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.


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.


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