In 1 Nephi 4:6 we know how that process worked with Nephi. He was “lead by the spirit not knowing whither he should go” but I would argue that he went somewhere. Nephi did something to show his own effort. One of my favorite words in the scriptures is “Hearken.” In hearkening we not only listen, but we listen and DO. It illicites action!
Also, to close this very short e-mail this week I’d like to share my experience from Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday. Often times as missionaries you dread inviting investigators to church for Testimony meeting because more likely than not someone in your ward is going to go off on something they believe personally that is totally non-related to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or tell their life story or etc. But, our meeting yesterday was one of the most sincere meetings I’ve ever been a part of and it just goes to show how lucky I have been to start my mission in the Florence Ward. Something that Elder Dyches counseled on was a 3-minute, missionary testimony in which you take one minute to talk about the love you have for the people, another minute to talk about the love you have for your companion, and a third minute to talk about your love for the Savior. Elder Wheatley asked me if I was going to get up before the Sacrament and I wasn’t sure but he said I should if one of the Sisters didn’t. (Another aspect of Elder Dyches’ was to get up immediately). So, after the time was turned over and the Sisters didn’t immediately get up I did. I simply talked about the love I had for the ward, and the love that they had for one another; how lucky I was to begin my mission there with them and with Elder Wheatley; and I closed by expressing the love I had for Jesus Christ and the love he had for each of them-the love that they so dutifully exemplified. After my testimony the meeting continued with the theme of gratitude for the Ward Family.
(I now have to interject: That morning we had gone to knock on the door of a less-active family in order to get the up for church. We were successful and the four boys in the family got up, dressed, and we then followed them to church. That was a great moment for us, walking into church with all of them-so we were already feeling great).
...To continue, Cody, one of the boys who is a little slower mentally and is around 12/13 years old got up to bear his testimony. He made me feel the love of my Savior more than anyone as he expressed how grateful he was for the Missionaries and how much he loved us. He mentioned if we hadn’t gotten them up they would still be sleeping and has he looked right at me down in the congregation I couldn’t help but feel like THIS is what it is about.
I love being a Missionary, and I know that I am a representative of Christ. I know He lives and I know He loves all of us individually. The Atonement of Christ is real, and I know that each moment He suffered was individual as well. I’m so grateful for Him and for my opportunity to serve, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I hope y’all have a good week and I hope that you will be able to find joy in Christ this week. I also hope that you will be able to help someone feel the love of the Savior as Cody did for me. Take care, and let me know if I can do anything for y’all!

Elder Milius

PS: One of the talks in General Conference was referencing Helen Keller. I thought it would be cool for y’all to know that she was born just across the river from where I’m serving :) (Her house is right behind my big head)

PPS: This week is TRANSFER CALLS again! Where does the time go?! I’ll let you know next week what the news is but our guess is I’ll be here in Florence for another one and Elder Wheatley will leave-but the Lord is still in charge of His work.

Michael and Elder Wheatley at the Birthplace of Helen Keller

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

3 October 2016 - Elder Milius Week 14

Dear Loved Ones,

This week has been amazing to say the least and it all lead up to GENERAL CONFERENCE which was the perfect ending. I’ll talk a little bit about Conference later but for now I’ll get into reporting a little of what happened this week in Florence, AL.

Tuesday was the first taste of magic, or as we like to call it the Spirit. There is an investigator that the sisters in our area are mainly working with and his name is Noah. Noah is prepared. He has meet with and talked with missionaries in the past, his best friend lived in the ward (who just moved away to BYU-I for school) and most of his other friends or the people he hangs out with are from the youth of the ward. Noah grew up heavily involved in a Baptist church and that is where his parents are strong today. Although he is 20, he is living at home which limits his involvement in the church slightly. So, now that you have a background: On Tuesday, Noah went on a team-up with us to see a couple appointments that we had. (For those of you who don’t know, a team-up is where we typically take a member out with us to appointments). We went to see a less-active family which started of kind of weird and awkward but it ended up being a deep discussion on the doctrine of The Plan of Salvation. Ok...then, we went to see Agnes the 95-year-old Book of Mormon studier. Noah himself is studying the Book of Mormon as well-just for a little more exposition. We went into the appointment thinking we were going to discuss The Plan, however the lesson quickly turned to be about the importance of reading, studying, and PRAYING about the Book of Mormon and the importance of praying. One thing Agnes pointed out was how similar the Book of Mormon and the Bible were in their teachings. We explain that they were both records of Christ’s teachings and then turned to ask Noah why he thought they were so similar. Then the magic. Noah bore a simple, plain testimony in the words that went something like this: “Well, I guess they are so similar because the Book is true.” Woah. We soon discovered that our appointment with Agnes was not for Agnes, but for Noah. That was a huge testimony builder to me about the power of the Spirit and how important it is for us to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon (which evidently was one of the principles mentioned a couple times in conference this past weekend). Anyways that was amazing and he will be going out with us again on Tuesday!

Nothing really beats that experience but on Wednesday we found a couple awesome people who we are excited to go teach. Jake was the first and we meet him while walking down the street on Wednesday. He just was interested in the church and how missions worked and all sorts of other basic things about how the church is. We left him with a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and hopefully will be able to meet with him again this week. Then, we went tracting for a little bit later that day and meet Tara. Tara is an artist and was interested in the fact that before we threw a ton of gospel stuff at her we took some time to get to know her. At one point in the conversation she made the comment that she wasn’t supposed to be talking so much we were. She was also interested in the beliefs of the church and the Book of Mormon. So, when I gave her one I used a technique I learned in the MTC: When handing out a Book of Mormon you make the person want it more than anything. As you start to hand it to them you pull it away just out of their reach and continue to give the invitation to read. Then as you hand it back you pull it away again to talk about the importance of praying to find out if it is true. Then you give it to them and by the time they finally have it all they want to do is break it open. We will be going back later this week to see if my technique worked! 
Later this week the weather dropped a ton and it is finally cool! I love it. It's kind of like the middle of Arizona winters, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a little colder but for now it’s nice. I can’t wait to see the trees actually change color! We talked to a few other people this week and one of them taught me. His name is Gordon and he owns a shop in Downtown that we like to visit. After going in one day he asked us “What have you learned today?” After thinking about it for a while we didn’t have a truly good enough answer and he told us that he thinks people don’t usually take the time to think about what they are learning from a given situation in the middle of the day. So typically missionary I wrote that question on a sticky note and put it on my wall so that I can ask myself that every day. I would challenge y’all to do the same and it might surprise you what the Lord teaches us, because He is constantly teaching, and we should constantly be learning.

Speaking of learning I spent the past two days basically living at the church building for General Conference! I don’t even know why we went home to sleep but it was so worth it! I loved how it began Saturday morning with President Uchtdorf because we often do take a lot of things for hearing from the Lord’s chosen servants twice a year! How cool is it that we have that opportunity!? I enjoyed ALL of conference and all the messages were great! I think the theme was truly inspired and it definitely applies to missionary work! General Conference, in the words of Elder Wheatley, is the Super Bowl for Missionaries! I love President Monson and I know he is the Lord’s Prophet. My testimony is strengthened every time he speaks, even if it is just for a few minutes each. One of my favorite talks was Elder Christensen of the Seventy. He spoke about the importance of having a testimony of the Restoration and of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. A lot of other messages were focused on the basic, plain, pure truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ-the truths that I have an opportunity to share with the people of Alabama every day! I know that the church is being run today by Jesus Christ, as Elder Ballard would say He is at the helm of the Ship of Zion. Christ lives, and our Heavenly Father lives as well. I know that all He wants for us is to return Home. 

One thing that I have noticed since being on a mission and particularly since getting more familiar with the work, investigators, and members, is that I have trouble just thinking about myself. It is to my understanding that the mantle of missionary work allows you to receive specific, true revelation to help administer and perform the Lord's work in a certain proselyting area. When I sit in Sacrament meeting, I try to focus on what I can do to be a better disciple of Christ and how I can improve in the coming week; however, my thoughts are often turned to how to help investigators, how to strengthen recent converts, how to encourage less-actives to come back to church, and how to get part-member families closer to being sealed in the temple. With General Conference, and my own thoughts, I have determined that these thoughts are for others, but they also answer my question of "How can I improve?" This has been a blessing in my life and will continue to be a blessing I'm sure. I love the people, and I love how in conference this past weekend the leaders of the church stressed the importance of building the kingdom in building others.
I love y’all, and thank y’all for the thoughts and prayers! Build your testimony in the Savior and in our Father, because I promise He is there in the name of our Brother, Jesus Christ, Amen!

Elder Milius
PS: Sorry for the long email this week, hope you got something out of it for reading down this far!

click here for

PPS: We all carved pumpkins for a District Activity this morning! 
Guess which one is mine! AZ=>AL