Happy Total Eclipse Day!
We saw 93% of it with cool glasses and a pinhole box that we made, so that was exciting for like 3 minutes! This week was pretty great to be honest! There are a lot of good people here in Tupelo that I get the pleasure of associating and working with! We have three people, who are solid I might add, on date for baptism and we are hoping for a fourth this week. All for September. On top of that there are several dates set throughout our zone and the Lord is killing it here in this part of the vineyard!
Keshaun is on date for September 2nd, and he is going strong. We went and made a Baptismal Calendar with him this week and set things up for the next two weeks. He’s almost there and we are excited for him. Jerome is also on for the 2nd but it may have to move due to his girlfriend’s family (the members) being out of town. They don’t like him anyway so it may happen on the 2nd but regardless he is doing good! We had an awesome lesson with him to introduce commandments and the Word of Wisdom. We were told by the family and his girlfriend that he had a problem smoking cigarettes and that that was something that might hold him up. So, without him knowing we had been told that we taught him the Word of Wisdom as to determine whether or not it was truly going to be an issue. Both of us were shocked when we had discerned as the lesson went on that Jerome didn’t have any problem with the Word of Wisdom AND on top of that, he was completely ready to be baptized for himself, and not for his girlfriend. The spirit was definitely present and we were stoked. Plus he came to church this week so go him! Quanterio is also on date now!! He is getting baptized on September 16th and couldn’t be happier. We taught him a couple times emphasizing prayer and how to receive answers. Then, when we were on exchanges with the New Albany Elders, Elder Stanford went there with Elder Johnson and they talked to him about whether or not he had prayed. When he said, “No,” they asked him to pray (not thinking he was going to right then and there). After he was finished praying he expressed how he was feeling and determined that he knew it was all true. The baptismal invite was easy after that! He also came to church this past week, wahoo!
Those are all the individuals we have on date so far and are hoping to get AJ on as well. He has progressed a lot over the past few weeks and his understanding of baptism has increased. He has become closer and closer it seems each lesson and both Elder Stanford and I know he is ready. In one particular lesson this past week we were in the chapel teaching the Plan of Salvation. We went on an unplanned tangent about Baptism and what it means to be baptized and the covenants and preparation needed. We went to Mosiah 18: 8-10 and taught him that he was ready. After that we invited him to continue praying about the 30th of September. Then, Elder Stanford promised him that if he did so, he would receive a sign from God that he needed to be baptized. At first I was thinking in my head, “Are we allowed to do that?” But the calmest feeling came into the room and I immediately knew that because of our Faith and because of AJ’s Faith the Lord was going to be able to do anything. The next day we fasted for all these investigators and I know that the Lord is watching out for all of them. I know this because he led them to the missionaries through the members of His church. I know that member-missionary work is the Lord’s most effective tool in bringing His children home and gathering them into His Kingdom. AJ hasn’t received a sign yet, but all is well with him and these other three whom we are focusing on!
This past week we were also able to go to the temple, which is the best place to be! Going to the temple with a group of missionaries is a wonderful feeling and it’s one of the greatest things I’ll miss. We went to B-dubs with some Elders after our session and it was cool because in the parking lot Elder Stanford and I had the opportunity to talk to a guy who was semi-familiar with the church. We had to go outside to get the Sisters something, and by way to missionary instinct talked to a guy who was waiting for a friend. As the conversation ended he didn’t seem interested in the church, but he seemed glad to have talked with us. That is also something I am going to miss when I go home, being able to just start a random conversation with people...but maybe I won’t have to stop that! After our long drive back we stopped in West Point to drop the other Elders off and got to go with them to talk to Chaz, one of Elder Stanford’s old investigators when he served there a year ago! It was nice to help him read a little out of the Book of Mormon and feel like we did some sort of missionary work that day!
A couple other cool stories to make note of:
We were tracting last Monday night and this one guy invited us in and right before we were about to share our message he completely went off about how we were a cult, he straight up ignored our testimonies, and he wouldn’t accept any other evidence we gave him of the truth because he had done his research on the internet (specifically youtube). We walked out frustrated. But we weren’t going to let Satan dissuade us so we knocked on the next door, were let in, and shared a great message! Those people have since dropped us but in the moment it was a testimony to press forward-even when, especially when you’re told that you believe in a cult, etc.
On Tuesday we had to go get some things from Wal-Mart and so we planned of store contacting. It was late and we were getting to the point where we had to get out of there. But, this nice old lady crossed us in the aisle and both of us stopped to talk to her. Her name was Betty and she seemed completely open to hear our message. We weren’t able to share it then but we talked about her previous association with the LDS missionaries and we got her information to meet with her again! That was our “Fourth floor, last door” experience.
Crystal was a lady that Elder Stanford and Allen had communicated with over text but was never able to visit. We send out daily scriptures to people that we want to keep Daily Contact with, but occasionally we send them to random people in our phone. Crystal was one of those random people and we finally were able to see her this week! We caught her grandma first outside her home and then she directed us to Crystal. She even called her to make sure she was going to be home before we drove down there. When we got to Crystal’s she was getting her mail and we followed her up to her trailer. Her and her four kids all over the age of 8 sat and listened to us share the Restoration with them yesterday. It was a really cool overall experience. But, the coolest part is Crystal isn’t really interested, her oldest daughter Jordan is. The Lord performs miracles but he also administers to the one!
I think I bore the most fervent testimony this week was well. We were sharing a video to a guy named Marco, and afterwards I told him how much I knew THE church was back on the earth and that this was it. Elder Bednar talks about how we as missionaries bring the message unto the hearts of those we teach, but the Spirit brings it into. Let me tell you when the messages goes straight into the person's heart you can feel it, and that strengthened my testimony even more because of how much it affirmed to me that I KNEW that this was true!
Other Random Laughs:
- After texting a daily scripture we got a text back from someone we didn’t know: “The hell is this?” is what it said.
- President Sainsbury, as he watched Elder Stanford and I get our picture taken at the temple made the comment, “Look at that, you’re backwards! The white man is in the black suit and the black man is in the white suit!”
- In Gospel Principles a lady we all call “Momma Jean” talked about how the Word of Wisdom to her wasn’t really a sacrifice at all (Sacrifice was the lesson topic). She then continued to explain that she had heard that coffee was made off cat poop, and tea was made from cow manure.
- We bought a Star Wars puzzle and it’s going to take us forever to finish it…
I forgot to mention we also went on an exchange with New Albany and they are great. Super stud missionaries and they helped us out here a lot! (We also take great pictures). It was a great week in Tupelo, MS, and I hope everyone can still see and is doing great wherever you’re at! Thanks for all you do and go out and make it another great week! As always thank you for the prayers and thank you for all you do for the Lord!
PS: Enjoy the plethora of pictures! :)
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