Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27th, 2010 LETTER

Dear Family and Friends,


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year one and all!!! I hope your Christmas' were bright and your New Years will be full of festivities. Here in Houston we had a Wednesday celebration as the Texas Houston Mission. All the Missionaries in our mission gathered for a large service project. We gathered food for N.A.M., hung up donated clothes at N.A.M., and cleaned the highways. Following which we had activities such as gingerbread house decorating, Ultimate Frisbee, Rope Pulls, Stickpull, and Cowchip throwing. The Cowchip throwing was very interesting because we were using frozen meat pies that were frozen in the beginning but near the end... Let's just say that there were some disgusting smears on peoples hands and shirts. Then we had a wonderful Christmas devotional full of missionaries singing and talks given by the Area President (I think that is what he is called. The guy over all the Stake Presidents.) and his wife. This took up our whole day Wednesday. Then on Christmas Eve we just had District Meeting and went out for lunch afterwards as always. Oddly enough unlike Thanksgiving where we had four dinners we had zero for both Christmas and Christmas Eve. So instead we did our weekly planning on Christmas Eve. We got a call around 6 p.m. from one of the recently returned sister missionaries in the ward. She invited us to a party at her inactive Dad's house.

In the Hispanic culture they usually have a late devotional on Christmas Eve, they eat lots of food, open all of their presents at midnight, and then dance the night away. We were going to do the little devotional. It was a trial to get there. Our car needed gas so we stopped to get gas. It was pouring outside. Then our car told us it that a tire needed to be pumped up. So in the rain we are trying to pump up our tire. I nice gentleman stopped to help us. We gave him a card of course. Then we get back into the car and the car still says that our tire needs air. We think our car is having a little bit of a problem electrically. Our vehicle coordinator told us that our car has been recalled for that reason and we needed to take it to a Chevy dealership. Anyway, we get on our way and get to the house. Only to find that they pushed back the party to 9 p.m. So we couldn't teach a lesson. But they had some food ready for us. So we ate while they finished getting ready for their night and then we left. Christmas day we had a normal morning except we opened up all our presents. Then we went to the Mission Home for crepes that afternoon. We came home because we were not allowed to proselyte or go out unless we had appointments. We had none, not from lack of trying. But all the Hispanics were busy and or sleeping off the night before. So we came home, called our families, and just chilled. I ended up sleeping until the next morning.

I absolutely loved talking to my family. They are so wonderful. As I like to say my family may not be perfect, but they are perfect for me. I pray for all of you and wish you the best this Holiday Season.

Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, December 20th, 2010 Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Merry Christmas on and all!!!! I hope everyone has happy plans for Christmas. If you don't go find some. There is so much to do. Everyone keeps telling me that what a great opportunity I have to focus on the Savior so much this Christmas season. I don't know what they are talking about. I have always focused on the Savior at this time of year. And I actually miss the opportunity to get presents for those that I love, including the Savior. I had a tradition of giving a gift to the Savior every Christmas. But this year I am struggling to come up with one. Everything I do every moment of every day is for the Savior so I don't know.

As for the work this week. Ana was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this last Sunday. The bishop confirmed her and all the single adult males that she grew up with who had the priesthood were in the circle. It was such a cool experience. She said she felt the spirit so strong. Stronger then when she was baptized. This actually makes sense because I baptism is not complete without the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We have a new family we are teaching. I think I may have told you about them in my last letter, but just in case. They have a little 3 year old boy and a 2 month old girl. They live in this trailer that has no heat. Brrr... a little cold. They use a space heater. They are doing pretty well at progressing. They have so much interest in the gospel. The mom especially loves what we teach her.

Other than that it has been a pretty normal week. The only difference is everyone basically wants to put the lessons they are taking on hold until after the holidays. You would think people would be more willing to listen to our message during the holidays. Nope that is a lie. People are less willing to listen. Also, unlike Thanksgiving where everyone wanted us to come over and eat. Christmas we haven't received a single invitation. Christmas is special and everyone just wants to focus on family. I can't blame them. But we have some special activities this week in the mission to make up for the lack of lessons. I think the mission planned these activities for this week just for this reason. But I will tell you all about the activities next week.

Love,

Hermana Alaina Mills

P.S. I just want to thank everyone who has sent me their Christmas cards or a package for Christmas. You have no idea how those little things have been lifting my spirits. So thank-you. May God be with you this Christmas season.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, December 13th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Wonderful and Crazy news from Texas!!! We had a baptism on Sunday for one of our investigators. Her name is Anna. She has kind of been involved in the church since she was young. Her friend would invite her to young women actives and she would go each week. When her friend whose name is Claudia went on a mission Anna came to the farewell. Then Claudia wrote a thank-you note to Anna for being her friend while she was on a mission. This was a big help to Anna at the time. So Claudia got home from her mission in July. Anna and Claudia have been hanging out and going to single's activities. Most of Anna's friends are members. Claudia decided she should invite Anna to come to church sometime. Well, she came and after had a lot of questions. Claudia has been very careful not to just dump on her everything there is to know. She just gives her enough info. Perk of being a missionary. She waited for Anna to ask to learn more. So the beginning of this transfer we got the call that Anna wanted to take the missionary lessons. The first lesson was Wednesday last week. She has been coming to church for the past 2 months. We have been having lessons like every night. Anna loves the lessons. She is just so "hungry" for the gospel. Her baptism was this Sunday. Only a week and a half since we got the first call. Its is such a testimony builder to me that people are ready. We just need to be patient and wait for their heart to be ready.

We have also found a new family to teach. They have such potential. They have 2 little little kids. One must be 2 because he is a "terrible two" if I ever say one. The little girl is only 2 months. The mom loves our message. We are so excited to be teaching a family. We still have lots of other investigators. We have a man whose older son and wife are members. We are working with this man and his nine year old younger son. His nine year old is ready for baptism. But the Dad wants to find out for himself if the church is true. I think the thing that interest him the most is the being married forever and being sealed to his family. He and his wife have such a good relationship. But Satan is working hard and giving this man some big problems in his life that he has to deal with to distract him from finding out. We pray for him. We are working hard here in Houston. It doesn't even feel like Christmas without the snow. And we are still having days in the 70's. I think my mission is going to turn into feeling like just a long summer. I like all the Christmas lights. Because I am in a richer area more people have lights and Christmas trees. I am glad because this has always been one of my favorite things about the holidays.

I just want to thank everyone who has sent me Christmas cards. I love looking at the pictures and reading how everyone is in their family. So thank-you to those of you who have sent me your Christmas card. I hope everyone stays safe and happy this holiday season.

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Friday, December 10, 2010

Monday, December 6th, 2010 LETTER

Dear Family and Friends,


Can you believe that it is December?! I know I can't, especially with this weather we have here. This week we have had an average of 50s to 70s degree weather. It feels like Fall. If you know me well you know how I love Autumn. So winters in Texas are easy. Everyone is saying how cold it is. Everyone has there coats, gloves, and scarfs on. I on the other hand am wearing the same thing I did in the summer. The only difference is on occasion I will put on my hoodie at night and my rain jacket. My rain jacket is really just like a rain poncho. Everyone thinks I am crazy. Then I tell them where I am from and they just nod and say "Oh that is why." So this has been the first week in this new transfer with my new companion. This transfer will include Christmas and New Years. First, about "killing" off my old companion. We woke up tuesday morning as usual and Hermana Hastings all of a sudden got really nervous to go home. She kept saying she didn't know what she was going to do with herself when she got home. It is like she was so happy to go home all transfer and at the very end she realized what that meant. But I took her to the office with all the craziness of transfers. Lots of people at the office changing companions and with luggage(sp.?). I got my new companion and we head out. Pretty much the first night we dropped off her stuff and went to work. Now that I am the only one who knows the area I realize how much I do know. I am also the designated driver which means that I drive everyday again like I did my first 2 transfers.

So about my new companion. Her name is Jenny Bullock. She is the youngest of 4 children. She has 2 sisters and 1 brother. She is very happy all the time. I have never met someone who is happy all the time. It is exhausting just to watch. She is the same "age" in the mission as my trainer was. So this is her 9th transfer which means she has been on her mission now for over a year. She only has three more transfers after this one with me. She will be going home in May. Hermana Bullock loves being a missionary. She has still kept that "greenie fire" as they call it. She is not afraid to commit everyone she meets to baptism. We will do a lot of good here in this area with her here. She struggles with her spanish though. So actually I am using my spanish a lot more than before. Everyone tells me I have really good spanish for someone who has been out as long as I have. By the way I have now been on my mission for 6 months!! It is harder to see improvement in yourself when you talk with natives. But I don't give up and keep going.

We have some exciting news. We received a referral from the ward the tuesday that we changed companions. Her name is Anna. She is a friend of many many people in the ward. She grew up coming to activities, but never church. So when her friend came home from her mission, (Her friend is a recently returned missionary in our ward named Claudia), she invited her to church. Anna had just broken up with a long time boyfriend and was completely prepared to make this change in her life. We have been teaching her a lot this whole week. She plans on being baptized on the 18th of December. The ward has been great with helping fellowship her. Also our new ward mission leader is very enthusiastic about the work. We expect some good changes to happen in the ward to help the work go more effectively forward.

I keep working hard. I miss and love all of you. I hope all of you are safe and happy this Christmas season.

Love,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 LETTER

NOTE: This letter just came through today. To see Alaina's most recent letter scroll down to the next entry. Thank you for supporting our wonderful Hermana Mills!

Dear Family and Friends,


It cannot seriously be time for Christmas decorations. There is no snow. There is still green grass and leaves on the trees. This different climate is messing with my sense of time. This next week begins the last week in the transfer. The last week in the mission for my companion. So next transfer I am pretty sure I will be here again. I will be the only one in the mission who knows about the area what with my companion going home. So I am pretty sure I will be getting a new companion. Ha ha ha. Sorry being on the mission makes you a little strange. Starved for entertainment and all. But you are so happy at the same time. The spirit is so strong with this work.

This week we worked a lot with children and youth. We have several 8 year olds and 9 year olds that we are teaching. We have other investigators as well, but this week we just seemed to focus alot on the children. We also found 2 new investigators through a youth we are working with. The youth is a very less-active who doesn't remember anything. Not even who Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are. So we had a lesson with her and her friends were there. They loved the lesson. At first they were pretty aprenhensive as youth are. But the spirit was there and they opened up. The youth came to mutual night and had a great time. She knows some of the members from school. We have great hopes for her and her friends.

We had Zone Conference this week as well. Zone conference was great!! We use to have them every transfer, but now only every quarter. So we won't have another until March. (I got a candy-bar for my birthday. Birthday is not until February.) I got to see one of my companions from the MTC. I think I was an answer to her pray. She has a very amazing companion. And I think my old companion was comparing herself to her companion. This is always bad. Never compare yourself to anyone. Each one of us is special and unique. We all have our talents and our own ways of doing things. Being different doesn't make you a bad person. We don't need to try to fit some kind of cookie-cutter person. We are just asked to do our own personal best in being like the Savior and following his commandments. I also received an answer to a question I had. I didn't even ask the question and President followed the spirit and answered my question. He was giving his remarks and decided on the spot to say something he felt impressed to say. This was my answer. I am so grateful to a President who follows the spirit and is a great example to me. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves and knows me so well. I am grateful for all the friends and family I have been blessed with.

Let us all show more love to one another.

Hermana Alaina Mills

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010 LETTER

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! So I was invited to 4 dinners for Thanksgiving. We ended up eating with 3 on the day of Thanksgiving and the last the following evening. We first ate a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a very very less active family. It was great. There was turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls, and apple pie. The non-traditional items included; stuffing (but mexican stuffing) with peppers and stuff, green beans, and rice. This family loved having us over. We teach the mom and the oldest daughter. The Dad is not a member, but has no time for us. But he likes us a lot. He is very friendly. Then we went to a dinner with a family in the ward. It was traditional food but not prepared in a traditional way. We had turkey with some tomatoe something or other marinated on top, rice with corn etc, french bread, yams(which were actually traditional), and a mexican salad. It was a salad but everything was chopped weird and it had things like celery in it. Then we went to the last dinner with the second counselor in the bishopric. Here we had lobster, shrimp, potatoe salad, and green beans. It was all good, but I felt so heavy and sick after eating so much food. I am just now feeling like my body is starting to recover. SICK!!! I needed a turkey coma (nap), but as a missionary you don't get a nap.

Also this Sunday was Hermana Hastings last Sunday in the mission. We had a baptism for one of the 8 year old boys we have been teaching. He isn't a convert baptism, but his parents wanted us to teach him like he was. So we did. He is such a smart little boy. We had a little hiccup when the jumper for Sammy (this is the little boys name) was missing. We had to scramble to another building to find one. We think what happened was there was a baptism the day before. We think they must have took the suit home to wash and dry it and didn't bring it back yet. So we called the elders up in Conroe who live a good 20 minutes away. They said they would take care of it for us. They had to call the English areas who had keys to the building up there. When they got to the building they discovered the jumper was missing as well. After lots of investigating we discovered that the primary president of an English ward had taken it home to was and dry it for her daughters baptism this coming Saturday. She had washed the suit but had not dried it. So we drove up to Conroe to meet the Elders, who then had us follow the English member to her house. We grabbed the jumper and we were booking it back to the church building. The jumper was soaked. So first we tried holding it out the window to dry. This didn't work too much humidity. So we turned on the heater full blast and used it to dry the jumper. Thanks to Heavenly Father it dried quickly. We were laughing so much. It was either laugh or cry from the stress. We choose to laugh.

So I am staying in my area again. So same address. My new companions name is Hermana Bullock. I will tell you more about her the next week. I hope everyone's Thanksgivings were great!! I love you all!! This work is so true. I love the Gospel!!!

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, November 15th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Hello from the mission field. Can you believe that it is almost Thanksgiving!?! What happened to the time? So this week began with Exchanges. I went to a different area and worked with two companions, Hermana Bullock and Hermana Christensen. The reason I worked with two people is because we exchanged with a tri-companionship. Hermana Ferro their other companion went to work with Hermana Hastings(my companion) in the Woodlands. It is always an interesting experience exchanges. You either learn a lot about how to do missionary work better or you learn to appreciate your area more. This exchange was more of a learn to appreciate my area more. The work is pretty much the same. You have appointments that fall through. You have appointments that are great and the spirit is very strong. You talk to people on the street who are super nice and very interested. Then you talked to people on the street who just laugh at you and go on their way. Just proves to me that the Lord is preparing people we as missionaries are just trying to find them. The other Hermanas told me that I have a real talent for helping people to learn to love and trust me quickly. I don't know what I do, but their members that we visited are hoping I get sent to their area. It is weird teaching with three companions. One of the companions just has so much energy. She is exhausting to watch. She has been in a lot of tri-panionships on her mission. She attributes this to her energy. That she needs 2 companions to handle her. The other companion is very sweet and very quiet. The one with energy struggles with spanish whereas the quiet one does not.

So this week we had some success in activating a family that was very inactive. Their father has the Melchizedek (spelling?) priesthood and knows a lot. His 9 year old daughter is who we are teaching and preparing for baptism. She is so cute. She loves the Book of Mormon. She came to church this last Sunday. The first time in a long time. The Mom is the difficult one. She likes to shop and her favorite day to shop is on Saturday. I think the Dad would be all up for coming to church if he had the support of his wife more. His kids are all for going. It just depends on Mom. One of our investigators decided to drop us in the middle of this week, but he came to church on Sunday. He changed his mind and decided he wanted to continue. It was weird. I was like so sad for him one moment. And the next he is at church apologizing. We also inherited an investigator from the Elders. She was suppose to be our investigator all along. She lives in our area. We didn't find this out until they split the ward. She is still in our ward which means she was actually suppose to be taught by us. She is super smart and likes us a lot from seeing us in Relief Society and Gospel Principles. Yes, I am out of the primary now that my companion and I don't really play the piano.

We started English classes this week as well. We have a professional teacher. She is a member in our ward who actualLY has a Master's in bilingual education. She will be in charge of teaching the lessons. We like this idea so much better because the missionaries change so it is hard to get the consistency you need if the missionaries are teaching. This way any missionaries in this area can help with the English classes. It is a good way to find new investigators. Because ward members feel much more comfortable inviting friends to free English classes instead of hearing from the missionaries. And as those people learn to trust us they will be interested in what it is that we actual do believe. It is a great thing that we are very excited about. Our member is also very excited about it. Many of the ward members as well want to learn English so it is a service to the ward as well.

I love you all and miss you all!! Find some joy in what you are doing everyday. I promise that you can find the joy, you just need to stop focusing on the hard/difficult. If you focus on what is good you can face the bad with such a better attitude and a resolve to overcome it.

-Hermana Alaina Mills

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8th, 2010 Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


So this week has been very good. Very busy with new investigators and old investigators. We reached our goal for lessons this week. We had an intense lesson with an investigator who was not progressing. The spirit was very strong in her lesson. We were testifying left and right. She said she did have a desire to find out if what we have been talking about with her is true, but a very small desire. We committed her to act on that small desire and promised her that it would grow if she would take the first step to read the chapter we gave her and pray about it. It is kind of sad in a way. We are giving her an opportunity to have something vital in her life. And she knows that. But she just won't act on it. She likes where she is. She doesn't have religion in her life at all. She did as a little girl and knows her children need it. But she just won't do anything about what she knows. It is sad to see someone so close to having something so awesome and still not take it.

So our ward was split this Sunday. They made a branch out of part of our ward. The area that is now a branch is full of less active members. All of these members have kept saying they will come back to church when church is closer to them. So now it is closer to them. We will see what happens. There are two sets of Elders that cover the new Branch area. Our ward now only has a two Sisters as the missionaries. Most of the members in our area are active. We do have some less actives we work with on a regular basis though. And we have some really good potential members. We are going to work with the new bishop I think a lot. When he spoke in sacrament meeting he said he had three goals. Baptizing, Retaining, and Reactivating were the goals. And that is what we as the missionaries of this ward have been working on. The new bishops name is Obispo Baich. He is from Argentina. He will be a great bishop. We also know the counselors really well. It will be sad not to see the Elders anymore. They are not even in our district. We are these two lone spanish sisters in the midst of all these english elders. But the Elders we have are great. It just scares us a bit to be the only missionaries covering the ward. But English Elders do it all the time. And our ward mission leader is back from his out of town job. YEAH! He will still be in our ward as well.

I pray everyone is safe and happy. I love you all. I pray for you daily. More than once a day. Until we meet again.

Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday, November 1st Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


So I don't have lots of time because I am writing at the office and there is a line of Elders and Sisters who need to write their family. Well, my poor companion got sick at the begining of the week. So I was inside for two days. I was going crazy. I couldn't clean because unlike Elder's apartments our apartment is very clean. But she got better and we went out and worked. We started knocking this new trailer park we didn't know about until recently. So we were knocking and of course another miracle happened. We ran into this woman who let us come inside. She told us about her life. She grew up in Mexico until her Dad basically just picked her up and drove her here to live. She was a trouble maker supposedly. She ended up marrying her American husband who she met while she was working as a waitress. Neither of them spoke the others language but they still got married. She now speaks English really well. She has two little girls. We have an appointment with them tomorrow. We had some specialized training this week about being obedient and seeing the results of our obedience. The spirit was so strong and amazing. We are working hard here in the field. I pray all of you are safe and living the gospel. This is really how we find safety and happiness.

Love,

Hermana Mills

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25th, 2010 Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Hello Everyone!!! So Alba was baptized and confirmed this week!!! She was crying before she was baptized. The spirit was really strong. She was baptized by the Second Counselor in the Bishopric. Then she was confirmed on Sunday by the First Counselor in the Bishopric. She is officially a member. It is weird to plan her lessons and think of her as a recent convert instead of an investigator. She and I chatted while we were eating the refreshments after the baptism. I think she really likes me and feels a closeness to me. It makes sense since I have been there for all her lessons. President Cue who did Alba's interview was there and said we did a good job organizing everything. I sang at the baptism in Spanish. Yeah for me!! Now Valerie (one of the youth in our ward) wants me to sing in sacrament with her for Christmas. She likes to sing Alto. We practiced a few hymns while we were cleaning up the baptism and we sound really good together so maybe. I am pretty sure I will be here for Christmas. Thanksgiving is in this transfer so I will be here for that. I heard during Christmas we eat a lot of Tamales (spelling?).

We have another investigator that we are working with who committed to be baptized. We will see how she goes. She recently had her first child. This usually means that she is more prepared to listen and accept the gospel having a life changing experience like having your first child. Hermana Hastings is a very good missionary. She is good at being bold and direct. She follows the spirit when it tells her to do something. She is more relaxed than my last companion and a lot more bold. I look forward to learning much from her. We joke around and laugh. And she is someone who takes charge. So she says we will not be having anymore boring P-days. Today, we are going to Old Town Spring with some other Sisters in the mission. It is just like a bunch of old fashion shops. It is where the main street in Spring use to be. I am still excited to go. We may also be getting to baptized our investigator who has been investigating for practically a year now. He has been out of town with his new job but is coming back we hope this next weekend. But you never know his job is crazy.

So a little about my companion. This is her last transfer. She served in this area for 8 months before. She trained my trainer here. So that means she is my "grandma" in mission lingo. She is from Las Vegas, NV. She is one of 6 children. She is the fifth child. There are four sisters and two brothers. So just like my family only switched on genders. In her family it goes; boy, girl, boy, girl, girl, girl. She went to BYU before her mission. She wants to be a Social Worker. She decided she is going to change schools and go to UVU when she gets home. She is very close with her sisters and her Dad. She is 22 yrs old and her birthday is in March. So we are basically the same age. She likes to watch movies and play sports with her family. She comes from a family of attorneys. Her Dad is a attorney. Her two brothers are attorneys. And one of her brother-in-laws is an attorney. I like her alot.

I pray everyone is safe and happy. I miss and love all of you. But I am grateful to be on a mission right now.

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18th, 2010 Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Hola from Texas!! So this week is a very exciting week. It begins the start of the new transfer. Transfer number 3 whohoo!!! Well, we have a baptism scheduled on the 23rd of Octuber for our investigator Alba. She has already passed her interview. We have pretty much everything organized. This has sure been a challenge I will have to tell you. Many phone calls and coordinating. Making handouts for the ward to invite everyone. The bishop had Alba stand up during Sacrament meeting so she could be recognized. She was just beaming from ear to ear. She is all set to go. She has had the whole anti-mormon junk thrown at her already and came back with a testimony. She reads and marks up her scriptures every night. We have it all worked out on who will be doing what for the baptism. I am very excited for Alba. She has become so special to me. I guess that is what happens when you spend so much time serving someone. You can't help but rejoice when they are doing well. So next week I will have lots of news about Alba's baptism. Alba is from Honduras.

As for transfers, if you haven't guessed already I will be staying in my area here in the Woodlands, now called Spring. But,.... My companion is changing. My old companion and trainer has finally been moved. She has been in this area for the past 7 transfers. She is headed off to Fairbanks which is in the Katy area of the mission. I have heard you do a lot of knocking in these areas. But I have heard Fairbanks does okay with the Spanish. My new companions name is Hermana Hastings. Funny enough Hermana Hastings trained my trainer Hermana Stephens in this same area. She knows this area really well. She was here for 5 transfers the last time she was here. This will be her last transfer in the mission. So in mission lingo I am killing off my grandma. We think she may have been sent back here to help us reactivate one of the families she baptized while she was here. They have slowly been coming to church less and less. And we have a hard time getting in contact with them. I am excited to learn from this very experienced missionary. It will be weird to not be driving everyday. Since my companion right now can't drive due to a health condition I drive everyday. How weird it will be to share the responsibility again.

I also now understand why they don't call you about transfers until like two days before transfers. When someone is moving it is really hard to focus on the missionary work. You have to think about saying goodbye to members. And what last minute things you want to do in the area. We are eating the amazing Blue Bell icecream tonight after planning. Blue Bell icecream is the best icecream I have ever tasted aside from homemade icecream. But it is also a lot more expensive. But as a tribute to my icecream eating companion we bought some. Hermana Stephens eats icecream any time she is stressed and needs a reminder of home. Icecream reminds her of her Dad. I haven't quite figured out what I do when I am a little homesick. I think I look at pictures of my family and re-read their letters. But I don't do this very often anymore. I just focus on the work. I even dream about missionary work. I eat, breathe and live missionary work.

Well, I hope everyone is safe and happy. I hope everyone is being a good example for others. Because trust me others(non-members) notice what you do. So be a friend to everyone. Live the Gospel. Keep your family safe. (This is possible as you live the Gospel.) I love and miss you all.

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 11th Letter

Hello Dear Family and Friends,


So this week we had a very exciting thing happen. One of our investigators passed her baptismal interview!!! Her baptism will be on the 26th or the 30th. We are still trying to everything scheduled. Our ward mission leader is out of town for a month and a half for work. Anyone who has been on a mission knows how long a time that is in a missionaries time-table. (A whole transfer) He was always so helpful and he really was the only way to get in contact with the bishopric. So now we are working directly with the bishopric and they work really slow. And they always tell us they need to check with someone first and then they forget. Sigh... But its okay we will get it all worked out and our investigator will be baptized. Hooray!! Also our other investigator who had his interview like a month ago and passed, but then got a new job and went out of town is coming back. We have been in contact with him over the phone alot. He goes to church wherever he is. And we have mini lessons over the phone. He wants to get baptized already. So he is looking to get sometime off work so his parents can come visit him and he can get baptized. So maybe we will have 2 baptisms this next transfer.

Oh so this Monday begins the last week of this 2nd transfer. Can anyone believe that my 2nd transfer in the field is basically over? Crazy how time works on your mission. So much happens in a day that you can hardly believe you are still in the same week. But the weeks you don't know what happened to them. Anyway, transfer calls will be on Saturday, this Saturday. I predict that my trainer will be transfered. This is her 7th transfer here in this area. Her entire time on her mission has been spent here. She will hit a year on her mission the end of this month which is next transfer. That is a long time to be in one area. There are actually quite a lot of other Hermanas who are the same "missionary" age as my companion who have never left their first areas. So I really see a lot of changes happening this transfer. I plan on being greenie broke. But I will have news about next transfer in my next letter.

This week is temple week in the mission. So I will be at the temple this week. I am excited to feel the peace and tranquility of the temple for a bit. This last week we had a tri-mission (Houston 'my mission', Houston South, and Houston West) conference with Elder Costa. Yes, the same one who spoke in conference. He gave us some great tips on listening to the spirit. Specifically he wants us to spend less time at investigators houses and go over more frequently. That way they will feel the spirit and think about what we testified to them right before we left. So we are trying to do this more. He promised us there would be more baptisms if we did. Elder Costa is over the South West Area of the United States Missions. He is a wonderful man. What great leaders we have to guide us. I am so grateful for them. When I watched conference I watched the entire thing in Spanish. So I understood the jist of what the speakers were saying but I definitely missed a lot. I am looking forward to the Ensign probably more than the rest of you. So I can read what I missed.

I pray you are all safe and happy. I love this Gospel. I love the Lord. I am grateful for this opportunity to walk with the Savior and see what he sees. May we all better commit ourselves to share the Gospel with those around us.

Until next week,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Friday, October 8, 2010

Monday, October 4th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Hooray it is more like fall weather here!!!!! We have had weather in the 70's and 80's. We still get some 90's but I am use to the weather now so I hardly notice it. The missionary effort keeps going forward. We knock on those doors. We talk to people in the street. We teach lessons and invite people to come to find the same happiness we all have. We give them Books of Mormon and ask them to read and pray. We had a neat experience with a new investigator. She and her husband have been married now for 2 years. They both work really hard and are really wonderful people. They are Seventh-Day Advantist(Spelling?). So they have some really good habits. We had a lesson with them about the Restoration. Well, they had both read. But where the story gets really good is what happened. They each had there own Book of Mormon and where reading in separate rooms. The wife started reading and she didn't know why but she just started crying. Even though she didn't realize it at that precise moment her spirit was feeling the Holy Ghost. Her husband also liked what he read. They both said that they have both done a lot of reading. They have read many other churches material and studied a lot. But they feel something different when they read the Book of Mormon. We helped them recognize that it is the spirit that they felt. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. They said that everything we teach them makes them feel good. We have high hopes for them.

Also it never ceases to amaze me how the spirit works. We have been working with a less active member. She hasn't been to church in many many years. She forgot basically everything so she is just like an investigator when we teach her. Well she came with us to conference on Sunday morning. On the way back to her house, because we rode with her, she said that she has been thinking about inviting her daughter to come to our appointments. She lives with her non-member daughter and her family. In the past they haven't been interested. But the mom said that she has really noticed how she has started to change as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays. I think this would really be great for their family. Also, it would help our less active member to come to church more if her family was coming too. It is a slow process but the Lord knows best and is preparing people. I just love when people really feel converted how they want everyone they love to have what they have.

The church is true!!! I love being a missionary. I love how I am growing and changing as well. I love what I am learning here. I love being the instrument of the Lord to reach out to others. I pray everyone is safe and happy. I hope everyone is working hard and loving this life. I love you all and miss you all. Let us all keep the faith so that one day we may return to our loving Heavenly Father, together. May God be with you.

Love,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


Well, I don't have as much time to write this week so this letter might be shorter. But here we go. I am writing in the Montgomery County Library because the computers at our apartment decided to break. Hermana Stephens warned me of this happening, but until today it hadn't happen. This week we had a special conference with President and all the sisters in the mission. It was awesome!!!! The spirit was super strong and everyone was spiritually edified. I got to see my old companions from the MTC together. Of course we took pictures. So I will have lots of pictures to show when I get home. We talked about how important charity is in our work as missionaries. We need to constantly remember that we are here on missions talking to people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ because we love them. And when you remember that it is a lot easier to make the sacrifice of the mission. To keep knocking those doors. Keep sharing the message. Keep studying the scriptures and the language in my case.

We all can apply this in our lives as well. We need to have charity for those around us, especially our families. So the question I have for everyone is "What are you doing to show your family that you love them?" I think we could all say we do alot for our families. But this week let us pick one extra thing to do for someone in our family to show them we care and love them. It could be a note in their lunch box. It could be a kiss and a hug every day they get home from work. Life is hard enough as it is. We need the love and support of those in our families. Also let us not forget to reach out to our neighbors. Satan is picking up the game. Trust me I am up close and personal with the battle against his efforts. He is picking up the pace. So we too need to pick up the pace in fighting back. I thought charity would be one of the best ways to compat him because "charity never faileth." Also because it was through one immense act of charity that we are all saved. Through the sacrifice of the Savior we enjoy so much joy, peace, and happiness.

The work is continually going forward. It will not stop, ever! We have 3 top investigators right now. And the 2 closest to baptism went to church this last week. Hooray!!!! We are finding new people to teach. We pray that they will be ready for the special message we carry. Oh how I love this Gospel!!! And how spoiled I have been to have the gospel since the beginning. Thank-you Mom and Dad. I have the best friends and family. You are all such great examples to me. If I haven't told you before I will now. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart. As I see where people are without the gospel and see their lives change as they accept it I come to realize how trully spoiled I have been. I hope every stays safe from both physical and spiritual dangers. We are working hard here in Houston. And yes I am developing such TEXAS PRIDE!!! I love you all!! Until next week!!!

Hermana Alaina Mills

P.S. Yeah for conference this weekend!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20th, 2010 Letter

Hello Family and Friends,


I was wondering what to write this week. There have been quite a few sad things coming to my attention this week. The first thing is how hard Satan is working at present. We must be coming to the last days because Satan seems to have really picked up the pace. As an active soldier at the moment for the Lord I see the carnage first hand. This week we had a ton of appointments cancel on us for this reason or that. We also had a lot of member visits that just had me worried. I came to realize how many families are struggling to stay together. Many families don't have jobs and are desperately searching. As soon as our investigators decide they want to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized the gates of hell seem to gape open after them. I can literally feel the demons working against our investigators. We as the missionaries are working hard to support our members and their families. We visit with the less actives a lot as well. They all love to have us over. Many are even requesting us to come over because they say they need more support. I feel like saying I am just one simple missionary. We pour our hearts out in prayer for those in our ward searching for job and those trying to keep their families together.

Now more than every it is sooooooo important to be doing the simple things the Lord has asked us to do. We all need to make sure our foundations are strong and secure and centered on Jesus Christ. So everyone if you are not already doing these make a goal now to do them or improve how you are doing them. 1-READ the scriptures. When you read the scriptures you don't just read but you try to apply the principles taught in the scriptures. Read personally, as a couple, read as a family. Talk to and support each other. 2-PRAY. Pour out your heart to the Lord for support and for his peace that even if things are hard now you will get through them. And if you hold on to your faith in Jesus Christ when the trial is over you will be better off. Pray personally, pray as a couple, pray as a family. 3-GO to CHURCH. Go to church every week. Go to church and help support the friends and members there. Many people need a friend right now. At church we can learn the doctrines of Christ and how to better improve ourselves and our families. But above all serve those in your ward. That doesn't always mean give them something physically. It also means talk to others. Show an interest in their lives. Or at the very least smile at those around you.

I am sorry if this letter sounds a little preachy. But I just love all of my family and friends so much. I want us all to hold strong together. The waves of life are growing bigger. We need to fortify ourselves and prepare for when it comes. And we can do it together.

This week we had a party in the ward. Everyone made food from where they were from. We had a lot of food from Honduras and Mexico. Some from El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, etc. It was delicious!!! I tried cow's intestines. It was okay. It really just tasted like I was eating tougher fat. It was a little slimy too. I also had some interesting prayers this week. While knocking doors we met Dale. He was really nice and very interested in the Book of Mormon. He wanted to pray with us before we left him. We held hands and he prayed for us to be safe and thanked God for sending us to him. It was very sweet. We also met this little old lady named Erma. She couldn't see very well but she loved talking to us. She says she gets lonely sometimes and would love the missionaries to come over sometime. She said we were the sweetest girls she had ever met. Of course this was all in English though. So we will be sending the Elders over to their houses. We find lots of referrals for the Elders. Many times I feel like God uses us as the way to contact these people and the Elders for teaching. Ha ha. But with our investigator we found knocking I noticed that when I prayed if Hermano (Brother) agreed with something I said he would say things like "amen" or "please Jesus" etc. It was very interesting, but fun. The work keeps going forward. And my spanish keeps slowly getting better. It is slowly not as hard to express my thoughts in spanish. And I am slowly starting to understand more what people are saying. I keep going and praying that it will come.

Love you all, stay safe,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monday, September 13th, 2010 Letter

Dear Family and Friends,


So the rain here was crazy on Tuesday. It just poured all day. Wednesday was pretty wet as well but not like Tuesday. Then it decided to turn back to hot. That is right it is still hot here. They don't have a fall/autumn here. It is just from one extreme to the next. Even with all the rain the temperature only got down to like 79 degrees according to the car reading. We have had some 100 degrees again. But honestly that is how it always is. You get use to it after awhile. You don't notice the weather, because it is always the same, HOT!! They tell me it goes from one extreme to the other. It will be hot here they say until December. Then it will be bone cold until March. March warms back up and we get Hot again. I like the weather much better in Utah. Also, Utah drivers are much better drivers than here in Texas. I hope I don't pick up any bad habits here in Texas. Like not signalling or going 10 over all the time. That is the speed of traffic here.

So the miracle of the week happened while we were tracting. I felt like we needed to knock this certain street. So we got out and started knocking. We were not having any luck. We would hardly get to say anything at the doors because people would just cut us off as we were saying Hello and tell us no, but we pressed forward. On the second to last house on the street, after having knocked about 20 doors, we came across a woman doing yard work outside. We said hello and talked to her for a bit. She invited us to come inside. We ended up teaching her the first lesson which is the Restoration with the story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She grew up baptist, but had been investigating a lot of different churches. She studied with Lutheran, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. But everytime she would find something they did that was contrary to what it teaches in the Bible. She would ask the preacher about her concern and he would just make up an excuse for why they didn't do that or say he didn't know what that was. So she would stop going. She had her husband would read the Bible and study every night. They came to the conclusion that they needed to ask God and he would tell them. And he told them to stop attending where they were going. She even said she knows we were led to her door for a reason. We gave her a Book of Mormon and passed her onto the English Elders. We heard she even went to church on Sunday with them. She told her mom about Joseph Smith. Her Mom is very Baptist, and even her Mom was interested. It was awesome.

It is so true that God is preparing people to hear our message. Not everyone is ready. So we have to sift through quite a lot of people to find those who are. But we keep doing it. As it says in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." I really have seen and felt his influence here on the mission. I am ever grateful for his support and love. He is the real missionary I am just the instrument.

As for our investigators, the investigator who had the broken pipe at his house decided to take his old job back. So he is on the road a lot. But he calls us all the time. He still wants to be baptized. His parents are both in the states now. So all they and we are waiting for is when he can get time off work to come back here and get baptized. He is still praying and reading his scriptures and trying to go to church where ever he is for his job. The other investigator who is struggling finacially didn't come to church on Sunday. We think it was because the person who she wants to give her a ride to church wasn't there this week. She was insistant that she had worked out her ride. Her lesson was full of distractions. But we keep pressing forward with her. She is so close to being ready. We keep praying for her. We keep working hard to help others come unto Christ. The mission is hard, but it is a great opportunity to work so closely with the Lord.

I love you all and pray for you!!! Keep being amazing!! Keep going to church, fulfilling your callings, praying, and reading your scriptures. Satan is working hard against us so we need to continually be protecting ourselves from him. Everyone be safe.

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Oh also my old MTC companions didn't get transferred. Their trainers got transfered. They are still in the same areas. But Hermana Stevenson's trainer is training another brand-new sister this transfer. So Hermana Stevenson has a new companion. Hermana Donkin's trainer "died" which means she went home. So she is also in the same area just with a new companion. I get along well with my companion. So she is staying with me again, Hermana Stephens, for one more transfer. But I think they will be transferring her after this transfer. We don't know I just like to guess. She has been in this area for 7 transfers now. That is a long time. President is trying to leave people in the same area for a longer time. So I think I will be staying here in this area for awhile. I am guessing I will be here for 6-7 transfers as well. When you hit your 8th transfer you have been out on a mission for a year. I don't think Hermana Stephens will be here with me her 8th transfer in the field. But you never know.

Love you!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, September 7th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing on Tuesday because Monday we couldn't use any computers on Monday with it being a holiday. But I am writing now HOORAY!!! I love everyone who writes me. It really is such a highlight to hear of the details of the lives of those I love so much. So thank-you everyone and keep them coming. This week has been full of battles against Satan.

Our investigator is so close to being baptized. And so many hard things have been coming his way. For instance, he had a huge water leak at his house and had to cancel our appointment. He is closing down his business and his worker just left on him to finish everything on his own. His old job offered him his old job back. This job has him traveling a lot. He passed his baptismal interview and wants to be baptized. But the baptism just keeps getting pushed back. But we think he will be getting baptized on the 19th of September now. His parents are coming here just to attend his baptism. They are very excited for his decision to follow Jesus Christ. Maybe through him they will all be baptized and sealed as a family one day.

Our other investigator is having a hard time at work. She is not making as much money as usually which is making her family struggle financially. She is working more trying to make up for the lack of money. This has made meeting with her difficult. Her lights were turned off on her one time so she canceled the appointment because she had to take care of that. But she is accepting and living everything we are teaching her. She loves the gospel and we found a way for her to come to at least part of church on Sunday. Her baptism is set for the last Sunday in September.

So I have decided this transfer will be the transfer of baptisms. We are still knocking on doors and looking for other investigators. If you aren't constantly looking you will go through the feast and starve cycle. For awhile you have lots of baptisms and teaching lots of people. Then once they are all baptized you end up looking and searching for someone to teach for awhile. As for what is happening this transfer the verdict is I will be staying here in the same area with my trainer for another transfer. I was expecting this and am glad it happened. My two companions from the MTC are all getting new companions. We call this being greenie broken. I have a feeling I will be in this area I am now for awhile. My companion has been in this area for 7 transfers now. This was her first area and she hasn't left since she got here. It is a really nice area. Others call it the Ritz because it is the nicest area in the mission. I think next transfer they will be moving my companion to a new area. President is trying to move people less which is why I think I will be in this area for awhile.

Well, there is expected to be a ton of rain all week. So my next letter will probably be on how wet it is. Today already it has been pouring. I loved the pictures Eric sent of the family. All the younger boys look bigger. And Eric does look taller. I love you all!!! I miss you all!!! Keep living the gospel because it really does bring true happiness.

Love,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday, August 30th Letter

Hello Family and Friends,


Wow!! I have some exciting stories to tell you all. But first I would just like to tell my Mom thank-you for her awesome letter. I love details. Hence the psychology major. I loved her letter about the details about what is happening at home. Especially, since my brother just came home from his misison, my sister went away to college, and my next brother just started driving and going to high-school. We are all growing up so fast.

Okay so the exciting things that have been happening here in the Texas Houston Mission. First, we had Zone Conference with Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy here with us. We learned some great skills from him. The spirit was strong and we were all uplifted and strengthened by him. We learned some skills in regards to contacting people and sharing the story of the first vision. Oh this church is so true!!! And the joy that you have from living the principles of the gospel are never ending. So one of the things Elder Kikuchi challenged us to do was to fast and pray that we could combine our faith to find those who are ready for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said that people would walk in the doors and say teach me.

So we fasted on Friday as a Mission. Friday is District Meeting. We meet as missionaries in a certain area we call a district to have some lessons on how to improve as missionaries. Well we were at this meeting and a miracle happened. A woman walked in the doors. She was a little upset and said she just wanted to sit in the chapel and meditate. We (me and my companion) ended up talking with her. She seemed receptive to talking with the sisters. Hermana Stephens felt an immediate love and closeness with her that she said she felt as well. She told us that she was Catholic, but she knew our church was true. She has many friends who are Mormons. She has a Book of Mormon and has been reading it. She saw a special on the history of Christianity that wasn't at all connected with the Mormon religion and the whole time she kept thinking that is why Joseph Smith was a prophet. Anyway, we are going to be teaching her now. She hopes that through her example and as her husband gets friends from the church he will come around and want to join as well. It was amazing!! Just as Elder Kikuchi said she basically walked through the doors and said teach me.

The second miracle we saw had to do with another challenge we received from Elder Kikuchi and our Mission President Hansen. They had us go around to all our old investigators who had had all the lessons and offer them the opportunity to be baptized tomorrow. We didn't have any luck with this. But the other Elders in our ward did. Entonces, (this is a spanish word) Saturday we had an emergency baptism. The investigator knew the church was true, but had kept saying that she didn't know enough to be baptized. Well, she was baptized. Thanks to our wonderful ward. Especially due to our Ward Mission Leader. There were some complications in getting in contact with the bishopric and the Ward Mission Leader did so much to help us pull the whole thing together. And we even had ward members there.

Well this is the last week of the transfer. It is crazy that I have already been through a transfer now. I have learned alot!!! I know I will continue to grow on my mission, especially in Spanish!!! Friday this week one of our investigators will be getting interviewed for his baptism. We have been teaching him for 8 months now. He comes to church every week. He is very cool and excited to be making this change in his life. So he may be my first baptism on my mission. I love you all!!!! I miss you all!!! Thank-you for writing all who have written. I love letters and pictures. I hope everyone stays safe and works hard. Missions are awesome!!

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 23rd - New Pictures!

Getting dirty - doing the work!

New companion, Hermana Stephens

Braving the humid weather

You can see how humid it is in this picture and the next.
Alaina with President Hansen and his wife

All the new missionaries

August 23rd Letter

Hello Family and Friends,


Greetings from Texas!!! The work is still going forward. Yes, dear brother Eric, the work will not cease even though you are not on your mission anymore. We continue to work hard here. We talk to everyone. We teach our investigators. We study hard. We keep the missionary rules. Never a dull moment on a mission. Always something to do. Well Mother just so you don't worry I understand you not being able to write after Eric's farewell. I bet it was exhausting. But Grandma was wonderful and sent me some pictures. But I still want to hear about all the details from you. You know how I like details. I know how I like details, because when I plan lessons with my companion I have to stop myself from getting too detailed. I am so excited for all the changes at home. Eric being home and going back to school. Collette heading off to College. You will love College, Collette. Curtis starting High-School. Justin in his last year in Elementary School. And Garrett in first grade which means quiet at home so Mom can get some sleep. Oh I am so excited for you all at home. Don't forget to give Eric the welcome home folder we made, mom. The one that has all the information he needs. Okay anyway the fun stories of the week.

You remember my experience with rain. Well this week we had record breaking HOT weather. We are talking like 110 degrees. Yeah and just add humidity to that. Oh yeah!!! We are such tough missionaries. Have to make sure I drink lots of water. I think my body is starting to get use to this weather. I don't sweat as much. Trust me I still sweat, but not as much. I use to be able to tell I needed more water because of the amount of sweat. Now, I noticed that I was feeling dizzy as we were knocking door to door. So I stopped and drank some nice warm water. It was cold when we started. Shrug. Shows you how hot it gets. But after I drank the whole bottle I felt better. So I need to be better at watching how much water I drink.

But I wanted to write about an awesome lesson we had just yesterday. We have had some other great lessons this week, but I want to share about this one. There is an older single lady in our ward. Her mother lives with her. Her mother is very Catholic. When her mother can't get someone to take her to Catholic Church on Sunday she comes with her daughter to our ward. Anyway, this lady in our ward convinced her mother to listen to the missionaries to find out more about what her daughter believes. Our first visit we just went over and got to know her. Told her about ourselves. She told us about how she is from El Salvador. She immigrated here in 1998. She has three kids back in El Salvador and four here in the states. Anyway, on Sunday we went back to teach her the first lesson. We taught about the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Her daughter was there and we had her share her testimony about Joseph Smith. The spirit was so strong the whole lesson. Wow!!! Everyone had tears in their eyes. We challenged her to find out for herself if the Book of Mormon was true. She said she thinks it could be possible that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. I hope she reads. She gave the closing prayer in the lesson and was crying through her prayer. We pray that she will come to accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is the fun story of the week. I pray everything continues to be good at home. I love you all!!! The Gospel is true!!!! Don't ever forget it!!

Love your daughter, sister, grand-daughter, cousin, niece, friend, etc.,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16th Letter

Hello Family,


Well, things are good here in Texas!!! We had our car back and were able to do so much more missionary work. I am getting more of the hang of this missionary thing and am not feeling as overwhelmed. I can do this. Yeah, it is hard, but I look forward to all the experiences and growth I will see in myself and others. Last P-day was great, because I actually got to breathe. It really helped to support my sanity. HA ha ha. Well here are some of the fun things that happened this week. I had my first experience with rain in Texas. We were out knocking doors, of course. It was around 95 degrees outside which means I was sweating. Because that is what you do on a mission, of course. That is probably the biggest difference I can see between the heat here and in Utah. You sweat more here because there is so much water in the air already. Well, we were knocking and out of the blue, the water just started pouring down. It was like someone had turned on a faucet of water. Just pouring in one second, literally. I felt like I had walked into a shower. You would think, "Great that will cool the temperature down." When we made it to the car, it still read 93 degrees. Ha ha ha, didn't cool it down at all. My trainer says that in the winter, it will make it cold when it rains but not in the summer. So I was wet all day. I think the reason it dumps so much water is because there is so much water in the air that when it rains it pours. None of it can evaporate. I understand that flash floods are possible now.

Also this week I had the opportunity to go on a exchange. This is where you switch companions for a day. One of you leaves the area while the other stays. I left the area. I went to an area we call Crosstimbers. It is in Houston. My temporary companion's name was Hermana Wardle. She has been out for 9 months. Her Spanish isn't as good as my trainer's. My trainer has been out for 9 months as well. But she does fine. It was a lot of fun. I got to see what a nice area we serve in here in the Woodlands. In Crosstimbers there are a ton of black people. Some hispanics but mostly blacks. The hispanics live in the area just north of this area more. We have nicknames for these areas. The area with more hispanics we call the Ghetto. The area I was in we call the Hood. The area is scarry. I would never never want to see any of my family living in conditions like this. Tons of houses are condemed. Walls are leaning in. Roofs are caving in. Huge gutters on both sides of the street because the sewer system is so bad. They just had a funeral for a youth who had been shot and killed when people just came into their house and robbed it. They didn't resist but they shot this youth anyway. He was a member. Bars on doors, windows, and fences. People think we are crazy to be out and about here. It is a very big gang area. You have the Bloods and the Crypts. These missionaries are serving on the Crypts land as they say. But gangs are nice to people of God as they call us. I really liked Hermana Wardle. She is very much like me. She says we will never be companions because we are too much a like and would have too much fun. So Mom, be grateful I am not in that area. I am in a very safe nice area.

Hasta proxima semana (Until next week)
Love you all,
Hermana Alaina Mills

P.S. Love the scriptures and read them!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Pictures! Monday, August 9th

President Nelson and his wife from Alaina's MTC district.

Alaina with her MTC companion.

Elders from Alaina's District from the MTC.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, August 9th Letter

Hello Dear Family and Friends,


Y'all need to keep followering the gaspul(gospel). Ha ha ha. I just though I would start with something funny. Honestly, I don't hear the Texas accent hardly ever. Because I am a spanish speaking missionary all I hear is Spanish. We have Spanish speaking people from all over. From Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, etc. Right now there seems to be an influx of Colombia natives. So I am still working hard on my Espanol. The language is beautiful. But I will have to say I go home every night and my head aches from the studying. Study, Study, Study. I am working really hard at becoming more acquainted with the scriptures. I know that contexts pretty well. But I am not very good at remembering where things are. My companion is though. I am glad she is so good at espanol and references. I can learn things great things from her. She seems to depend on me a lot on what I feel we should teach. I don't think she has a lot of confidence in her ability to recognize the spirit. This is why we have companions. Everyone has different strengths. Together we can effectively invite others to come unto Christ.

This week has been very interesting. My companion says that everything we have been doing is not normal for the mission. On P-day last Monday we barely had time to wash our clothes and shop. We ended up helping a member learn to sew. So I am sorry to those of you I haven't written yet. I promise I am working on it and will get to you. So for the past 2 p-days in a row I haven't had a P-day to recover. It has been very wearisome. But now that we are getting into the schedule of normal missionary work it isn't so overwhelming. Just God testing me I guess. Another weird thing that happened this week that was not normal was that we didn't have a car. Someone hit the car and dented the bumper. This was before I came into the field. But this week we had to take the car in to have it fixed. We cover a large area. And we had to walk everywhere. We couldn't have as many appointments because we had to use that time to walk. Everyone thought we were crazy. I heard many times "you know that this week is the hottest week of the year. What are you doing outside?" In Texas they don't know what sidewalks are. There are never any sidewalks here. It made walking even more difficult.

But we had a cool experience. We were knocking doors. We came up to this woman with two kids. They were just getting out of their car. We came up to her and she asked us what we were doing out in this heat. We explained who we were and she invited us to come in. We cooled off for a little while and talked to her about herself. She had a ton of questions about missionaries. We told her about what missionaries were. She was shocked that there would be people who would give up so much time to share the message of Jesus Christ. She invited us to come back. Since we are only suppose to teach in Spanish we asked if we could have the Elders come by with us to teach her about our message. She said we could come back. We went back on Friday and gave her the first lesson on the Restoration. She committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I just adore this woman. She is a single mom. Her kids are like 7 and 6. She has such a funny sense of humor, and we really click. But we have to give her over to the Elders. I hope they do a good job. But after the lesson they gave I think they will do a fabulous job.

The church is true. I love you all. Everyone needs to read Ether 12:3-4. 3 is what I do. 4 is what we all should do. I know that Jesus Christ is my anchor. As we strengthen our faith in him the waves of the world are easier to handle. So I pray all of you are continually building your faith through; attending church, reading in your scriptures, and praying. I love this Gospel and all of you. God be with you all until we meet again.

Love,
Hermana Alaina Mills

P.S. Good Luck Mom with Eric's homecoming. I would so help you if I could. I know how much work it is. I am praying for you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 2nd letter from TEXAS!

Dear Family and Friends,


Hola from TEXAS!!!! Yes it is true I am officially in Texas now. Let my just say WOW it has been Hot!! I have never drank so much water in my whole life. You are always sweating here. My trainers name is Hermana Stephens. Funny huh! My companion in MTC was Hermana Stevenson and Hermana Donkin. I don't know what it is with all these Stevensons and Stephens. Ha ha ha!! Well, I am happy to announce that not only did I not gain any weight in the MTC but I have actually lost five lbs. Hooray!! I think it is due to all the water I drink and my lack of apetite. Anyhow, My companion is great!! She has dark hair and brown eyes. She is more curvy than me. We actually have been told that we look a like. She works hard. She is always doing something. That is what I am coming to find as a missionary is that there are always things that need doing. We need to set up another appointment with this investigator. We need to call and see how this investigator is. We need to call and report our numbers. We need to call the Ward Mission Leader. Because my body is having such a strong need for water I was afraid I would not be able to fast this Sunday. But I made it through with no problems. My companion is from Spanish Fork, UT. She is the second of four kids. She has an older brother who served his mission in Calgary Canada. Then she has a younger and an older brother. We get along great!!! She is more quiet than me, but I have no problem with that. The interesting thing is that she can't drive. She has a lazy eye that wonders. I don't know if this is the reason, but she didn't drive at home either. So my very first day here in Texas I have been driving everywhere. I drive every day.

All of you people say Utah drivers are bad. Ha ha ha NOOO!!! Texas is so much worse. No one and I mean no one uses a signal light. Everyone drives at least 10 miles over the speed limit. And the roads are set up really strange. I am glad I have my companion to guide me as to where to go. It is barely starting to make any sense to me. I am glad I am a good driver. Usually, you have to be certified before you can drive, but with me they made an exception. They approved me to drive. So in a mission your companion helps you back up every time you back. Maybe I will learn to like this. But right now it is really just an extra distraction when I am backing up.

I had a very neat experience with a woman on the plane I was on. I was sitting next to a lady with a 2 year old boy on her lap. We eventually got to talking and I was totally able to tell her about the gospel. This mother had lost a little premature baby girl a year ago. She has been having a hard time finding any peace. She said she felt such hope when she talked to me. I gave her a pass along card for a Book of Mormon. I taught her the entire first lesson and half of the plan of salvation. The great thing was is that she was the one asking questions. I helped her recognize the spirit she was feeling. Her name was Rebecca and her little boy was Angel. Oh did I mention that this was in SPANISH!!!!! It was so cool to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. This was such a great way to start my mission.

I sent me to the Woodlands area. We serve in the part we call the Hardy area. Here is my new address: 26325 Northgate Crossing Blvd. Apt. #1621 Spring, TX 77373. So you can send letters to this address or just keep sending them to the Mission Home it works either way. Our apartment is really nice. All of the Sisters tell me it is the best in the mission. I believe them. It is way nice. Very clean and very secure. They do take good care of the Sister missionaries. As I have been with so many non-members and then going to church with members, the difference is staggering. We are so blessed to have the peace and guidance of the Gospel. Life is so much harder and dark without the Gospel.

As for the language, my Spanish is okay. Everyone says they can understand me. That is good I guess, because I can't understand anything. I pick out words in what some people are saying and I think I get the gist, but I don't think I am understanding much. Especially, when they really start going. I love the language though. I think it is harder actually to study the language in the field than in the MTC. It is coming. The prayers are greatly appreciated. Well, we keep working with our investigators and praying they will actually keep the commitments we give them. I never realized how many people in the world have no integrity. So everyone if you commit to do something, follow through. I love you all and miss you all a bunch!!! Thank-you everyone for your letters!!! It is so good to know that I still have friends and family routing for me back at home.

Love, Hermana Alaina Mills

P.S. My preparation day is Monday now while in Texas.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 21st Letter!

Dear Family and Friends,


It is official!!! I have travel plans and will be leaving the MTC to enter the real world again. I am flying out on the 28th of July. My flight leaves at 10:35 a.m. and I will arrive in Houston at 2:35p.m. Look out Houston here I come. I have to be up and ready to leave the MTC by 6:00a.m. I am grateful it wasn't at 3 or 4 like many in my Zone in the past. I will be with both my companions Hermana Stevenson and Hermana Donkin. Mom and Dad I will call you when I get to the airport and am allowed to. If I were to guess it will probably be around 7:30-8:30 when I will call. I am sooooo sorry Mom. I know I will be waking you up. I will call home first and then call Dad on his cell phone because he will probably be at work. So if anyone wants to talk to me they need to be awake at that time. I am so excited to hear everyone's voice so please wake up. I am flying on Delta. This means that I have to really make sure my luggage is not over because of all the airlines, their fines are outrageous. Remember everyone don't come meet me at the airport. I will see you after my mission. You get to pick me up from the airport then.

So that has been the most exciting thing to happen here at the MTC!!! The Spanish is still a work in progress, but I can teach whole lessons in Spanish. Every Saturday evening we do something we call the TRC. This is where you teach fake investigators who volunteer from the outside world. Every week we are given a different task to do and a lesson to teach. This last week we taught the second lesson which is the Plan of Salvation. For our task we had to meet a progressing investigator and give him/her directions to the church in Espanol. The lesson is in Espanol as well. My companions and I did really well. We always have things we could work on, but it went really well. It has been my favorite lesson in the TRC so far in the MTC. We taught someone who is a native of Colombia. It was so cool to hear a native speak Spanish, it was even cooler when I understood what she was saying. And it helped me feel a little more confident in my Spanish because she could understand what I was saying. We have Sisters here who are learning English who are native Spanish speakers. I love these Sisters. I talk with them every night. They help me with my Spanish and I help them with their English. Let me just say I am so glad that I am learning Spanish and not English. English is crazy.

I am glad you are getting my extra letters. I was wondering if our mail box was working here or not. Thank-you to those of you who write me. Your letters are a ray of sunshine. They remind me who I was before I came on my mission. They also remind me how much love and support I have from back home. As I have said before if you write me a letter, I will write one to you. It might take me awhile sometimes, but I will do it. Happy Birthday Mom!!! I keep forgetting to send your birthday card. I did remember your birthday on your birthday, but I should have planned ahead and sent you a card before your birthday. Well, Mom I just want you to know that I am very very glad you were born. I celebrate your birthday. You are the best Mom ever!!! You work so hard and love us all so much. You definitely get the "Best Mom Ever" award!!!

We are having fun here at the MTC practicing teaching, learning or reviewing new Spanish concepts, and firesides that uplift us. It is a good time to be alive. I can definitely tell that it is time to leave the MTC though. Everyone in my District gets really excited about the simplest things. And we think the silliest things are funny. The Elders in my District are leaving the Tuesday morning before us. It will be so weird to be in the MTC without them. But we are so excited to go. Three of our Elders are going to Atlanta GA. One is going to Boston MA. The Hermanas are going to Texas Houston. I don't know if I will get the opportunity to write next week, but I will call.

I love you all!!!!

Work hard and Love the Gospel, Love Always,

Hermana Alaina Mills

Saturday, July 17, 2010

PICTURES!!!

Alaina's District 4A (at the moment)
Back Row from Left to Right: Elder Haggard, Hermana Donkin, Hermana Jardine, Hermana Stevenson, ALAINA, Elder Wood
Front Row from Left to Right: Elder Nelson, Elder Cowley

Alaina's and her companion, Hermana Kathryn Stevenson

Alaina's new TWO companions.
"We are tired."
Hermana Donkin and Hermana Stevenson

The Guatemalans
They were in Alaina's district for 3 weeks
Left to Right: Elder Udall, Elder Porter, Elder Bench, Elder Fullerton

The Hermanas
Left to Right: Hermana Donkin, Hermana Jardine, Hermana Stevenson, Hermana Mills
At the MTC

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, July 14th Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
 
Hello!!!  Well it happened Hermana Jardine went home on Thursday.  It was very sudden.  We thought we would have her for at least the weekend, but it was not to be.  We helped her pack and sent her on her way.  It is weird being in our room and doing things without her there.  As well we now know that she has Type I Diabetes.  She has written us and says it is weird to be alone.  We miss her but know she is where she needs to be.  So we are now a three-some.  Still Hermana Stevenson, me, and Hermana Donkin.  Hermana Donkin is from Portland Oregon.  I thought that might intrigue Dad since he served in Oregon.  She is from a very big family.  There are ten kids in her family.  She is very loud and happy.  She has been a welcome addition to our companionship.  She helps Hna. Stevenson not get as annoyed with me.  It has really reduced the contention.  Also this last Sunday they released me from being the Coordinating Sister.  They like to give as many people as they can the opportunity to lead.  I served for six weeks.  Usually they have you only serve for 4.  Hermana Donkin has been called as the new Coordinating Sister.  She is already doing a fabulous job.  She is a great support to me and I love having her around. 
 
Today has been a little crazy.  We had to go to the front offices so Hermana Stevenson could do somethings for her job back home.  If she takes some test online she will still have her job when she gets home.  It took forever.  So that is why I am writing you so late.  Also today we had the opportunity to clean the temple.  It was nice to go to the temple.  We haven't been since they closed the temple.  We have missed it greatly.  The spirit is still there.  The peace I feel in the temple is so wonderful.  I love the temple!!!  I am very glad that I will be able to attend the temple in my mission.  The temple is in my mission, Hna. Donkin says. 
 
We had a fireside on Sunday with Jenny Oaks Baker.  It was amazing.  For those of you who don't know Jenny Oaks Baker is a very accomplished classical violinist.  She is married with 4 children.  She attended College in Philadelphia and went on for her Masters in Juliard (spelling?).  She shared with us many experiences where music has helped her to rely on the Lord and gain a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ.  Of course, she played songs.  She played "Amazing Grace", "I need thee every hour", "Believe Me", "Be still my soul", "This is the Christ", and "I know that my Redeemer Lives."  Her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, was in the audience with his wife.  It was a great experience that I will treasure.  I love music and this fireside was really special.
 
I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well.  I love the letters I receive.  They are such a support.  So thank-you everyone who has written me.  Continue to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to live as he would live.  I know we will never completely succeed, but we should always be striving to become more like Christ.  Again, those of you with boys help them to find their own testimony of this amazing Gospel.  Have them read Preach My Gospel before they enter the mission field.  These things will benefit them greatly.  I love this Gospel.  I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  I know it.  I know that Jesus Christ is supporting me on this mission.  He is the best friend and best older brother anyone could ever have.  Let us all strive to be more like him.
 
Adios,
Love,
 
Hermana Alaina Mills

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7th Letter

Hola Everyone,
 
First off Mom I did get your package. Thank-you Thank-you!!!!!  I love the skirt and the other Hermanas say it looks really cute on me.  I know that must have been hard with how busy you are Mom and I want you to know that I appreciate it.  The language is going pretty well.  This is the second week that our teachers are only talking to us in Espanol.  Also we have three days a week that we only speak Espanol.  Those days are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.  I wish I could say a lot more, but I just keep working at it.  I know when I arrive in the mission I will feel like I learned nothing in the MTC because people will talk so fast.  But I know with the Lord's help I will be just fine.  It will be difficult and frustrating but that will just make me stronger.  My companion and I keep working on being good companions for each other.  She told me that in her setting apart blessing she would be blessed with sweet companions.  I just kept thinking about how my blessing told me to be patient with my companions.  That seemed to be the biggest message to me before my mission was that I would have some difficult companions.  But I love my companion she is awesome.  Yeah sometimes things get rough but we work things out.  So my district is now the oldest district in the zone.  We have four districts total in my zone.  My district is the only one with Sisters.  It feels weird to be the 'oldest'.  But at the same time I am excited to be that much closer to going to Texas.
 
I have some really sad news about one of the Hermanas.  One of the Hermanas has been sick every since she got here.  She got a cold, hurt her foot, etc.,  Well this week they finally sent her to a specialist for her foot.  She has tendinitis ( I think that is how you say it.)  She is a runner so this is very common.  This was on Monday.  On Tuesday morning they took some of her blood to do some tests because they were worried about some of the other symptoms she has been having.  Symptoms like being thristy all of the time, using the bathroom alot, and multiple charlie-horses in the while she is sleeping.  Well during our morning class a nurse came and pulled her and her companion out of our class.  We knew this could not be a good sign.  Well, the diagnosis is that Hermana Jardine has Type II Diabetes.  I was worried this was what it was because I know what the symptoms are.  Her blood sugar level was over 500.  It should be around 100.  They did some more tests on her urine.  There was a lot of things in her urine that should not be there.  I don't remember what they were.  But they sent her to the hospital to stay over night.  Her companion went with her.  She won't leave her to do this alone she says.  On top of this she also has an appointment with an OB-GYN for a reaccuring yeast infection.  This poor girl.  So the doctors say that she will be sent home.  They say we will have about a week left with her and then she is going home.  She has been crying and crying.  I have not even seen her or her companion today.  After she leaves Hermana Donkin will join the rest of us and we will form a tri-panionship.  I don't know what we will do without Hermana Jardine.  They have been gone all day yesterday and today.  We miss them and notice greatly their absense.  Things just don't feel right without them. 
 
I pray all of you are well and healthy.  I love you all.  I keep working hard to prepare to share this wonderful gospel with the world.
 
Love,  Hermana Mills 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30th Letter

Buenos Dias Familia y Amigos,


It is so good to write all of you!!! I love you all very much and appreciate the prayers that are said on my and my brother's behalf. I am so grateful for those prayers. First, Grandma sent me some pictures of your trip to the Manti Pageant. I really really really didn't like the pictures of my one and only sister bleeding from the mouth being placed in an ambulance. Dear Baby Sister, Take it easy!!!!! Drink lots of water!!!! You have to let your body have sometime to heal before you can do all the things you are use to doing. You are worrying me. I know you are independent. I know you can do everything by yourself, but you have to stay down for this one. Love, The Big Sister. For those of you who don't know my little sister had her tonsils taken out June 8th.

So as for me I am doing much better. I am all better from my lovely Pink Eye. And no one has come down with it either. So it was worth all the handwashing. I washed my hands so much that the were cracking and bleeding. This week the new mission presidents were here at the MTC getting trained. This meant that the 1M building which is the main building was closed for us except for laundry and the cafeteria. We had a special fireside on Friday night where Elder Oaks spoke to us. Elder Christofferson, Elder Bednar, Elder Cook, Elder Scott, Elder Holland, and Elder Nelson also were there at the fireside. It was so neat to see all the apostles. Elder Oaks spoke about the importance of having a firm testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. How the world is beginning to question his divine mission and life, but we know who he is and should not hesitate to testify of it. The first presidency was here but we didn't see them. They blocked off half of the cafeteria. Those of you who have been to the MTC know how crowded the cafeteria is. Imagine the same amount of people squished into half the space. It was very crowded.

Life here at the MTC moves on. We continue to practice teaching and learn the language. This week we are starting to teach the lessons completely in Espanol. I am surprised that I can kind of teach. But I still need a lot of work. I just keep working hard and have faith that God called me to this mission and he will help me accomplish what I need to accomplish. I would just like to thank everyone for the love and support you all have given to me. I appreciate those of you who have written.

Love, Hermana Mills