Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!

January 5, 2015

Dear Family,

How's it going y'all? How's it feel beginning the year 2015? Man, I got to admit that I'm little nervous because this is the year when, like Max and Jacob, I spend 100% of it doing missionary work. I really hope this year flies by because, in all honesty, this two-year mission is starting to feel like a two-century mission. On the bright side though, this week is the last week of my 12 week training program. I'm hoping that this sense of accomplishment will give me the boost I need to endure my mission. I'm also hoping that this freezing weather and flu season doesn't last forever because it's really putting a hurt on the missionary work here in Martin. It's just really hard to see people when they don't want to be outside (especially since some of our investigators are single women and mission rules prevent us from going into their homes) and they're sick. Oh well, it is what it is I guess.

I also want you to know that I love the pictures that you sent me. I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw Sam in his snowman costume (I would laugh harder but I'm doing these e-mails in library). I also can't believe how much older Aubrey looks in her pictures! I really wish she would stop growing (ha ha). I especially enjoyed the pictures of my new cousin Adam. He is so adorable. Way to bowl while holding my new cousin Dad! ;)

Man, I wish I was there for that Bunco Night at our house. It looked like a lot of fun. Could you do me favor and keep that slushie machine until I get back? I want to find out for myself how good these slushies really are.

Well, with the new year coming up, I have to admit that I've got some mixed feelings about it. Half of me is ready for a change: a change in weather, maybe a change in location if, for some reason I'm the one that gets transferred, but most importantly I'm ready for a new sense of motivation and excitement for missionary work. As I read Max's, Jacob's and Ashley's e-mails, I felt a lot of sympathy for them. Ashley's e-mail really stood out to me because I know just how frustrating it is to have an investigator drop you. Just last week, we had an investigator drop us on the day that we finally had a scheduled appointment with her! Man, this stinks! That's the struggle we have here in Martin: scheduling appointments. To make the long story short, it's really hard to schedule appointments here. When these things happen it becomes really hard to stay motivated for missionary work.

Being out here in the mission, I've realized some things about me that I've never thought about before. I like being in a big group of people and I like positive energy. I like being in big groups of people because it helps me to not feel lonely but I don't feel forced to say something since they'll just have conversations with other people. When I do talk to someone about something I like for them to be excited because then I can feed off of that energy.

To help me stay motivated, I read your letters and e-mails and find a quiet place to read my scriptures in the trailer during our meal breaks. I hope this e-mail doesn't make you sad, it's just that the work here is moving slow and I find writing about my thoughts and feelings to someone helps me to stay sane. I also gave a similar to report to President Salisbury.

There is one other thing in Ashley's e-mail that stood out to me. It was the advice that her companion gave her: "There is no such thing as a "half-miracle," but sometimes we just don't get to see how it ends."  I thought that was a great piece of advice. Not only does it help me to see the big picture of missionary work, but it also helps me to know that even if my weekly and daily reports show zeroes, it doesn't mean that miracles aren't happening. We just might not get a chance to see them.

Well, that's my report for y'all. Again, please don't let this letter get you down. I just needed to get this off my chest. As I have said before in my past e-mails, I've been given great counsel from my mission president and other missionaries and the members (especially the Bentleys) have given us great support. Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.


Elder Michael Alley 

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