Wednesday, February 22, 2017

21 February 2017 - Elder Milius Week 34

My People,

How is everyone doing wherever y’all might be? Hope you’re being blessed, rather hope you’re recognizing the blessings your Heavenly Father is giving you! 
First things first: I’M STAYING IN WEEEETUMPKA!!! I will be here with Elder Harris, my son, and I’ll be able to finish training him here in good ‘ole Wetumpka! So, very excited about that and I’m praying that I don’t get another “just kidding” call from President. 
On to the very interesting not-so-good week that we had but with every bad week there are always lessons to be learned and highlights to be shared. 
I’ll start again with our investigator Lisa. She will not be getting baptized on the 25th unfortunately. We’ve really been working hard with her to try and explain that she needs to be coming to church every week and that because she wants to still go to “her church” every other week she isn’t fully converted to the gospel. It’s hard because from what she tells us she understands everything and she believes everything we’ve taught (including the Restoration of the church through Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, and Baptism by that proper authority). So….we don’t quite know where to go next and I haven’t been as prayerful for a single individual as I have been while teaching Lisa. I’ll keep you updated on what goes on with the progression of us teaching her and trying our best to help her become converted. But anyways, while teaching Lisa it’s really helped me focus my efforts on helping someone become truly converted, because that’s what we do as Missionaries, we “Teach Repentance, Baptized CONVERTS.” So I don’t know what comes next but Heavenly Father is in control and it’s all up to Him and our agency.
Aaron!!! This young man was my biggest highlight for the week! He is the boy that got up and bore his testimony a couple weeks ago as a non-member. We finally got to teach him the Restoration lesson with Issac, his friend who is a member, and it couldn’t have gone better. He understood it all and the saturday before he had gone to a multi-stake Youth Conference in which the rolled out and explained the Youth Theme for this year which, coincidentally enough is James 1:5-6, “ASK.” (For the record I still don’t believe in coincidences). He accepted a soft baptismal invite and it was awesome. But, we were a little disappointed when he didn’t show up to church on Sunday. So like good missionaries, that night we texted him and just followed up on his Book of Mormon reading. He’s been plowing through and that night he told us that he was starting 1 Nephi 4. After we asked if he had been praying as well as reading he was very happy to report that he had been and he feels that he’s gotten an answer….WHAT?! We were pumped but didn’t want him to try and explain that experience over a cell phone text conversation so we set up an appointment instead and we will be teaching him again on Thursday this week and he’ll be able to share with us his awesome experience!! :)) Let’s go!!
Also this week we were able to contact again a few investigators that we haven’t been able to get a hold of so that was a good thing. A couple came up to us this week too as we were walking out of a store and asked us for one of our “pamphlet things” so we talked to them for a few minutes. They were mostly curious but they now have a copy of the Book of Mormon, a Restoration pamphlet, a card with our number on it, and an Article of Faith card. That was pretty cool. There were a couple more small experiences like that too this week...but we still managed to get to Sunday night with Zero New Investigators!
Zero. To say that I was under-enthusiastic would be an understatement. We came in that night early for Studies and I took the phone and just started going through all sorts of phone numbers and our Area Book and everything. So, I likened this to when you get upset about something and so you go out and do yard work or something, maybe clean or organize; I don’t know what you do but I assume most people understand the feeling I had. Well, as a missionary there isn’t much you can do so I just did all I can to work, or at least feel like I was working. However, it was to no avail. I then had a long...long conversation with my Heavenly Father. It calmed me down a little bit but I was still a little disheartened. That’s when Aaron texted us back and that whole event occurred! Which lifted me a little bit from where I was. But then God wasn’t done. We had contacted Robert Saturday afternoon and invited him and his family of four to church after we found them in our area book. They did not show up to church but that morning we had texted Robert a reminder around 8:00 or so. THAT NIGHT at 8:00 we got a text back from him that said “Hey sorry I missed church this week, I’ll definitely be there this coming week though.” Then we invited him to basketball this week and he said he’d be there. Crazy. 
So, this week was a rough week. But, as you can see, there’s always blessings to be found and our Father knows each of us individually and knows what we need. All we have to do is ASK. If you don’t think that He answers prayers directly or feel like you’ve never had a real “conversation” with Him let me give you a challenge. Kneel down, start by addressing you Heavenly Father, then just start talking. Tell Him how you day was, how work is going, what you wish would happen, anything! Then ask, “Do you love me.” That question is one we all know the answer to, and it’s a question He must answer. He will answer. Then close in the name of Jesus Christ. 

  • We played three games of street basketball with various people (in proselyting clothes) and won.
  • We saw a sign that looked like it had just been written as we were walking down a street tracting that said: “No Solicitors, LDS, or Jehovah Witness.” Someone was covering all their bases.
  • In my weekly notes I drew a straight line on Sunday and said “That’s me flat-lining.” (Then Aaron and Robert happened).
  • We had the best Creative Contacting idea ever...thanks to my good friend Elder Morley for the idea.
  • There’s a dead deer basically in our backyard.
  • We made the best dinner I’ve ever eaten in the apartment on my mission.
  • I knocked every door!

I love y’all! Hope you can make it a good week! Take care!

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

 Elder Harris and Elder Milius doing the work!

Elder Milius knocking every door!

The dead deer basically in our backyard

Best dinner I've ever made and eaten since out on my mission!

Elder Milius loves finding his number!

 Engaging in some unique ways to find investigators

Monday, February 13, 2017

13 February 2017 - Elder Milius Week 33


Hello again from Wetumpka, AL! Life out here is great, most of the time, but I can honestly say that being a missionary I’ve never been better! There were quite a few experiences that I had this past week that really strengthened my testimony and gave be a greater motivation to “lift up [my] head and rejoice!” 
I will start off talking about Lisa. On Tuesday, we got rained in again for basically the entire day which wasn’t too fun but we did get to go see Lisa! She is doing awesome and we’ve now taught her everything and she seemed to be headed straight for the font...or so we thought. On Friday we went back to teach her The Gospel of Jesus Christ with a member and she loved it, agreed with everything, but then when we asked if she would be coming to church on Sunday she told us “I can’t this Sunday, I’m going to my church.” What?!? I honestly didn’t know what to say and after a few long seconds of silence with no response coming anytime soon the member bailed us out and said “Well I would love to pick you up the next week!” So it all worked out but Lisa did not come to church this Sunday and we have made a plan to re-teach her the Restoration and re-commit her to baptism, clearly laying out what that entails. But, I think-I know-that with the help of the Lord and the Spirit, Lisa will understand and she will become converted to the fulness of the gospel because she does believe the Book of Mormon to be true and Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God; and EVERYTHING hinges on that testimony. But, that’s where we are at with Lisa currently. 
Most, if not all, of our other Investigators were dropped this past week or getting close to that point. It was a good week going into Friday and then Friday was a brick wall, but then Saturday and Sunday picked it back up to normal. We did have an exchange in Prattville with the Zone Leaders this past week and we did have a cool experience with Tim. Tim was an 18-year-old that Elder Coleman had met before but we were in Wal-Mart talking with him and miraculously set up an appointment to meet up and teach him later that night. So we met him at the church building and sat in the chapel and just started going. We taught him about the Restoration, about prophets, about the Book of Mormon and what it means, about the Priesthood, all of this stuff and Tim took it great! It was probably one of the best lessons I’ve ever been in and I think it’s because it was more of a conversation than a lesson. Elder Coleman and I had only been “teaching” together for like 4 hours earlier but it went super smooth and all three of us were adding input, it was great. I don’t know what’s going on with the follow-up situation, but I know that the initial meeting and teaching him was a fantastic teaching experience for me.
As I said, Friday was a wall, but Saturday and Sunday picked it up! Saturday we went to this neighborhood that is the-for the lack of a better term-ghetto area. It’s called Crenshaw. We were following up with Lisa and had a few other names to go contact but we were just looking for New Investigators. When we rode into the neighborhood we were immediately met by like three 13-year-old boys on bikes who we were kinda messing around with. But I told them that we were going to go talk to people about Jesus and they all decided to follow us. So for a couple hours we were walking around with three boys teaching all their neighbors. It was surprisingly very effective and something to just kinda lift me up ya know! We have several return appointments from that day and are excited to hopefully witness the fruits of those lessons.
Sunday we had set up an appointment to contact Chastity. She’s a new name and we found her while we were making phone calls from our Area Book trying to find New Investigators (to replace all the non-progressing ones). We had previously watched the District and the Elders were going through the same records we were but they had prayerfully selected a few names. So, in desperation, we prayerfully chose names to call and Chastity was one of them. In meeting with her Sunday she lives at home with her husband and her two kids. She grew up in church but doesn’t go any longer and really wants to get back into church. We are praying that we can continue to meet with and teach this family!! It’s hard because they both work crazy schedules but they are an awesome family with tons of potential (and possibly 4 baptisms because her kids are 13 and 9)!
Right after Chastity we went to contact an “Investigator” that we’ve seen in our Area Book since getting to Wetumpka. His uncle was there a couple times we stopped by and lo and behold when we went back again his uncle, Ken, was sitting outside. Ken has extreme back pains-to the point of not being able to move-and so we sat down and started just visiting with him for a little bit. Elder Harris left him with a thought, Alma 7:11-12, and we were about to leave. BUT...there’s a but...But, the entire time we had been sitting with him I kept feeling like we should offer him a Priesthood Blessing. I kept fighting it because usually you don’t solicit those things and he wasn’t as familiar with a “Blessing” and I didn’t know what I was going to say to him in a blessing but I did it anyway. I started talking about the miracle Christ performed and how we hold that same power today. He was open for a blessing and so I walked him through it and we gave him a blessing and left. Walking away Elder Harris told me he had the same impression so we both knew it was from the Spirit. I don’t know what is going to happen with Ken, whether he will accept the gospel or if he will even feel any better, but I know and I hope that at least his faith in Jesus Christ and in a Loving Heavenly Father was increased. I know mine was. 
Anyways, sorry for the long email this week but like I said there were a few people who really strengthened me this week and helped me get through the “brick walls” of missionary work! I hope y’all have a good week this week and I will talk to you on TUESDAY next week! Also, we get Transfer Calls (not like it means anything to me, I just get Emergency Transferred) but just be aware that I might be moving on Wednesday...I’ll let you know on Tuesday in my email! Love y’all! 

  • We got another free pocket knife from a different guy.
  • We played ping-pong for a couple hours last p-day and bought legit paddles and balls...we’re getting serious about our ping-pong.
  • James showed us a crazy video about a “drug trip” and it had some weird doctrinal connections.
  • I beat those three 13-year-olds in a bike race.
  • We ran out of copies of the Book of Mormon on Saturday.
  • A lady commended us for coming and serving in the “black community” but not to come over to her car because they were doing some “illegal stuff.” 
  • One of the boys told us to pray over a guys 4-wheeler that wouldn’t start.
  • Dogs either hate us or love us.
  • I threw a cake in Sister Farr's face.
  • Smelling someone smoking weed is a pretty nice break from smelling cigarettes, not gonna lie.
  • And today we played capture the flag in a bamboo forest with our Zone :)

“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” (Alma 26:27)

Worst Day Ever?
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don't try to convince me that
There's something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don't last.
And it's not true that
It's all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one's surroundings are good
It's not true that good exists
I'm sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It's all beyond my control
And you'll never in a million years hear me say 
Today was a very good day

(Now read it from the bottom to the top).

Life is all about perspective; you can always choose your attitude! Make it a good 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

If you zoom in on that sign, you'll see why I took the picture. Welcome to the South! We need to add our church to it.

 This clock is from the 1670s
 I threw a cake in Sister Farr's face
 We played capture the flag in a bamboo forest with our Zone
 Elder Milius branding Elder Harris

6 February 2017 - Elder Milius Week 32

My People,

What another wonderful, fantastic, great week we’ve had here in Wetumpka, Alabama! Things are just looking up and we couldn’t be more excited! I hope everyone is doing just as great and is full of food from their Super Bowl party! Elder Harris and I forgot about the Super Bowl until we were knocking on some doors at 5:30 and realized that everyone was having their respective Super Bowl parties...that put a damper on our ability to talk to some people, but it was a good week nonetheless! 
First I am going to talk about Lisa! Lisa is an older black lady who we found while tracting a couple weeks ago. She was walking down the street and we stopped to talk to her about the Book of Mormon. She accepted the challenge to read and pray and then when we went back to teach the Restoration she had read and comprehended (which was good because at first meeting she didn’t seem like she was “all there”). But, we went back again to teach the Plan of Salvation with a member of the Ward and Lisa had received her answer that the Book of Mormon was a true book! We then were able to commit her to be baptized on February 25th and she came to church yesterday with another member. Things are just moving very quickly with Lisa...and for the lack of a better term she is, or at least seems to be so far, GOLDEN! We are excited to help her progress into the waters of baptism and the Ward is so ready and willing to help. Lisa is awesome and I’ll be happy to keep y’all updated with her story as we get closer and closer to the 25th! 
We also had a lot of “success” in seeing people that we had planned to get in contact with. Jeremy, a guy who we found in our area book and called the first week we were here was one of them. We finally were able to see him at his house and are trying to get more consistent with him so that we can help him and his family progress in the gospel. As far as his records go he, at one point, had a baptismal date so fingers crossed with him. TJ, the investigator we’ve been teaching since Elder Harris and I got to Wetumpka fell off the face of the earth. We didn’t see him for a week and then one day we saw him walking down the street. That was amazing to me because I felt like we should just walk a certain way home to (in my thoughts) “Maybe catch TJ.” Sure enough we did, AFTER we had stopped and talked to a member for a few minutes. Had we not been stopped, and had we not walked that specific direction, we would have missed him. But who knows, that might be a coincidence. 
Wednesday we spent about half the day going through a Prospective Elders list that was beyond outdated trying to determine who actually lived where our records said they did. It was an interesting day for me because I didn’t feel like we had gotten a whole lot done, however, by going through that list we were “establishing the church.” And that phrase was used a lot in the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, about how our job as missionaries is to establish the church, which is done in many other ways besides convert baptisms. Friday though made up for it because we were busy Friday and we had lots of people to go visit (and it was the day that we put Lisa on date, wahoo!).
Zone Conference this week was awesome, as always, but it was different this time because I wasn’t only listening for myself but for my District, because this coming week I’ll have the privilege of conducting my own District Meeting based on the trainings from Zone Training and Zone Conference. A lot of what the mission is doing is going back to the basics of The Doctrine of Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) as well as “Teaching Repentance, Baptizing Converts.” I love the way that the church is headed with their missionary work! It’s going to be amazing! :)
One more cool story and then I’ll get to my funny blips of the week. Church was the best. Lisa came and all the members welcomed her and I couldn’t be happier about that but there was another amazing thing that occurred. Aaron got up to bear his testimony. Now, Aaron is not a member of the church. His friends-two of the youth in the Ward-have been, as he said, “opening his eyes to the gospel.” He is Catholic with his family but from what it seemed like loves this place (this being the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Last week he came to basketball on Saturday with Isaac, one of his friends from the ward. Isaac was asked to give the opening prayer before we started and Aaron was called on the say the closing prayer. Before Aaron got up to bear his testimony Isaac shared this experience over the pulpit and explained that after basketball he told Aaron what a good job he did saying the prayer and ask how he knew what to say. Aaron responded that he said exactly what Isaac had said in the opening prayer. So, Isaac shared his testimony on how people look up to us as members of the church even if we don’t think they do. Then, following the same pattern, Aaron followed his friend and bore his testimony on the stand. What courage this 15-year-old boy had and what a testimony he already has. Before we had left that morning I grabbed a pass-along copy of the Book of Mormon to take with me. I didn’t know why, I just did. Then, after Aaron’s testimony I knew why I had brought it. We talked with Aaron after Sacrament, gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and Isaac and Kayden (his other friend) are going to set up with us a time to meet and teach Aaron. 
So, that story was kind of not as fluent as I would like but it gets the point across. With that experience and many others this week I have come to know that the Lord knows who we are, individually. He knows what we all need and His hand is ever present in the smallest aspects of our lives. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ micro-manage their work and they micro-manage us; it just takes some Faith, Hope, and Charity to see it (Moroni 7).

  • I made a pen out of Desert Ironwood and broke two pieces.
  • A different guy this week asked us how we resisted women during our mission work.
  • Elder Harris and myself mistook a chair for one of our investigators.
  • I did a rubix cube for a couple of 9-year-olds who were very impressed.
  • We got beat by a couple of 9-year-olds (same ones) in backyard basketball.
  • We had dinner with a family that was planned for 5:30, was postponed to 6, we were actually picked up at 6:15, I had to drive to the member's home because his eyes we getting fuzzy from some medication, he hadn’t started grilling until we got there, they put on a Mormon produced movie for us to watch, we didn’t start eating until 7:45, the Less-Active that was invited didn’t show up until 8, and at 8:45 the member asked “You have to be home at 9:30, right?” We left soon after that and couldn’t believe everything that had just happened.
  • A Prospective Elder Brother Cook invited us in and then talked for an hour straight, praising God and quoting all sorts of positive scripture. We didn’t say three words. 
  • My mission is finally complete: We beat a couple teenagers in street ball who didn’t think we could ball-up in church clothes. 21-6 :)

Thank y’all for your thoughts and prayers as always! I hope that you have a wonderful week and continue to do the Lord’s work wherever He has called you-and we are all called! Love y’all! If you need anything let me know! 

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