I am so proud to be a missionary serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission. I love the hills, the diversity of flowers and fruit, and the redwood trees. California is a beautiful state. It is rich in landscape and in people. I have especially loved and appreciated the people of California. I am currently serving in Vallejo and I agree one hundred percent with what Elder Jones has said about this area. My brothers and sisters here have taught me so much about perserverance and about holding to the simple truths of the gospel.
I'll let Alma the Younger sum it all up for me: "I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day. And I would not that ye think that I know of myself—not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God. Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things" (Alma 36: 3-5). Not only was I born into the mission in Crescent City, but I experienced a spiritual rebirth. That rebirth was a result of the trials and challenges that I faced as a new missionary.
Before I came on my mission I would often back down from a challenge. There were many opportunities in my life that I missed because I was afraid of failing. Rather than manning up and seizing the moment I cowered and withdrew. Fear had always overpowered my faith. For the first time in my life I buckled up and got to work. I seized every opportunity I could to serve others and to teach. I worked myself into the ground for the people there. I stood up for what I believed and I lived what I preached. Because I chose to exercise my faith I was able to accomplish miracles. The biggest miracle however was my own spiritual growth.