Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Conversion Story

Christmas Day Skype call with Elder Alley :)

December 28, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley, and all my Family & Friends,

 It was awesome to be able to skype you guys for Christmas! The best part about skyping is not what was said in the session, but just being able to see your faces and hear your voices. I'm grateful to just be with you guys, even if it's only through technology.

I'm also stoked about Sam's Mission call! He is going to do awesome in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. Alley family missionaries unite! (First spiritually, then physically after two years) ;) In the words of Grandpa Alley, "Go give them Heaven!" Good luck, Sam!

This e-mail is going to be a special one because I want to share with you my testimony and and how I came, and am still coming, to know that Jesus Christ lives and that His Gospel is true. First of all, I want to thank everyone who sent me letters with their testimonies and conversion stories. They were amazing and I loved reading them! I apologize for crying during our skype call and talking about how frustrated I was about the work here in the West Virginia Charleston Mission. Despite the difficulties, I know that Jesus Christ lives, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's true church, and the Gospel and all that accompanies it is true! I have had too many experiences to think otherwise.

It all started with my childhood. Like Nephi who wrote in the first part of the Book of Mormon, I was also born of goodly parents. Even better, I was born of a goodly family, with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters and a brother who are all strong in the gospel and many of them served missions. Growing up with such a wonderful family, I didn't have a reason to doubt about whether God existed or not, I just knew He did exist. As I got older, I was blessed to have friends and youth leaders who were also strong in the Gospel as well. I couldn't have asked for a better family and group of friends.

However, I will admit that my faith did get tested at one point. I guess it happened when I started middle school. While I have always been blessed with great teachers and friends, it was also a time when I finally took notice of foul language and poor moral values. If you don't believe me, just take a look at what's written on the bathroom and locker room walls. After seeing this, and not being a social-butterfly to begin with, I avoided socializing in school for a while because I didn't want to risk getting in with the wrong crowd and was also afraid of being ridiculed for a belief that I was struggling to understand myself. I knew God existed but I was becoming unsure about the Book of Mormon and the whole Joseph Smith story.

To make matters worse, I did not have a habit of reading the scriptures. I didn't read much other than what the teachers assigned us to read. I still attended church, but mostly because that is where all my family and friends were. Despite my struggling faith and less-than-noble reasons to go to church, I knew that the church was good and this is where I belonged.

Luckily, through the Lord's tender mercy, I was blessed to attend Seminary and Especially for Youth activities during the summer. And, while I'm not much of an outdoors person, I also enjoyed going to four high adventures as well. These experiences helped me to come out of my shell and also to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel. What helped me was that through out this journey, I worked on my scripture reading habit by reading at least one verse to memorize and/or ponder about (#ScriptureMasteryWorksWonders). This led me to read other verses in the scriptures because I developed a love for reading and memorizing short, summarized statements and phrases. This eventually led me to read the entire Book of Mormon from start to finish for the first time during Seminary and even praying about it its truthfulness in the middle of one night. An experience that was powerful and that I'll never forget. When that happened, I knew that the Book of Mormon was true and this church had to be God's true church! There was just no other explanation to to why I felt so much joy that night.

There is so much more to my conversion story than what I have shared with you. But let it suffice to say that this was just one of many experiences that I had that helped me become a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Elder Alley enjoying his last moments with Elder Taylor. They had such a great time together.
Looks like the Seahawks socks were a hit. :)
(I have to laugh about all the Star Wars posters. haha)
Transfer Day
Thumbs up from Elder Alley.
A few of the wonderful missionaries serving in the West Virginia Charleston Mission
Can't wait to Skype with this guy on Christmas!!!
December 21, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, and all my Family & Friends,

Merry Christmas everyone! Wow! It's so hard to believe that I'll be skyping you guys in just a few days! I can't wait to see everyone's faces and catch up on the news back home. It's definitely going to be awesome!

This week has been crazy for me because of all the changes that have been made. I'll do my best to summarize what's happened so far:

I have been transferred to Masontown, West Virginia. I'm the new district leader and my new companion's name is Elder Bean. He is from Sequim, Washington. (Finally, another Washington buddy!) He's a cool guy. He and I both like anime (Japanese cartoons) and video games so we have some fun conversations. He's even shown me some sketches that he's drawn and they are so well done. I think he and I are going to get along just fine. There's not much to report since this week was mainly just me trying to get to know the area and the people here.

Now for Mom's questions:

1) Yes, Brother Bentley did actually carve that walking stick. Is it awesome or is it awesome?

2) I received one of your packages, the one with the stocking in it. Yes, the PO Box address is correct.

4) There's a member couple that invited us over to their house for the Christmas Skype. Time wise, we are looking at doing it before noon. We are still coordinating the schedule. I'll send you a text beforehand to set up a specific time.

 5) Elder Taylor's new companion is Elder Kovac, a missionary who was actually in my MTC district. He's a cool guy. Yes, Elder Taylor is staying in Flatwoods as the new district leader.

Well, I think that's everything. If not, then I'll just tell you during our Christmas skype. I'll see you all soon. Merry Christmas. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pics Before My Transfer

Flatwoods Branch Christmas party

Sis. Amy Powell and her children, Cora and Baden

When the walking stick you want to mail home is too long, you make your own box. :)

Sutton Library: site of P-day emailing :)

Flatwoods apartment

Bro. Hanks
Elder Caldwell

Elder J. Taylor & Elder Shirley
The Cowen District: Elder Shirley, Elder Caldwell, Elder Ruda,
Elder Williams, Elder J. Taylor & I

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Transfer News!

Blue Hole, WV earned a spot on National Geographic’s
“Splash Tested: America’s Best Swimming Holes.”
This is near Elder Alley's new area. He is serving in a beautiful part of this country.
Waterfall in Masontown
Main Street Masontown

December 16, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley and all my Family & Friends,

Thank you so much for the 12-Days of Christmas package and the pics. I especially loved the ones of our Christmas-decorated house and star wars memes. They were awesome!

Well, transfer week is here and here are the results: I will be transferred to an area called Masontown (not sure if I spelled it right) and my new companion will be Elder Bean! I will now be in the Morgantown Zone. But that's not all! I have also been called to be the new district leader! Wish me luck because I'm really nervous about this new responsibility. I really don't like being in leadership positions so just keep me in your prayers. Please and thank you ;)

Well, nothing too special happened this week here in Flatwoods. We did have a branch Christmas Party, which I really enjoyed. I love Christmas Parties. Other than that, it was just another week of trying to find people to teach. I also had the opportunity to say good-bye to everyone so that was nice.

Well, I'm just going to keep it at that. I promise that I'll tell you more about what's going on during Skype. I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks again for the Skype info. Take care everyone. Merry Christmas!


Elder Michael Alley

    Wikipedia Info:
    Masontown, WV (North Central WV)
    Masontown is a town in Preston County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 546 at the 2010 census. 
    Area180 acres
    Weather61°F (16°C), Wind S at 2 mph (3 km/h), 48% Humidity

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas from West Virginia!

The DeVillenuvs Family

P-day Dew Pong

December 7, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley and all those who may be reading this ;),

How's it going everyone? Man, it's hard to believe to believe that Christmas is already around the corner! As you all probably already heard, the church is doing another Christmas initiative. It's called #ASaviorIsBorn! This time the initiative has two videos and they are both amazing! If you haven't watched yet, do it ASAP! ;)

Well, I'm sorry to say this but this will have to be a short e-mail. Today for P-day, we are getting together with two other elders in our district to play something called Dew Pong (it's ping-pong that somehow involves Mountain Dew. I'll find out when it happens). Sounds like fun. Plus, there really isn't much to report. This week was a slow week for missionary work.

However, there is one experience that I would like to share. We had a great testimony meeting during church. I've really come to love fast and testimony meetings since being a missionary. But what made this testimony meeting special to me was that Sister Powell (member) brought her kids and the kids of a former potential investigator (it's a long story). What happened was that this boy, who wasn't a member of the church, but was raised in the Catholic faith by his mom, got up to the podium and shared his testimony of how we need to be like Jesus Christ and bless the lives of others and from there he blessed Sister Powell for all that she did for him and his family. I was just dumbfounded! This boy, who was raised in a different faith, just bore a simple and sweet testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ! When he got down from the podium, the Savior's words, "Suffer the little children to come unto me," just hit me like a ton of bricks. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's true church, but I also know that there is good and truth in other faiths as well and that God loves all of His children, no matter what their faith is.

I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

P.S. Next week is transfer week so I won't be e-mailing until Wednesday. I also may be getting transferred since I've been here in Flatwoods for a while. Just a heads up.