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.

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.