(from David's mom:) Today we received an email from the mission office in Milan. They also sent a photo of David and (I assume) his companion Anziano Andersen, with President and Sister Dibb, the mission president and his wife. (The photo is blurry. It's not your eyes. I can at least tell that it's David, but it's not a great picture.) Here is the letter:
Dear Brother and Sister Whitesell,
Sister Dibb and I are happy to report that your son, David Franklin Whitesell, has arrived, received a warm Italy Milan Mission welcome, and been sent out to the field. His first city of labor is Udine and his companion is Elder Andersen.
My primary concern as the mission president is the well-being of each missionary and to help them realize the purpose of a mission call, to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (Preach My Gospel, page 1). I invite you to join me in that effort. Through your prayers, encouraging letters, and support of mission rules, you can help your missionary in this challenging but wonderful experience.
A mission is a life-changing experience for both the missionary and those he teaches. It requires faith, spirituality, discipline, obedience, physical stamina and great effort. Early in a missionary's mission, the task ahead can seem overwhelming. However, with persistent effort and faith in Jesus Christ, a new missionary can achieve great things and do all that is necessary to become a great servant of our Heavenly Father. Throughout your missionary's mission, but especially in these early months, I encourage you to write letters expressing your confidence in him and the inspired calling he has received.
Parents often have a variety of questions about mission life and policies. To help answer some of those we most frequently receive, I have attached some information that I hope will be helpful. I encourage you to read it carefully and save it as a reference while your missionary is here with us in Italy. I am also attaching a photograph of your missionary with Sister Dibb and me.
Un caro saluto,
Italy Milan Mission
Bruce L. Dibb