Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Fast Time Has Flown!

July 25, 2012

Dear Family,
Hello! I can't believe how fast time has flown and that in less than a week I will be serving the Lord in San Bernandino! It's been incredible here, but before I get into all that, I wanted to thank you, Mom and Dad, for sending me letters (and actually Dad, DearElder is you write on the internet, and it sends it personally to me in a letter, so I would love that, and it's cheaper), and for sharing all those photos from the funeral and with Jason and Braden. He looks great and I have no doubt he is going to be a major influence in the Church. 

Poor Carolyn! She is having rotten luck with her feet. Was it the same foot that she broke just a few months earlier? I admire how she still smiles throughout it all. What a beautiful ceremony for remembering the amazing woman that Grandma was. Thank you for giving me the details so I could be a part of it. I know she appreciated it, and that she is doing well. You have been very busy as a family, and I am sure you, and the cats, are glad you are all home :) 

You asked a few questions Mom, so here are some answers. The Provo Temple was closed since the end of June, and then miracle of miracles, it opened today! So our district had the opportunity to attend the temple at 7 am this morning, our last time to go to the Provo Temple before we all depart. I'm so glad it opened today, what a blessing from the Lord. One of the sisters in our district's grandma even works at the temple, and she was working when we went. What an amazing reunion. I know that is what Heaven will be like. 

My companion, Sister Brinkerhoff, is from Michigan, but was born in California like me. She has five sisters, so 6 girls and no brothers :) Her dad takes it all very well. One of her sisters served a mission, and her mom did, as well, to the Philipines. I'm so impressed with her, she has been working and going to school at LDS Business College for the past two years, and she has the best smile. 

We really are starting to take off on the work, and our investigators are progressing. One of our investigators, Becca (acted by our teacher Sister Hoopes), who is a devout Methodist, understands the reason for praying to ask for answers, and she has had wonderful experiences with getting feelings of contentment and with the Book of Mormon. Sister Brinkerhoff and I both felt right before the lesson ended that we should extend the baptismal invitation, but doubt clouded us, and we didn't! I learned a valuable lesson--when the Spirit tells you to do something that will bring souls closer to Christ, DO IT! I felt horrible, because Sister Hoopes told us if we would have asked, Becca would have committed. We get one more chance to teach her on Monday, and we are going to invite her then :)
I love studying the Book of Mormon, and Preach my Gospel. I'm learning so much about Jesus Christ, and how often in the Book of Mormon the words, "come unto me" and "the doctrine of Christ" are used. I've started highlighting based on God's love shown, the doctrine of Christ, the commandments, and any testimony of Christ's life and ministry. When I get back, you'll see Jason's scriptures with rainbow colors, ha ha. I am sending back my large scriptures, so you should get a package in a few days. I just feel like I want the little scriptures for my mission, so I can highlight them with the intent to bring souls to Christ.
Devotionals are amazing, and I love Sundays! We watched "Character of Christ" by David Bednar and oh my goodness, it changed my whole outlook! Christ was the perfect example of always reaching outward, especially in times when he had every right to look inward and feel sorry for himself. To become like Christ, we must look outward, and through the Atonement, put off the natural man, and become a saint, for the natural man is an enemy to God (Mosiah 3:19). It also answered my question, "How do I know I am converted?" Elder Bednar said that if we are constantly worrying about being converted and how we are or not, we will never be converted. The way to conversion is being a good girl or boy, using the Atonement, and looking outward, and helping others increase their faith. I love that! I'm so excited to serve and reach outward.
I did see Jon Burrup, but not Paul Amparan. It was so great seeing a family friend--and Jon taught a wonderful lesson on how the Atonement and the Restoration are complements of each other. There would have been no need for a Restoration without the Atonement. We truly are testifiers of Christ, and this is His Church.
George is still progressing, and is working on being baptized. He wants to continue discussing the Plan of Salvation and baptism for the dead. Sister Brinkerhoff did an amazing job teaching how the Atonement is the central part of the plan of happiness. What a glorious plan it is! I know this is the true Church and that Jesus Christ suffered for my sins, and was resurrected so I could be too. He has shown the way to become, and I know the Atonement is real. I'm applying it every day. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he was the means through which Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ could restore this Church. President Monson is the prophet today. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me. When I fear, they are there to comfort, as I pray to them.
Dad--thank you for being an inspiration to me of happiness and never giving up. Thank you for your example of hard work and peacemaking. You are my hero!
Mom--thank you for sharing your talent of writing with me, your letters, poems, and everything make me smile and know I am loved and I do have goodly parents.
Jason--keep having a great time at institute, and make sure you are reading the Book of Mormon every day! It truly testifies of Christ and is the truest, best book on EARTH!
(I don't know how to attach photos, and my time is almost up.) There are some cute photos of Sister Brinkerhoff and me in front of the temple, but I'll try again next Wednesday to send you pictures. I'm so sorry! Please forgive. Know that I am doing well, and am very happy!
Oh, I will be at the airport next Tuesday by 9:30, and through security by 10:30 hopefully. My flight leaves at 11:30, so I will give you a call from the airport as close to 10:30 Utah time as I can. I can't wait to talk with you. I know you go to the temple on Wednesday morning, so I can always leave a message. I love you! The Church is True!
Mom--tell Annie and Kiley hi and I love them, and if I don't write them this week, for sure, next :)
Sister Mills 

Blessed to Serve and Preach


Dear Mom,

I love you so much. Thank you for your poem, letter, and for your prayers. Thank Dad for his note and love and example of peace. I'm glad Jason had a fun swim party :) I need to study again soon, but I wanted to let you know that I've been truly proved this week. Thank goodness the Lord is merciful and forgiving...I think the doubts came when I worried why I wasn't focused, couldn't teach, and Satan grabbed hold. The weekend, prayers and love from God prove otherwise. I know He lives! I'm blessed to serve and preach...I love you!! Tell the Mills family I love them so much.

Sister Mills

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Church Is True!

Dear Family,
Thank you so much for the letters and prayers! Your testimony and all the friends I have had who have written me letters (including Brad Wilcox, which is super special) lift my spirits. I'll need to keep in mind that if I don't write all the family and friends who wrote me, that is okay, but I am so grateful for them...Brad Wilcox, Grandma and Grandpa Parker, Jenepher Roberts, Heather Holdsworth, Jessica Simpson, you, Dad, Jason, and Richard and Devie...  There are some things if you could send from home I would love, but I'll write about that in the other letter.
So much is on my mind. Part of me wonders if you want to post a lot on the blog. All of your faith is amazing and I've been helped a lot this week, especially by my companion and the Lord. My companion is Sister Brinkerhoff, and she is going to San Bernadino too! (Interesting about San Bernandino, the people there are being prepared.) We are very similiar and she has such a firm belief in this gospel. Our roommates all left on Monday and Tuesday this week, going to different parts of the United States. They were really sweet and encouraging. Today, we get 4 new Sisters in the room, all arriving today! My teachers are amazing, Brother Austin (whom I knew at BYU :D) and Sister Hoopes, who is so full of spiritual power. They have taught us more about the doctrine of Christ, and I really liked reading it in class from 2 Nephi 31. I'm learning that there is a balance in everything, but you know me so well, I am getting stressed out really easily. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I've been really humbled. There is so much of the gospel I don't know, and my testimony is being tested quite a bit. The MTC though is an incredible experience! We have had wonderful devotionals and Sunday services. Yesterday, Elder Featherstone gave a devotional about what he would tell missionaries, and the main message I learned was that the prophets would die for this Church and they serve with all their heart and might, even when they are depressed, stressed, lonely, sick. I love that.
Well, one week has passed, and I've been learning to use the Atonement more than ever. I make so many little mistakes that need to be corrected, but as it says, "Come unto me." I will come to Christ and keep changing. One of the hardest parts is getting to bed on time and making sure I am focused. Sadly, there is no running at 6 am. I may suggest to my companion that we do the early morning fitness class, but she doesn't really like to run, and we love sleep, ha ha. Maybe another Sister coming will like to run, I think it will really calm my nerves. It never seemed hard for me to stay focused before this mission, but it is extremely hard. I am getting the routine more and learning that personal study now has to be focused on others. That was a challenge for me, as well, since the way I studied before the mission won't work for the investigators. Sister Hoopes advised our district to read the Book of Mormon or anything from the scriptures and PMG with a question in mind. I am starting to do that more, and yesterday, my companion and I had an amazing teaching experience.
We taught George, or actually he taught us. He is an amputee and not a member...yet. After he almost died and was very angry about his leg, he prayed to Heavenly Father and he received an answer as to why it happened. His heart is so open to the gopsel and the Spirit was so abundant. Sister Brinkerhoff and I taught toghether as one, instead of one speaking, then another, like we have always done. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and probably the highlight of the MTC. I know that more will come as I continue to study the gospel, pray with faith, and develop Christlike attributes.
Knowing Grandma has passed was hard to hear, and actually right before I was called in to the branch president, I said a prayer she would be alright. But like Dad, I know she is happy and with Grandpa and Heavenly Father, furthering the work up in the Spirit World. I hope the service is amazing, and that you arrive safely in Utah. You are all in my prayers. Thank you for thinking of me always. I know this Church is true, that the gospel is the only way to come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that Their arms of mercy are always extended. It is through others that we usually feel it. I'm excited to preach this amazing truth to the world.
If you could send me letters through that would be great, I'll get them quicker. P-Day is on Wednesday :) I love you all!
The Church is True!
Sister Mills 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We finally got word that she arrived safe and sound in the form of a brief note from Allison mailed on July 12th: Dear Family, I arrived here safe and happy at 11 a.m. The food is delicious (don't worry, Dad, not as good as yours) and I love my companion, Sister Brinkerhoff. She's going to San Bernardino too! I love the gospel and love you all! Love, Sister Mills

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1 Week

Hello everyone! In 7 days I will report to the greatest training center in the world, the MTC! I am filled with various emotions; a little scared, a little nervous, a little sad to say goodbye to my family, but a lot excited to begin this new chapter. Really, this is still like a dream to me, for I never thought I would choose to serve a mission for my church. But, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and through different experiences and nudges, I know that this is what I need to do to progress. More importantly, this is what the Lord wants and needs me to do.

About 6 years ago, my family and I moved from Riverside, CA to Richland, WA, and I thought that I was done with CA for the rest of my life. Little did I know that I would be called to go back and serve the people of San Bernandino. It was shocking when I received the call, and I was a little disappointed. I thought for sure since I had lived in Riverside for 15 1/2 years, I would NEVER go there! But, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and called to California I was. I took the advice of a dear friend, Mercedes Kurtz, who is currently serving in North Carolina, that I needed to trust God and know my call was not just a practical joke.

A month after receiving and accepting the call, I went to go visit my cousin and grandparents in Oceanside, CA, which is about an hour from where my mission headquarters is. While there in sunny and beautiful California, a feeling of peace enveloped me, and I knew that this was the place the Lord wanted me to be for the next 18 months. Amazing how I wasn't even in my mission zone, and I knew that California was right.

Happy July 4th, the birth of our amazing nation. I'm so glad I was born in this land of freedom.