Carmel by the Sea, California. This mission has one of the most beautiful churches we’ve seen in this trip. The arched ceiling beams set it apart from any of the other mission churches. Here, under the floor of the sanctuary, Father Junipero Serra is buried. After Father Serra established the mission in San Diego in 1769, he took a ship to Monterey to establish the second mission in the chain. However, because many native people lived throughout the Carmel area and the Carmel River provided a fresh water source and good soil, he decided to establish the second mission here in 1771. In addition to these first two missions, Father Serra established eight others in what is now California. Although Father Serra passed away before the present church was constructed, it was at his request that he was placed at rest at this location. He gave up the comforts of his home and family and traveled across the ocean to serve in the missions of Mexico. He was 17 years old when he received the Franciscan habit, 36 years old when he came to Mexico, 54 years old when he was named president of the Missions of Lower and Upper California, and 56 years old when he established Mission San Diego. The more we learn about Father Serra, the better we understand that he was a man who loved the Lord and desired to serve Him.