Tuesday, August 22, 2017

21 August 2017 - Elder Milius Week 60

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! 

Much Love,
Elder Milius

PS: Enjoy the plethora of pictures! :)


-- 
Godspeed,
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























Wednesday, August 16, 2017

14 August 2017 - Elder Milius Week 59

Surprise!

    Hey guys! I know I said I was going to email tomorrow because of the temple trip but things change. Being in Tupelo we are about 2.5 hours away from Birmingham, plus there are two sets of Elders that are an hour South of us who don’t have cars and need rides tomorrow. Therefore, we will be driving for 3.5 hours to the temple tomorrow, do a session, eat lunch, and 3.5 hours back home! Yay! I’ll be going from Alabama to Mississippi, to Alabama to Mississippi, and then to Alabama to Mississippi in one week. Gotta love Tupelo, MS!
    This is a great area though and I love the people here! I will miss the people in Prattville, all those great families, but Tupelo is just as good a place to be! Lyn is one of our investigators. She has been meeting with the missionaries on and off for a few years now and has a great personality haha! She’s an older lady who has a desire to get closer to God, but helping her realize that this is the way she can do that is a little more frustrating. Keshaun is a 16-year-old who is prepared. He has a baptismal date for September 02, and he’s going strong. He was found because he asked a girl in the ward on a date, she said “No,” and then he asked if he could then come to church with her. Go the girl who said “No!” Jerome is another investigator and he is also on date for September 02. He is the boyfriend of a member and she is more or less his motivation. We are trying to determine if his intentions are for her or for him but we are hoping for the best! Quantrio is hilarious and he is also the friend of a member. He is disabled and in a wheelchair but he is one of the funniest kids I think I’ll ever met. He is so optimistic and he loves coming to church so we are hoping to help him get baptized soon as well! We taught him the Restoration and he totally understood and retained all the information, that was super cool to see!
    A couple other people that we’ve run into and will hopefully be able to teach and get baptized are Nick and Annie, Fredrika, Courtney, Brittany, Marco, Bryan, Marquita, Bob, AJ, and probably some more people I’m forgetting.
    The members here are great as well. There is this awesome guy, Brother Paul, who is a blessing from God. He allows us to do our laundry at his house because we don’t have a washer and dryer. Plus he is nice enough to let us email at his house today because of all that stuff that’s going on with our P-day tomorrow. He is disabled and has a few medical issues. Best story Elder Stanford told me about this guy is that he sat through Sacrament while having a seizure. BEAST! If people say that they can’t wake up for church or anything, they just need to meet this guy. The Thordesens is another awesome family who allows us to use their gym in the mornings. The Chapmans will never let us go hungry. The Olsons are super supportive of the missionaries. And the names will go on as I get to meet more members. Bishop Westcott is great too, and the Jones’...just to name a few people!
    And...can’t forget about my companion! Elder Stanford is awesome. He’s been on his mission a while-he goes home in December. He is from Virginia and played Basketball and Football at home. He is also into things like Anime and such so he’s kinda a cool mix of a personality. But, he is a great leader, an even better missionary, and we are going to set Tupelo on FIRE! (The fire of the Holy Ghost because so many people will be ready to receive it, lol).

Some Funny Stories:
  • I said goodbye to Pauline and got a hug!
  • Lyn told me a story of the time she had the missionaries over and the Jehovah Witness came to knock on her door at the same time. She told the missionaries, “Stay here, I’m going to invite them in and let y’all talk a little bit together!” Luckily, the JWs didn’t feel comfortable coming in.
  • Brother Stanton, a member who is helping fellowship Lyn complained to us about how everyone who speaks in Sacrament meeting speaks too fast and to soft. He said he may have to talk to Bishop about it...he also slammed Lyn for not wanting to keep commitments.
  • Quanterio, in response to our question about whether God has answered his prayers before, went on about how God sent him his girlfriend. He said he was praying and praying for a girl, a white girl, to come his way. Then, long story short, she did. We were dying in the middle of the lesson!
  • More of a “cool” story is that Elder Alba from the Seventy came to our meeting we went to on Friday and we got a picture with him!

    But, before I completely forget about Prattville we did have a miracle before I left! Last Saturday we had a ward party/BBQ at a park. A member went around and rounded up all the people who were in the park and called them over to come have some food! A couple of those people were Mary and Felicia and all their kids. They are two Sisters who were brought up in foster care and were currently searching for a church home where they would feel welcome. As we ate we talked a little bit about our church and we set up an appointment for the following Tuesday to come and teach them more. Before they left, we invited them to come and attend church with us the next morning, at 9:00am. They said that they would come and all their kids seemed excited about it. The next morning before Sacrament Meeting started we didn’t see them; after the Sacrament was passed they were nowhere to be seen. Then, at about 10 minutes until the meeting was over in walked Mary, Felicia, their kids, and one of their brothers (I think). They stayed all three hours and each of them loved the meeting! But that’s not the end of the story. My last day in Prattville we had an appointment with all of them for 12:00 Tuesday. All of them were there in addition to another sister of theirs and we taught the Restoration and invited all of them to be baptized and they accepted. I hope all continues to go like it did in the first few days with Mary and Felicia and their families.
    I love my mission and I love all that I was able to do in Prattville. It was a great twelve weeks in which learned so much from companions, the members, and my Heavenly Father. My Faith has increased dramatically and I’ve seen how important and how necessary it is to have that faith in Jesus Christ and in his Atonement. I can’t wait to go to the temple tomorrow and to help hasten the work of our Father and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
I love y’all and I hope that things are going good at home! Let me know if I can do anything for you! Make it a great week!

Much Love,
Elder Milius

PS: More pictures to come next week...I don't have an SD card reader with me!


-- 
Godspeed,
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




Monday, August 7, 2017

7 August 2017 - Elder Milius Week 58

Going into Number 10!

Well, another transfer down and another area! I’ll be headed to the Birthplace of Elvis Presley: Tupelo, MS! Yep, I am crossing the border from Alabama to Mississippi! It was a good last week in Prattville though, and I’m hoping to leave some potential for Elder Foudy and Elder Canty. 
There really isn’t too much to update as far as people go. We don’t necessarily have any “progressing investigators” in Prattville at the moment but that’s going to change! We found quite a few more people we can work with who at least seem promising. And, I won’t be here to see them progress but still found them! 
This week we found a couple people named Mary and Felicia. On Saturday we had a ward party at a park with food and stuff and Mary Ann, a member of our ward, started rounding up all the other people who were at the park to come eat with us. After they came over we, being missionaries, “did our thing” I guess you could say and started talking to them both about church and what we believe. We didn’t want to bore them too much so we set an appointment and called it good and just ate and fellowshipped with them (they are sisters) and their kids! Somewhere in the conversation though they talked about how they hadn’t been in church for a while and how they were looking. Mary Ann, the lady who pulled them in, told them basically her testimony about how God works with the things we call “coincidences.” Following that we invited them to church and they accepted. Fast forward to 9:00 Sunday morning, the meeting started with not as many people as usual. (The ward times changed so that’s somewhat understandable...ish). 10 minutes to the meeting ending Mary Ann and Tj walk in. “Yes!” Then, 5 minutes before the meeting ended in walk Mary, Felicia, Mary’s husband, and all their kids! Then they all stayed for the next couple hours and went home! Felicia mentioned how she felt the Spirit and we are going over Tuesday afternoon to teach them more but holy miracle! I told you we ended on a good week in Prattville!
Also, Linda came to church again which was great and we’re hoping to have her over to a member’s home so we can teach her the lessons and baptized her! We found another lady named Jaquita this week as well who seems ready to come back into church and we are meeting with her later tonight. We’ve still been busy finding people to teach but hey, what are you gonna do, right?!

Some other stuff:
  • All of us got majorly sunburned from being outside all day last Monday getting attacked by dogs.
  • We went to Hoover this week to get our “Tiwi” fixed (those of you who know what that is understand how disappointed we were; those who don’t are lucky). But, we were getting it fixed with like four other companionships so we had a party in the Mission Office and one of the senior missionaries went to get us Pizza.
  • A family that moved in our ward have the BIGGEST hill going up to their house and the movers that were on the job said it was the hardest move they’ve ever done. The driveway, a.k.a. The hill, was too steep for the truck to come up the driveway so they had to move stuff by dolly up the hill. Then they got tired and moved it with a spare moving van they had. 
  • We were invited into a home by a freakin' 90 year old woman in a sports bra. Her husband couldn't hear and her dog did not like us. On our way out, which was not after long, the dog got out of her arms and almost ate us before we closed the door on it. It was a Chihuahua. 
  • Elder Foudy got bit at the door of this guy who wasn’t super interested but nice. Nice enough to go get itch relief cream and put it on Elder Foudy’s arm. After we were walking away Elder Foudy said, “I’ve never been ‘creamed’ before.”
  • We put sticky notes on the Sisters car windows. lol. Some lady almost called the Cops on us.
  • Some guy told us this week that we needed to do our research because the Mormons got kicked out of New England for practicing polygamy.
  • I ate my first boiled peanut this week.
  • Psalms 96:12...Missing Baseball.

Hope that’s decent enough information for this week! I’ll be emailing next week on Tuesday because that’s when we’re going to the temple! And, I’ll be emailing from Tupelo, Mississippi! Love y’all and hope you have a great week back in school! Take care and make it a good week! 

Much Love,
Elder Milius


-- 
Godspeed,
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















Tuesday, August 1, 2017

31 July 2017 - Elder Milius Week 57

Time keeps ticking y’all,

The transfer just seems to fly by. We get news this week about whether or not I’ll be staying in Prattville or moving on in the Lord’s vineyard of the Alabama Birmingham Mission! It’s kinda a coin toss of what will happen so Saturday will be exciting!
Not a whole lot happened this week, same old great work! We did have quite a few notable experiences with some people we met though so I’ll try my best to convey it all to you! But first I’ll update you on individuals.
We gave Ann to the Sisters who will hopefully be able to make good contact with and visit. We think it might help Ann come to church if she can get close enough to the Sisters so much so that she opens up about whatever her “experience” is that is holding her back. Pauline seems pretty involved in her own church and she hasn’t been feeling well the past week so we haven’t been able to see her but she says from her texts that she’s still reading! Courtney and Brooklyn respectfully dropped us after Courtney’s dad was a jerk. Haley wanted us to answer her questions over text without setting up an appointment. She didn’t understand why the Book of Mormon was important and I’m pretty sure she was looking up and researching anti-mormon stuff. Love it. And all the other people we haven’t been able to get in contact with. Jill is a busy lady but we were on an exchange this week and had eight missionaries over to her place on Wednesday morning to help her with her overgrown yard. We are also working on getting the ward to round up as many people as we can to help her in the coming weeks or so to hopefully knock it out and help her join the church. Selfless Service Softens Stoney Souls!! 
Corey is a guy that we met on Friday night! (He is the very exciting looking guy in the pictures I’ll send). He was talking to us on his porch and then invited us in to come talk with him. He is Church of Christ but has long had questions like “What happens to the person who dies on their way to the font?” (Church of Christ are very strict in their beliefs that you must be baptized to go to heaven). But, we went in because he wanted to know about the “whole mormon thing” and so we ended up teaching the Restoration and came back Sunday to teach the Plan of Salvation. He and his wife have two kids and they would just make the best Mormons! But Corey has kept it very intellectual and they won’t go anywhere fast if they do start to progress. But it was cool to be able to answer his questions and to see him all excited to learn about the mormons. Before we left he asked if we would take a picture with him and his wife said “I already took some and sent them to your parents.” So because of us Mormons were the topic of his family's group message. 
The second notable experience was with Linda. So, to be chronological in how we went through the story: We went to church and in talking with the Pugliani family they told us that the previous morning they were cleaning the church and someone knocked on the door and said that she wanted to come to an LDS service, that she’d never been. When we were greeting people as they walked in I spotted this older lady with her husband standing outside of the front doors that no one comes in so I quickly went and introduced myself-this is that lady who knocked on the door. We introduced her to the Pugliani’s as well as a few other members and Linda had a great time throughout the meeting. Unfortunately she didn’t want visitors to come because of her husband who she feels wouldn’t appreciate it (he just dropped her off and left). But the Sisters walked her out from Relief Society after church and found out that the reason she decide to come was because of a pamphlet she found in a book in the Dollar Tree.  (This is the craziest part). Two days or so prior the Sisters found a book in Dollar Tree entitled “The Purpose of Life” and so they placed a random Plan of Salvation pamphlet in it. Linda found their pamphlet and came to church!! What?!?!? Best part to the whole story is that morning we saw a member walk into church, Sister Sanders, who was an older lady when she joined the church and I made the comment that old people usually never join the church. Sister Sanders quickly became Linda’s fellowshipper and I want her to get baptized just to top off that story! Like what?! 

  • We played spoons on Monday and I got make-up all over my shoulder.
  • I learned a lot about baseball this week because there were many opportunities to use it as a contact! Whether I saw a Boston hat or a New York hat. 
  • We went to visit Shannon before leaving Wetumpka on Tuesday; they haven’t changed much.
  • Best. Joke. Ever.
“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“I eat Mop.”
“I eat mop who?”
“Lol. You eat your poo?!”
  • We contacted people by asking them a survey about their beliefs in God. It’s amazing that people answer in the affirmative when you ask them “If God revealed more of his word in scripture would you read it?” and then reject the Book of Mormon.
  • I saved a dog that was running in the middle of the road.
  • Elder Foudy called me “gentle.”
  • We tracted “Candlestick Park.” It was a trailer park with all the streets being named after baseball teams.
  • I sang a solo in church on Sunday (Sister Franklin made me do it-she’s pictured as well).
  • I was told by Bishop’s son, who loves BYU more than anything else and to him everything else is inferior, that A.S.U. (Arizona State University) must stand for “A Stupid University.” Ouch.
  • We are now using the word “solidarity” to describe how solid investigators are.
  • Apparently Jeopardy has a question about the “three parts of the Bible” being the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon. I don’t know if I believe that but it’d be cool! 
  • Oh, and we got chased by dogs today and I tried our very own fried catfish! 

What a week! I can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for us this coming week! I’m sure it will be just as good as this last one! I love you guys from all over and if you need anything from me let me know! Take care, and make it a good week!

Much Love,
Elder Milius


-- 
Godspeed,
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