After the Saints were driven out of Missouri and the Prophet Joseph was free from prison, Brigham was called on a mission to England in 1839. He and his family were living in an old army barracks in Montrose, Iowa, on the swampy banks of the Mississippi River. Many of the Mormons, including Brigham and Mary Ann, got sick with malaria. Brigham could hardly get out of bed. Even though he was ill, he knew he needed to begin his mission. He wanted to serve the Lord because he loved missionary work.
His sister Fanny told him to stay home until he felt better, but he said he was going even though he was unwell. He started out, crossing the Mississippi River, but only got as far as Heber C. Kimball’s house on the other side. Heber and his family were also sick. Brigham rested there for four days. Mary Ann (Brigham's wife) found out he was still close by and came across the river to see him. Brigham and Heber could hardly walk because of their sickness, but they knew they had to leave for England. They climbed into the open wagon box to start the trip. Their wives stood in the doorway, watching. Heber said as they rode off, “This is no way to leave. Let’s give them a cheer.” Heber and Brigham wobbled to their feet and raised their hats, shouting, “Hurrah for Israel.” Heavenly Father blessed them to get well, and they were on their way to a successful mission with others of the twelve apostles.
Brigham and the other apostles converted between seven and eight thousand people during the year they were in Great Britain. What far-reaching effects those missionaries have had when we consider the generations of Church members that have come from these baptisms, missionary work performed by their descendants and temple work completed by family members.