Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Baptism is On!

Dear Family,

This week has been a busy one, and luckily with the walking it hasn't been as hot. We are still low on miles, so our car usage is limited, but the weather is warmer so we are going to do more proselyting via calls than personal visits most likely. The best thing will be on Saturday when Angela is baptized!!! She asked me to give the talk on Baptism, which I am really honored to do. She is doing so well and I just love her spirit. Chris's dad came to Church this past Sunday!!! Yay!!! We will have to move Chris's baptismal date to the 22nd, but I think he is going to come to Church and is still pumped for his baptism. Sadly, Freddy and Carlos have not been at home when we went for our appointments, but we will keep trying and calling them.

President and the AP's have challenged us as a mission to double our baptismal invitations by September 6th. We had 2 when the challenge was given, so we will need 2-3 more. With the Lord, and a lot of work and faith on our part, we can do this! I love that we are working together as a mission to extend the baptismal commitment the 1st or 2nd lesson. Really baptism is what it is about, because it allows us to have full access to the atonement and to progress on our mortal journey to gain exaltation. There are many who say they follow Christ, and while they do, they just need to understand the why of the gospel and how it is in the restored Church that they can truly follow Christ. I want the world to know that I know this gospel and this Church is the only true church on the earth and that all the ordinances have been restored through a modern-day prophet. The Lord is aware of us and wants all of us to have full access to his atonement.
I really like what Dad said about transitions and how when we have those turning points we need to help those in their turning points. I feel that sister exchanges was one of those for me. We were on exchanges Monday to Wednesday afternoon, and I was with Sister Schott in the high desert, in Hesparia. We talked a lot about finding my purpose and who I am, and making that my focus for the next couple of weeks. I am so goal oriented and want to accomplish so much, but you and everyone else is right, I have to focus on who I am and then I can help my fellowmen. My "habit" is a lot like Angela's, and to overcome the "habit" I have to be determined and follow exactly what the Spirit and those inspired friends tell me to do: worry less and write down something good about me each night. I am starting that, actually, I am doing a "Divine Nature/Confidence Allison Mills style" Personal Progress. We will see how it goes. I just got to be diligent. I am tired of not liking myself and feeling my goals go nowhere, so I will be like Angela and stick this out!

Here is the letter I wrote to President...shows some more of what has happened this week, and why I couldn't write until today. Sister exchanges happened on Monday, and we didn't expect that. Our P-Day was scheduled for Wednesday, today, so that is why I am emailing now.

Dear President Godwin,

This past week has been wonderful! I am learning a lot about me and I am very determined to face my weakness of self-doubt. I want to like myself, and Sister Stacey and Sister Schott both advised me to use this time at the beginning of my mission to learn who I am, and what my purpose is. During sister exchanges I learned a lot more about the priesthood, and how it is everywhere and in everything! How cool is that! Also, Sister Schott taught me that my purpose is not just the missionary purpose, in what we memorize, it is also becoming converted and then converting others. True conversion takes time, and is a constant effort as we serve those around us and keep learning.

I've been reading a little more about Christlike attributes, but I really need to focus on improving how I feel about myself right now, and then I can start to focus more on those attributes any successful missionary needs to have. In my studies I am learning more the simplicity of the doctrines we teach and how vital they are for our salvation. Right now I am studying "Plan of Salvation" and I finally got an answer to a question about my purpose as a person: it is to relearn the lessons we were taught by our Heavenly parents and then labor to teach those who have not yet had an opportunity to relearn those lessons (D & C 138:56). The Lord will answer our prayers and give us impressions and revelations as we seek through study and faith. My faith has been strengthened these past few days, especially during sister exchanges. Miracles are everywhere.

One miracle happened in Hesparia, when Sister Schott and I were visiting potentials. No one was at home, so we knocked on the next door, and the lady told us she knew about Mormons and how her sister and her were ones. Her sister lives in Fontana, and I asked what her sister's name was, and she said, Karen Kagle. Well, Sister Stacey and I are teaching a less-active, Karen Kagle. Apparently Karen and her sister, Jackie, this woman we met, were visiting on the weekend and Jackie expressed a desire to meet with missionaries to receive some service. Karen told her she would pray for her, and lo and behold, Sister Schott and I were at Jackie's door a few days later! The Lord is truly over this work. I am so excited to keep learning, preaching, and extending baptismal committments. Doubling it will be a challenge, but I know that as we go out and open our mouths, those who will receive us will be found.

Sister Allison Mills

Mom--sorry no pictures this week, but next week I promise to have the pictures of Jason's cartoons, which I love, and the pictures of Sister Schott (sister exchange companion) and I. 
Get to go to the Redlands Temple next Wednesday! So I'll email on next Wednesday as well :)

(Well, even though Allison couldn't send a picture, the mission president's wife, Sister Godwin, posted a new one on the mission blog, so I'll insert it here. I think it was taken at the zone conference this past week after the new missionary orientation. Allison's standing next to her MTC companion, Sister Brinkerhoff. Sister Godwin is on the far right. Also, I'll post part of Allison's letter to her father, as well as her letter to Jason)

Dear Daddy,

I am so glad that the Hawaii trip went well and all is well in Zion (home sweet home). Please be safe on your trip to New York and have a wonderful time. The baptism is still on and Angela is inviting a lot of people and the ward is really showing their support. Sister Stacey and I prayed really hard she would have a friend, and she found one in Dana Huertas, an awesome lady in the ward who lives really close to her (same apartment complex). Are you all excited about New York? Don't stress about it Dad, I know you, and I know me. Ha ha.

What a wonderful conference...I really like what you said about transitions and how when we have those turning points we need to help those in their turning points. I feel that sister exchanges was one of those for me... 

Thank you for your testimony of the Savior. I never thought of those ordinances in that way. I may share that with Angela and those at her baptism while I give my talk on Baptism on Saturday. I am nervous, but really honored that Angela wanted me to talk on her special day. What a sweet spirit we were priviledged to meet. Thank you for being the stalwart strength that you are and for honoring your priesthood. I will marry a man just like you :)

Dear Jason,
I am doing wonderfully. I am so glad you are doing so well and having a blast with your friends. As you get older you will realize how important family and friends really are, and the material things don't matter as much. I see you are realizing that more and more. I'm so proud of the man you are becoming.
Sooo glad they fixed that mistake on the back cover! And how cool about the posters, bookmarks, and cards. Could you tell Mom to send me a bookmark?? And, please let me know how the New York trip goes!! I am so excited for you to see Lion King again, it will be fantastic. I look forward to those pictures. Please keep sending me your drawings, I love them, and I love sharing them with Sister Stacey and the other sisters when I see them.
I am very blessed to be doing the Lord's work, and your testimony strengthens mine. Jason, I am so blessed to call you brother. The Lord is really watching out for our family. We are the luckiest kids on earth!
Have a wonderful and safe weekend!! I love you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

This Is A Marvelous Work

Dear Mom,

Sounds like a great plan to me! I love getting your letters, and I really appreciated the letter you wrote. I'll keep exercising faith through scripture study and consistent prayer. I've been praying a lot lately. I'm being too hard on myself, as I often am. But I am determined to stop that, though it is challenging. Being hard on myself does not help the work, and I exhaust myself and my companion (she is being super kind and patient). I also have to remember that with Christ I can do this, and I feel Him through every letter, investigator, ward member here in Fontana, and missionaries here in the field. This is a marvelous work and I love how on board everyone is!

Good idea about the pictures. I'll take pictures of the drawings and send them to you. I haven't done that yet, so the earliest you will get those pictures is next Monday, hope that's okay :) And your book cover looks awesome! I will be honest, it looks more romantic that I anticipated, but if it get sales, hey no biggie! Thank you for Annie's address. Hopefully her dad faxed the letter to her, but if not, I'll write her, she is such an awesome person! What a sweet woman :) I'm sending some pictures via the email if that is okay?

Sister Stacey is doing amazing, and she has been really supportive of me. Every day she tells me I am too hard on myself and I am working on it, and having to be patient with myself. She is the one helping me a ton. Thank you for the support and love. I had to help her so I could be more appreciative of how she helps me. We are getting to laugh more, and I am realizing missionary work is also about being happy and growing into yourself as well.

Sadly, Freddy wasn't there on Thursday, but his brother Carlos took a Book of Mormon and we met another Freddy who also took a Book of Mormon and set up an appointment with us for this Wednesday. Chris's family was there for our second lesson, but because he hasn't come to church, we will have to move his baptism back a couple weeks, which is sad. We are teaching him the Plan of Salvation tonight, and going to talk about the importance of church attendance. Angela is still progressing and not smoking at all since we taught her a stop smoking lesson. The Atonement is so real in her life, and she is so happy which makes me so happy!! I love being around her and seeing the Atonement take full effect on a person's life.

We are also visiting a lot of less-actives and finding out their concerns and I have found that a lack of understanding of the Atonement is really why lots of people leave the church. It makes me more determined to get to know my Savior and His Atonement so I can help others come to Christ. Thank you for your prayers and testimonies. They strengthen me. Also, I LOVED getting letters from the Beehives and Sister Purcell. They are the sweetest and so full of strength and love for the gospel. Grandma Parker, Cole, Jackie, Jessie, Uncle David, and Aunt Jamie were so kind to write letters of support too. Everyone is doing great, I am glad Ashley is better and happier with herself, that Jenepher is doing so well, and that Sister Kurtz is loving North Carolina and those she serves over there.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, I have a lack of remembrance to take them, ha ha. I'll attach some on the email. I'm starting to see the need for breaks, because when I just go and go, I get overworked. Wish I would have learned that sooner while teaching. I'm so thankful for the patience of all those at Mapleton and their committment to teaching. 

I'm learning a lot, and sometimes I need to be taught the same thing multiple times, but thank goodness Heavenly Father is patient. He loves all of us, and I know His Son, Jesus Christ is so in control of this work and wants all of His missionaries to stay strong so we can bring the world full truth. For those who doubt if the Lord is in their life, think back to when you felt His hand. If it was true and good then, it is good and true now. As Jeffrey R. Holland says, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence."
With the pictures--two are of pictures from a walk to the Provo Temple while at the MTC. The Utah sign one was what Sister Stacey and I found tracting *(all the streets were named for Western states, sadly couldn't find Washingon), and then a picture of Sister Stacey and me after a long day. I'll send more this next week.

Sister Allison Mills

Sister Mills and Sister Brinkerhoff
at the Provo Temple

Sister Mills and Sister Brinkerhoff
with other sister missionaries at the MTC

Utah Ct. in Fontana

Sister Mills and Sister Stacey after a long day

(I'll also print parts from her letters to Dad and Jason)

Dear Daddy,

We had an awesome week! Lots of referrals are coming our way, and another lady is showing interest in the Church. Her husband passed away a few months ago and she has lots of LDS friends who are helping her. She is so ready to hear about the Plan of Salvation and the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You know what I love, how all the gospel doctrines are connected. Heavenly Father loves us so he wants us to have His gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We needed the gospel back and so a restoration was needed. With that restoration a modern day prophet learned and taught the rest of us about Heavenly Father's eternal plan for the happiness of His children. To accomplish that plan we need a Savior, and Jesus Christ was willing to be that for us. In order to access the full blessings of the Plan, we need to know, understand, accept, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is His gospel because Christ is the only one to live the gospel and plan perfectly. Once we understand the gospel of Jesus Christ we will want to know all the commandments and follow them so we can endure to the end and receive eternal life. Love the connections.

I've been having some frustrations with making connections, but after reading what you and Mom wrote about faith, and especially what you wrote about love, I felt the Spirit whisper to me how the doctrines are all connected. I feel your prayers all the time, and I want to be strong and good for you, but more importantly, for Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I want to learn more about Christ and better trust Him. It's been harder for me teaching than I thought it would be, and I am forgetting a lot that I knew. Sister Stacey is being so patient with me. I know, though, that this habit I have of being so hard on myself is what the Lord needs and wants me to get over now, because I won't be an effective missionary and accomplish the other goals I have until I can be happy with myself. I haven't figured out what it is going to take, but I know the Lord loves me and that as I keep going, answers will come. 

The weather is getting a bit cooler, but August everywhere is warm. Hope you are staying cool inside :) We do have a car, but we are close to going over miles, so this week we are going to do some walking and contact more people on the street. I'll make sure to wear sunscreen! Sister Stacey and I are actually really excited to do this :) 

We love eating at member's houses, and most nights we are fed, yay! I got the slip and notes, and loved them :) You are the best parents in the world, and Jason is the best artist. I am so glad he is doing well and is excited for Pathway! How is he feeling about the service mission? Did you get to see Jenepher and Phil? They sent a lovely letter with her ultrasound :D

Be safe in New York and have a lot of fun! I pray for all of you every night and am really grateful for the support I have.

Dear Jason,

I'm doing great! I really am glad you are doing so well. Just knowing that all of you at home are working so hard in your prospective fields makes me realize I need to keep working so hard. Doing the Lord's work is not easy, but Jesus Christ never had it easy, and as His disciple I should not either. It is rewarding though. I find that is the case with most things that are hard. If I put my shoulder to the wheel, I gain much more than I put out. We are having a lot of success and meeting lots of people. Angela is still progressing, and Chris will hopefully start coming to Church.

...Jason, we come from a hardworking family, so as you work hard and really focus, I know that your Life Skills class will be a wonderful opportunity. You are going to enjoy it. Don't be too nervous. Yes, anytime there is change it is scary, but you have a great heritage of hardworking family members, so just keep going :)

Are you excited for institute class? I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I find each time I read it, I gain something new, and there is still much to learn. Really prepare yourself to learn by praying beforehand to understand what the Lord is saying. The words of the Lord and the prophets will tell you all things that you need to do.

Jason, thank you for your testimony. You are a beam of sunshine in my life, and I am so proud of the man you are becoming. Pray for me that I'll be able to see myself as you see me. I can be strong huh :) I'm going to do what you said, pray to the Lord... Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ never get upset when we talk with them. I know they love us. I know families are forever, and we will be together forever in the celestial kingdom as a family as long as we stay true.


Monday, August 13, 2012

A Miraculous Week!

Hello Dear Family!

I don't have a lot of time, but I'll write what I can. I loved reading all of your letters, and hearing about Casey and Brayton. Casey is amazing and I can tell he learned a ton! Wow! I hope I can learn half as much. Thank you so much Mom for the letter from Laurel :) I will write her today and thank her for her support and example... I was really glad to get Laurel's letter and so glad she and I are experiencing the same thing...together!

I haven't yet got the letters from the Beehives, but I got a letter from Grandma Parker, which was so great. I hope you got the email with my address. With the slip, you can send it right to the address in Fontana, or should I say "Fountain" :) Hopefully Dad got the letter to Annie. So glad Kiley picked hers up. If Annie wasn't there, text her on my phone and ask what her new address is, and I can write her again. Yes, you can turn off my phone. I've got to let go of life back home, ha ha.

I am so tired all the time, but I am also very happy. There are days that are really hard and some days I really don't want to work, but I know that the Lord has helped way too much and been giving far too many miracles to give up on Him. I've been asked more about my past in Riverside, and I realize that I need to completely forgive those times when I was hurt. I've been praying a lot and really focusing on accounting to the Lord and finding out what he wants for me. I'm seeing the Atonement in action in my own life, in the life of Sister Stacey, and in my investigators... Thank you for all the prayers, we really do feel them. The Savior was truly helping... and I am grateful He allowed me to see that others' problems are way bigger than my own. I am still learning to be more humble, but I am learning a lot.

Another way the Atonement is working is through Angela, a miracle investigator. On Tuesday we got a media referral and Angela wrote that she wanted to join the Church, but didn't know how. WOW!! This was exactly perfect for a hot, anxious week. We have taught her twice, and she is reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day! Her one struggle is with the word of wisdom, but she had enough faith to ask for a priesthood blessing (some of her family are members) and she threw away her cigarettes, and she is improving so much! Yesterday at Church she told us that she doesn't feel like a smoker anymore, and that she knows the Lord is helping her and the Book of Mormon is true, because anytime she is anxious she reads and feels calm. Also, at church the Sunday School lesson was on the word of wisdom! Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need! She is progressing and is going to be baptized on September 1st! Your anniversary will be marvelous Mom and Dad, and I am so glad you are all going to New York, but I really am not jealous. This baptism is so much greater :) I'm so excited and I can see Angela's faith increasing. I will think of you often that day, and I hope you are all super safe and have a wonderful, and spiritually uplifting time as you remember those who died in behalf of our country. I'm excited Mom for England in 2014, for sure.

We were also able to have a miracle while tracting on Saturday. We decided to beat the heat (well, it was still 98, but before it was 110) and tract at 11 am. It was no mistake. Sister Stacey and I both had the feeling we needed to do that, and then we both thought of the same street to contact... After tracting most of the houses, and not finding any success, Sister Stacey told me we should go back and talk with a man sitting out in his garage. We did and realized he could only speak Spanish (wish I knew more!!), and just as we were about to leave, another man came out to the garage and introduced himself as Freddy. He listened and then when we asked him if he wanted to learn more, he said, "Sure, why not?" Oh my gosh!!! I was shocked, because that hadn't happened before while tracting. He told us to come any weekday before noon, so we are going to do that hopefully on Thursday (there are meetings Tuesday and Wednesday). I'm so excited to see him again. Sister Stacey and I left with a stronger testimony of listening to the promptings of the Spirit.

I'm learning a lot more about being patient with myself, especially that I do need breaks at times. I'm doing all I can to be 100% obedient, and some days I do fail, and I am so glad for repentance. I can do more. The doctrine of Christ is real, and I know it is for everyone. I am glad that on this mission I am learning it more and being able to teach it, because with each new teaching, my knowledge of it grows. I'm learning that when we don't forgive, including ourselves, we have a burden and can't be a true disciple. Also, that people's agency is real, and some are not ready for the gospel at this time, but you need to still share your beliefs and testimony. I'm learning what conversion is...acting on the belief that you have and then turning to others and sharing that belief and doing all you can to help them. Love is the motive for this work, and I am so glad it is the Lord's work. I wouldn't be able to do it if I didn't know it was the Lord's work. But every fiber of my being testifies it is, and it is through the atonement of Christ that I can know and heal.

Like Hermana Burrup said, the Lord will give us miracles, like He did this week (we taught 5 other lessons, without a member present, met our goal, and exceeded our goal of new investiagtors, with Angela, Chris Carillo--9 year-old boy who is going to be baptized on September 8th, the Pintor family, who have been investigating for years, and then Freddy hopefully), but we got to get out there and work, work, work. I love you all. Hope Jason's sunburn went down, but I am so proud of him!! YES JASON, YOU ROCK, for getting out there and swimming at the Ostler's. How was it? I brag about you all the time and how you are doing Pathway in the fall (lots of youth here are doing it too, including a recently returned missionary, Will Hansen, who served in the Kennewick Mission Spanish speaking).

Thank you for the emails, I really love them. I love this mission and the Lord. I'm so thankful for Sister Stacey and all that she teaches me.

Sister Allison Mills

(And here are a few tidbits from a second letter to me)

...I like the analogy you gave about how we as the Lord's missionaries are the spiritual Olympians. That makes me have a greater desire to work harder. I'm definitely being humbled, realizing I have got a lot to learn, and also, learning patience with myself and investigators who have a hard time accepting a gospel truth or principle...

I know the Lord is there for me in those times of doubt. I feel that this battle of doubt is far from over, but I feel everyone's prayers, and I feel the Spirit so strong. He is blessing my investigator's lives, He is blessing mine. I am so glad He is blessing yours, Dad's, and Jason's.

...Thank you for your support every week. We are being truly blessed out here. We have been visiting Rosemary and helping her sort out her stuff (she has a lot of stuff)! Sister Stacey and I both feel that she just needs to talk, and that giving her the lessons isn't the right thing right now, but I'll keep praying and maybe we can teach her. At least she feels peace when she is with us. I don't know for sure if she is from Italy, but she grew up in Europe somewhere. I'll have to ask her for sure where.

Thank you for the scripture, I'll keep doing the work that needs to be done. Faith will increase as I study and pray. I did get Braden's picture, and Casey's looks great as well. I'm proud of both of them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I Am So Happy!

Dear Family,
Okay Mom, you better have put that picture up on the blog of me and Sister Stacey... I love that picture. Thank you for the messages from the texts. I wrote Annie today, and later tonight I will write Kiley. I'll send the letters to our home address and can you mail them off? Let me know, or text them and say they should come by and get letters from me :) Oh Mom, I am so happy! Especially happy because I've been having dreams of my students, and I haven't heard anything from them, and I pled with Heavenly Father that I would just like to hear from one of them. Well, Ginger, she was one of my sweet students :) Text her back and tell her I love her so much and hope she has a wonderful 5th grade year, please.
So proud of you with "A Night on Moon Hill" it sounds great, and I know that lots of people are going to read it. You should do as many book signings as you can, and even in California. Tell Dad to be strong and not come to see me, I would only get homesick, and I DON'T WANT THAT. I only have a year and a half to devote my entire time to the Lord, and then I'll spend all my time helping, laughing, and (**inside family joke here**), he he. How is "School of Guardians" coming? I love that book so much!
Meeting President and Sister Godwin was such a treat, and President Godwin reminds me a lot of Dad. We greenies got to spend a day just with them and have some spiritual lessons, meet with President, and stay the night with our companions one last time. Well, when Sister Brinkerhoff and I were getting ready for bed and getting supplies from the garage where our luggage was, President Godwin turned off the lights and growled. It was so funny! Also, he used me as a lesson about always staying with your companion (even if they want to see an R-rated movie), and I totally got my teacher on. Let's just say I was an entertainment. The next day we all met our trainers, and I love Sister Stacey. She is fun, calm, and willing to work hard.
It's been a challenging, slow week, and all of our appointments with investigators fell through, but I am still keeping the faith. I know that as I am learning from Sister Stacey, applying what I learn about how to approach and teach, someone will be receptive. There are some former investigators who want us to come by, so we'll see how that goes this week. One of our neighbors, Rosemary, is hilarious, and we sing hymns with her and pray with her. She's really a devoted Catholic, though, so we'll see if she would be willing for us to "practice" the lessons on her. The ward members are great, and so kind. At dinner last night with the Rauches I found out that the wife, I can't remember her name, her aunt and uncle are Connie and Al Buyers! Oh my gosh, small world. Also, Bishop's daughter-in-law, is Beth Yates, who I worked with on mentoring for Brad Wilcox.
Sister Stacey has had a little bit of a challenging weekend. She's been feeling really stressed with training, and I am just so gung ho about everything it is wearing her down. I need to be patient and take a step back so she can get her fire back too. Her blessing last night really helped calm her, and I hope it starts going better. I just want her to be happy.
One last thing. A miracle that happened actually on the plane to Ontario. I was the only missionary to sit next to a nonmember, and his name was Malcom. We talked about his profession and where he lived, and what he does. Well, I eventually asked him about his religious beliefs and we talked about that. The spirit was hitting me really strong at that point to give him a Book of Mormon, but I was so scared. Well, after the turbulance hit hard, I knew I would regret it if I didn't extend the invitation, so I asked Malcom if he wanted to know more about Christ, and he said..."Yes I would." !!!!! Shakingly, I handed it to him, told him to read 3 Nephi 9-18 which is all about Christ and he put it in his bag. I hope he reads it!
The Church is true and I love this gospel. I love you all!

Sister Mills

(She added a couple of pictures, but they were copies of two I'd already posted.) 

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Pictures From California

(We received this wonderful, detailed letter from the wife of Allison's mission president, complete with pictures, just last night. I tried to post the pictures within the context of the letter.)

Dear Brother and Sister Mills and family,                                                        August 2, 2012

We wanted to write to you and express our gratitude to you for sharing your daughter, Sister Mills with us for the next eighteen months.  We have enjoyed meeting her.  She  is a fine young woman and we have enjoyed our interactions with her and look forward to many more.

We met the arriving missionaries at the Ontario airport. Sister Mills along with 4 Elders and one other sister, arrived at the airport about 12:30 Tuesday, July 31st.  While we were waiting for their luggage, we had a quick visit with each of them.  They were excited and just a little uneasy, (maybe more than a little) wondering what was happening next.  The assistants to the president (AP's) had been driving around the area in a pick-up truck and a van, waiting for us to call them to come and get the new missionaries and their luggage.  We called, they arrived and all luggage was loaded into the vehicles.

We left the airport with the new missionaries and a load of chairs in the AP’s truck and went to the Glen Helen Park at the mouth of the Cajon Pass.  I took a sack lunch for the missionaries to eat there. President and I talked to the missionaries and told them how the area had been settled.  The first settlement efforts were conducted by Spanish missionaries, and Spanish landowners starting about 1810.  During the U.S. Mexican war the Mormon Battalion (the only religiously based battalion in U.S. history) was organized in Iowa in 1847 and after a march through what would become the Southwestern part of the U.S. it arrived in San Diego and was eventually stationed in what would become San Bernardino and the surrounding areas.  Jefferson Hunt, a Captain in the Mormon Battalion was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as were all the members of the battalion.  Since many people call Church members Mormons, the Battalion was known as the Mormon Battalion.  Among its’ many assignment a portion of the Mormon Battalion was sent to guard the Cajon pass and protect it from possible marauding indians. After the members of the Mormon Battalion were mustered out of their service, they returned to Salt Lake City to join their families.  President Young saw that Southern California could be a valuable supply route for the Utah pioneers.  So to establish a mail route and a supply stop/route for immigrants coming through California, President Young used church funds to buy property in the desired area from Antonio Maria Lugo, a Mexican rancher who had obtained a 35,000 acre grant after Mexico won independence from Spain.  Twenty families were asked by President Young to colonize the area.  Fifteen former Battalion men and their families were among the Saint who settled in the area in 1851, including Captain Jefferson Hunt. The story of the settling the area here in San Bernardino was told in a story written by Sister Mills for the February, 2003 Ensign, if you are interested in reading more about it.


After the experience at the park we took the new elders and sisters to the mission home for a short orientation meeting.  We will do a more detailed meeting in a couple of weeks when they will have questions and be able to understand what we will need to tell them.  The office staff will be there as well to explain how things work in their areas of responsibility.    President and I spent some time with them answering questions and explaining our expectations of them as missionaries.  We also let them play ball, ping pong and just relax a while.  We took them to the mission office so they could see where their mail came to and to see their pictures and areas on the transfer board.  That evening we had dinner with them at the mission home.  We watched some safety videos the Church has made for the missionaries on car and bicycle safety.  President also talked to them a little about his expectations of them as missionaries.  He did a little role playing with them in different scenarios.  We laughed and enjoyed one anothers' company until we were allexhausted. We then had the elders sleep on mats downstairs and the two sister's upstairs at the mission home.  Everyone was exhausted and fell right off to sleep after writing in their journals.  The next morning we cooked waffles and put things away while President had initial interviews with them.  About 11 a.m. their trainers arrived and President talked to all of them about the new 12 week training program.  For lunch we cooked hamburgers and hotdogs outside and everyone ate on the patio, played ping pong and just got acquainted.   Following lunch we had a testimony meeting with them.  It is always inspiring to hear the new missionaries and their trainers bear testimony of the work they are and will be involved in and their testimonies of the Savior and His atonement.  About 4 o’clock we sent them all to their areas to begin, in earnest, their missionary efforts.  They were all happy to get out in the field to start finding and preaching the gospel.

We are looking forward to working with your missionary in this most wonderful of experiences - preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in this area.  There is a lot of diversity here.  She will learn a lot about other cultures. We know she will be a fine missionary.  She is a wonderful young woman. 

Attached are a couple of pictures we took on Tuesday, July 31 upon their arrival, and Wednesday, August 1 when they met their trainers  We knew you would be interested in seeing the pictures of your daughter and her companion.   

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either one of us. 
Also, if you do not know, we have a mission blog where I put pictures of the missionaries from time to time. I don’t have a lot of time to spend doing it, but try to update it every week or so.  I am sure your missionary will have pictures on there as we associate with them and have pictures sent to us.  The address for the mission blog is:

Warmest regards,
Sister Godwin
President Godwin