Monday, December 15, 2014

Tis the Season

Setting up the "He is the Gift" display at the City Hall Christmas Event
Pretty sure Elder Alley (and all the missionaries) are at the top
of Santa's Nice List this year. ;)
The stockings arrived!
Thanks to Grandma Alley and her mad sewing skillz!
(Hmmm. I'm sensing that whomever they rent the trailer from is a University of Kentucky fan. lol)
Elder Buttars got a missionary stocking, too. :)
(Yeah, definitely sensing a UK theme in the room decor. That's a lot of Wild Cat stuff.)
December 15, 2014

Dear Family,

How's it going everyone? Man, I don't know if there are any words that can describe how grateful I am to have been born into our wonderful family. I am so grateful for all of your love and support. The Christmas packages that you sent to me and Elder Buttars were awesome! I can't wait to see what I got for Christmas! But more importantly, I am grateful for all of your letters of support, wisdom, and comfort. They really do mean a lot to me.

Mom, I'm really sorry that I've only given you the surface details of my experience as a missionary. As you figured out, most of the time I just try to keep things to myself. I do it because I don't want other people to be burdened with my problems. I really enjoy helping other people.  I want to be the kind of person that people can rely on and have confidence in. But when I'm the one the one who needs help, it's hard. But I guess that since I'm only human, I need to start relying on others to help me.

So, how do I feel about being a missionary? To be honest, the feelings vary from day to day. There are days when I feel inspired to get out there and take on the world. This inspired feeling comes from many different sources: from what I read in the scriptures to counsel given in Zone Meetings. Even your letters have given me great spiritual boosts to keep going. Unfortunately, those inspired feelings tend to go away as Elder Buttars and I try to find people to teach. When our investigators don't progress because of either busy work schedules or they are just not home for some reason, I lose that go-getter attitude. And when I see people who are less active because they have been offended by some one or they just don't want to commit to anything or build their testimony, then deep down inside I just want to throw in the towel, go back to the trailer and just sit there for the rest of the day. Why? Because I feel like I'm just wasting gas, time and energy. I'm also struggling to be myself. I know that people said to be my best self but, for some reason, I feel like I need to be this disciplined missionary as soon as the suit and tie come on. I just hate that feeling. 

In my mind and heart I would ask: What do I need to do to get the work moving faster? What can I contribute to the mission? Why don't I have answers or solutions to all of their problems? Am I working hard enough or not? 

I promise, that my district and mission president have been giving great counsel and comfort to me as I express my concerns. Plus, I have seen the tender mercies of the Lord. The members of the ward are super nice and supportive of us missionaries. To the point that I am worried about being overfed (ha ha). I love doing service at this place called Elkhorn Park. I love working with the Winns (the senior couple). Elder Cluff (District Leader) and Elder Wheeler are hilarious and great to work with, and my companionship with Elder Buttars is good. The less actives that we get to talk to are super friendly to us and we get to have fun conversations with them. I'm even finding a love for choir practice at church. Who knew?

Please know that I've also been blessed by the Lord in ways that I can't describe. I believe, and still do, that the Lord will make me into the honorable man that He needs me to be. My definition of "honorable man": A man is who loves God and raises his family in the ways of the Gospel. Basically, like dad and grandpa. I hope that helps.

Well, I think that's everything. I love you all and miss you all. I can't wait to Skype/phone you on Christmas. I'm hoping to find out more about that soon, maybe in specialized training tomorrow. Anyway, take care everyone. Merry Christmas!

Elder Michael Alley

P.S. One set of pictures is of me and Elder Cluff at the Allen City Hall for a special Christmas event. We were on exchanges that day and we got to set up a booth to show the "He is the Gift" video there. It was awesome! I even got to take a picture with Santa Claus! #RelivingMyChildhood (ha ha). Merry Christmas everyone!

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