Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Dearest Family,
This week we had 4 Thanksgiving meals! Oh I am so stuffed, and still stuffed! One was a wonderful breakfast with the Giffords, dinner with the Howell's, and then 2 investigator families had us over. I'll send more pictures via the flash dirve for a Christmas gift :)

We had a pretty busy first half of the week. A huge highlight was meeting with Miguel, a new investigator. He has made a lot of changes in his life and expressed a desire to be baptized! We were taken aback and very excited to invite him to baptism. His eyes were lit up and he wants to learn all he can to be prepared for his baptism. He is so cool, and he even cooked for us! We didn't have a dinner really planned that night either, so little did he know he answered a prayer. I am really impressed with him and how he desires with all his heart to leave his past behind, his friends who bring him down, and then be around those who will lift him up.
The prayers you gave for Angela have really helped. She agreed to meet with us, and I'll admit, I went in very mad that she was willing to give up all that she knew because of a word, but I was truly humbled as we met with her. Her concerns go far beyond where her uncle is, and this month has actually been extremely hard for her. The past has a way of haunting us, and it really takes totally relying on the Lord and giving him the fear to move past the doubts. She desires to feel the happiness she felt when she was baptized and is not giving up. We asked her to start reading again, and her excitement to tell us when she did was joyous. Her motivation to keep trying is inspiring. What a strength she has and is.
Thank you for the prayers for Sister Borges too. We haven't had an opportunity to see her last week, so we are going to try again this week.
The Owens children were baptized on Saturday, and though there weren't many in attendance, the family was so happy. It was the first time for Brother Owens baptizing and it was such a sweet experience. Tylor had to be baptized a few times until he was fully immersed, but both were baptized and are now official members of the true Church. Yay! It is wonderful to see how this brought the family together, and that they are wanting to progress in the gospel even more. It hasn't been easy for them, but like Dad said, turning to the Lord in those times of trial is the way we come to know the Savior and the atonement. 
Thank you to Kathy Mills, Lisa Dalgren, and Ashley Chamberlin for the letters this week.  
~Sister Allison Mills

P.S.--Jason looks great!!! HE is FIERCE! And I loved the cartoon :)

(We had sent her a picture of her brother exercising, along with another of his Sister Mills cartoons.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Two Weeks Is A Long Time

Dearest Family,
Dad--yes, just send the package to the mission office, that would be easiest. And, if I need to get another coat, I will. I've bought some cardigans for the cooler weather, so my checking account is going down, but hopefully there is still enough :)
Mom--I will start doing that in my gratitude journal...
Okay, now for the highlights and miracles of the week (sorry I don't have much time, and I still have to write president)
We had a high number of goals, because we are commited to winning a trip to the temple with the Zone Leaders, and we met them all!! For the past two weeks we have met and gotten 3-5 new investigators, made 80 contacts or so (51 this last week!!!!) and 24 member referral requests. The ward can tell we have caught fire, and they are excited in helping us with the work and seeing these people we are teaching enter the waters of baptism. Some of the new investigators are not easy to get a hold of and we haven't had much luck teaching them, but I know that as we pray to find ways to see them and teach them, the Lord will provide, if it is His will.
Okay, so for the investigators...
L. H. is doing really well and getting more excited for her baptism. Thank goodness we went over the baptismal interview questions because for our next lesson the family let out a huge secret, that L. and M. aren't legally married. After talking with President Godwin we found the way for them to get married, and not to be worried that L. will be deported (she's not a legal cititzen). M. was really giddy the next time we saw him and you can tell the marriage is going to happen. L. is so glad to be able to still be baptized on December 1st. She is a marvelous woman and has a lot of faith. M. is making changes too and willing to pay tithing.
Esai is a new investigator we met last week as we were leaving the library from emailing you. He thought we were library workers, and then we started talking to him about the restored gospel. He really seemed interested and we set a return appointment. In that first appointment he accepted baptism and the next day came to church and loved it! There was a perfect fellowshipper for him, Will, and we thought all was great. Well, a few days after the 2nd lesson, Esai told us he doesn't want to be baptized, and that he was done. We continued to text him and encourage him, and then shocker, on Sunday he showed up at church. His initial intention was to give us back the Book of Mormon we gave him, but we convinced him to stay for Sacrament, and then during 2nd hour he told us his real concern (and it is not about being Catholic). He doesn't believe there could be a modern day prophet like Moses on the earth. We had a little lesson about prophets and told him to ask the Lord if there could be a prophet on the earth today. We hope he does.
We haven't been able to see Veronica this week, and in a text she sent us, she has been struggling. It seems as soon as someone decides they want to be baptized and progress, the adversary comes in with full force. We are doing all we can to see her, but still no luck. Pray for her that she will open up to us with any concerns that she has and that she can be baptized on December 15th, the day we set for her.
Some other people who are needing our prayers and fasting: A. had a mental breakdown this last Monday and for a week was in a mental hospital. She had decided she didn't want to be a member anymore and then the next day she opened up to us that she was seeing visions and hearing voices. Luckily, she is on better medicine and coming home today. I think she wants to be part of the church again. Also, another woman we were visiting, Cindy Borges, lost her husband this Tuesday to cardiac arrest (totally unexpected). She is broken and really questioning if her husband knows she loves him. But she knows Sister Stacey and I can help her. She's been less-active for years, but I think this experience is helping her to come back. Could you put both their names in the temple?
I'm so grateful for the people we are teaching and how they use us for spiritual strength. It is exhausting, but so worth it. Jesus Christ must have been the most tired missionary ever! Yet, those days are the days that I feel the most fulfilled and happy. I am grateful for all the prayers and love I feel from family and friends. I will think of you a lot this week, and know that I am there in Spirit.
Sister Allison Mills

(Here are some pictures she included in the email. One is of their car, another in their new apartment, and the third was with another missionary, Sister Adney--they did Sister Exchanges last week, which was why we didn't get her regular email...that, and Veteran's Day being on their regular P-day.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Lot of Help From the Lord

Dear Family,
So glad you are doing well, Mom, and got home safe and sound! Also, I admire you so much, so determined to finish Guardians and setting those goals and accomplishing them so you can reach them. I want to be more like you. I'm more determined after reading your letter to meet my goal that the Lord has asked me to try for which is 10 baptisms by the end of the year. Sister Stacey and I are having a lot of help from the Lord and we are meeting more people who are showing an interest in the gospel. Some highlights from the week are: (next week I'll write more, but there isn't as much time today)
~We got a media referral for Veronica Frando who lost her daughter to cancer and had a lot of questions about life after death, and we were able to answer her questions through the Spirit. She is excited to keep meeting with us.

~We set a baptismal date with Tyler Owens and his sister Nosa (November 24th)--two children from a less active family who want to be baptized. Much like the situation with the Carrillo's, and their parents are showing an interest in progressing in the gospel too

~Ward council went really well and, as directed by President Sears and with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we were able to come up with names that we can focus on to rescue. I learned from that the importance of counseling together and really focusing on the person and their needs. Even cooler was the fact that members of the ward council were going to those people or their family members before church started and friendshipping them. President Sears was right when he said that the real work comes after the meetings.

~We met Wisdom Gonzalez--a daughter of a less active woman in our ward and set a baptismal date with her. Sadly, she moved out of her mom's house this week and we aren't quite sure where she is permanently. Hopefully her baptism will still happen.

~Set a lot of appointments with people

~Manny Hernandez (in our ward)'s wife has started taking the lessons and has a baptismal date as well! She knows that she has to come to church and together we had a fast that her boss would allow her to go to church--and he did for this next week. Fasting, coupled with a focused prayer works miracles.

~I survived my first Bible bashing!

~We met Itzel, who really wants to learn more with her family from the Spanish Elders, and she could tell that we had the truth because of our smiles.

~While helping the Elders in another ward with finding, we met Mario and taught him the restoration and answered some questions just in a park. He gladly took the Book of Mormon and wants us to come over for dinner and to continue talking about the Book of Mormon. His big hang up is that he doesn't believe there is a God, but we told him to pray to Heavenly Father and ask if there is a God, and his answer will come. He seemed open to reading and asking.
I really like what Elder Clarke said--The Book of Mormon is truly the best book and should be used often. Also, it is in service you find happiness. I look at my companion and how she serves me by listening to me and how the zone leaders serve me by humoring my quirkyness, and I know that they are happy because they are anxiously engaged in a good cause. This work is very overwhelming and I still don't really have an idea about what I am doing, but the best days are those when I am focused on others.
Sister Mills