To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,
On July 24, 1847, after 1,300 miles beginning in Nauvoo, Illinois and ending at mouth Emigration Canyon in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young was very sick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and was riding in the back of a wagon. After exiting Emigration Canyon and cresting a small hill, he asked to look out of the wagon. Those with him opened the canvas cover and propped him up so he could see the empty desert valley below. He then proclaimed, "It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on." The words, "this is the place," were soon heard throughout the wagon train as the Mormon pioneers descended into the valley, their long journey having come to an end.
None of us will ever know how profound the sacrifice was of the approximately 70,000 early saints who ultimately made this trek. We will also never understand the difficulty of the way. But all of us inherit the legacy left by these early Saints who became acquainted with the hand of the Lord in their extreme circumstances.
There is an interesting parallel between those early Mormon pioneers and those of us called to leave our homes and families to travel a distance and sacrifice our time and efforts for the gospel's sake. Our challenges are different, but the reward of coming to know and trust in the Lord that results from those challenges is the same. In our day, the Lord still admonishes that we serve Him with ALL our "hearts, might, mind and strength." It is the price of discipleship. It always has been and ever will be. It is only as we give everything that we qualify for the promise to inherit, "all that my Father hath" (D&C 84:38).
Joseph Smith taught, "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation." Understanding this then, let us willingly give our whole selves to this work that we might lay up for ourselves "treasures in heaven" and find the joy promised to the faithful.
We love you. The Texas Houston Mission is the place for us to labor to bring to build up His kingdom. We love our pioneer heritage and love knowing that as we develop our faith, our posterity will be blessed just like our lives have been blessed because of our "Blessed, Honored Pioneers.