Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I'm Still Here!

View from their trailer porch
Clearing Snow...again
Look who's in the driver's seat? Michael's excited he got approved
to drive now that his training period is over.
Oh, boy. Careful in that snow, Elder Alley!
Michael & his buddy, Gatlin
Elder Alley :)
Intense game of Uno...that's about to get even more intense...
He has no idea what's behind him...
Just smiling for the camera...
Still no clue...
Like, seriously, none at all. Lol
Gotcha! (Hahahaha. The look on his face is priceless.)
A cutthroat game of Uno
Elder Cluff. (Are those special Uno glasses?)  :)
Elder Barney
Canoe Sled Run 
Canoe Sled (Looks like a "boat load" of fun!) :D 
Ouch. Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark.

February 25, 2015

Dear Family,

How's it going everyone! Man, I can't believe how much older Aubrey looks in her pictures. When I saw the pictures of her posing, I just thought to myself, "It's official, my little sister is a teenager." Lol. Still, I'm really grateful that things are okay over there. Mom, thank you so much for keeping me updated. I really appreciate this.

As for my report her in Martin, Kentucky: this past week was a very unusual week. As I mentioned in my last letter and from what you already heard, Martin got hit by by a huge snow storm. Don't worry about Elder Barney and I though. We were and still are safe and warm. Plus, our water is still working. Thank goodness. It's just that, with many of the roads being very risky to drive on, the local authorities encouraged everyone to stay inside for a while. As a result, Elder Barney and I weren't able to see many of our friends and investigators. You would think that taking some time off from missionary work would be fun and relaxing. Well, it was on the first day, but it quickly got boring and cabin fever was not kind to Elder Barney or I. If I wasn't a missionary right now, I probably wouldn't have minded being inside. However, I came out here to do some work and if I'm not doing it then I find myself getting anxious.

Luckily, we were able to get out outside and shovel snow for our neighbors and visit the Bentley family, and a few of our other friends once the roads and weather became more favorable. So as bad as the weather was, we were still able to have some fun during this winter week.

Which reminds me of the story that I promised to tell you. One day, the Prestonsburg Elders (Elder Cluff and Elder Brough), Elder Barney and I were at the Bentleys' house because they invited us to go sledding on their driveway...ON A CANOE! I am not joking. The Elders and I parked our cars on this other driveway to get out of the main road. We thought we would be able to steer the canoe safely away from the cars while were sledding. But what happened was that the P-burg elders and few other people (I wasn't on that ride) road that canoe so fast that it went straight into the P-burg Elders' car. The good news was that nobody got hurt. The bad news was that there was a big dent on the car door and it was going to be inspected the next day during Zone Conference. Uh oh! At first, we were all in terror about the damage. But then a few minutes later, we just about died laughing from just thinking about how the P-burg Elders were going to explain the situation to the mission office over the phone. Huge lol! So that's the story.

Here's the news for transfers this week: Elder Barney and I are staying in Martin, Kentucky for another six weeks. However, because we have many missionaries returning home this year and few coming in, there are many areas that are getting shut down, including Prestonsburg. Which means that once Elder Cluff and Elder Brough leave on Thursday, we will be in charge of both Martin and Prestonsburg. Yikes! Wish us luck because we are going to need it. Luckily, the Winns will still be around and they told us they can help us get around if they need to.

Well, I think that's everything. Just keep me and Elder Barney in your prayers because we are already getting tired of winter. Come on spring! Anyway, I love you all and miss you all. Take care everyone.

Elder Michael Alley

P.S. Yes, I did get the suit that Max sent. The pants are little tight around the waist but I think it should be fine for now. Take care.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm Doing Ok

We didn't hear from Elder Alley until Wednesday this week due to President's Day and then a snow storm that pummeled his area (and sent temps plunging to minus 15 degrees. BRRRR!) We knew he and his companion were safe and sound, though, thanks to Trish Bentley (mom to all the missionaries in her area) who sent us pics and updates. What would the mothers of missionaries in Martin, KY do without her? (Probably worry a lot. haha)
Michael's District
Michael and his companion, Elder Barney
With Elder Cluff, Elder Brough, Elder Barney
and Gatlin

This face is soooo "Michael". LOL
Trish Bentley aka Michael's (and all the missionaries') Kentucky Mom :)
Trish and Elizabeth
Trish & David
Enjoying the Ward Valentine's Party
Shoveling snow after the big snow storm
Work first...
Play later. :)

February 17, 2015

Dear Family,

Hey everyone! How's it going? I'm sorry that this letter came in so late. As you have probably already heard, Martin, Kentucky got hit by a huge snow storm. However, you don't need to worry about Elder Barney and I. We are safe and sound. The only problem we have now is that because many of the roads that our investigators live on are now too risky to drive on, the missionary work here in Martin is coming to a stand still. Luckily, the ward allowed us to borrow their church building's snow shovels so that we can help ourselves and others. We've already had a couple of unplanned service opportunities arise for us. It was awesome.

I do have to admit, seeing all this snow made me homesick. It just brought back a lot of good memories for me. I know that I'm supposed to focus on missionary work, but seeing all this snow made me think back on all the good times we had playing in the snow. From sledding to snowball fights, I just miss all of that. Which is why, in a way, the unplanned service opportunities to shovel snow for people is a blessing because it helped me to keep that homesickness at bay. I don't mean to sound like a downer. I promise that I'm doing okay. This is just one of those few times where thoughts of home just come back to me. Nevertheless, I believe that this mission will help me to become stronger in my faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm going to make this e-mail short. I need to drive Elder Cluff and Elder Brough back to their apartment. Just wanted to let you know that I'm okay. Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.


Elder Michael Alley

Note from Elder Alley's mom: I found it kind of funny that massive snow storms and below zero temperatures make him homesick for Spokane. I find that tons of snow and super cold temps make me homesick for Florida. ;)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Elder Michael Alley Mission Report

Pres. & Sis. Salisbury visited their district a couple weeks ago

Sis. Bentley sent this last night. (Hooray for pics!)

February 9, 2015

Dear Family,

Man, it's hard to believe that I've been out for almost 4 months! Can you believe that? 4 months down, 20 to go. How are things going in good ole Spokane, Washington? Looks like things are going good, judging by the pics and letters. As for me, this last week has been a week of miracles. First of all let me answer some of the weekly housekeeping questions:

1) The story behind that pic is this: During our companionship study, Elder Barney and I received a text from Church Headquarters with a media referral (a potential investigator who either ordered something from or wants to speak to missionaries). We got so excited about it that we immediately got our jackets on, called the Winns to ask them for a ride to the address, and went out the door. In our moment of excitement and my moment of forgetfulness, I didn't realize that I wasn't wearing a tie or belt until the weather warmed up and I took off my jacket. It was embarrassing, but luckily no one else was at the church when I finally took my coat off. Ha ha.

2) Elder Barney has been out on his mission for 15 months.

3) My zone is the Ashland Zone.

4) Yes, we do have investigators. In fact, we picked up two new investigators and one potential investigator!

This leads up to my report for this week of miracles for Elder and I. One day during our dinner break, Elder Barney got this weird craving for a Dilly Bar at Dairy Queen. I was also in the mood for some kind of desert so we went to Dairy Queen. When we arrived at the counter to order, the cashier looked at us and asked if we were Mormons. We told him yes and then he told us that he had a dream last night about Mormons coming to Dairy Queen! Coincidence or Divine Intervention? I say Divine Intervention because after we got our orders he sat down with us and asked a lot of questions about what we believe and about the church. We answered many of his questions and even exchanged phone numbers! It was awesome! But what really made me happy was feeling so calm and confident as I was answering some of his questions. 4 months ago, I was struggling to figure out just the basics of missionary work and gospel doctrine. I believe that the conversation we had with this employee was a tender mercy from the Lord and that He was showing me that I am making progress. It was amazing!

I'm going to wrap up now, but before I do, I want to invite you all to do something. I want you want you to read hymn 301 "I Am a Child of God", Psalms 82:6, and 1 Nephi 17:36. As you read these verses, ask yourself these questions: Do I truly believe that I'm a child of God? Do I see God as my Father and Jesus Christ as my Savior and brother or do I just see them as just characters from a story book? Do the words from "I Am a Child of God" mean anything to me, or are they just empty words from a catchy song?

The reason that I invite everyone to ponder these questions is because I have also been pondering them. Thanks to my calling as a missionary, I have given serious thought about our divine potential to become like our Heavenly Father. I wish I could describe to you the joy and wonderful personal revelations that I have received from my studies on this one simple but profound truth from the Gospel. But for now, please study the song and the verses. I promise you that there is great joy in coming to know that we are children of our Heavenly Father. Take care everyone. I love and miss you all.


Elder Michael Alley      

Monday, February 2, 2015

Elder Michael Alley Mission Update (Btw, all these "titles" are straight from the subject line of Michael's emails. His subject lines always just say it like it is. lol)

He got his birthday package from us! :)
They had a wonderful birthday lunch for him at the church 

With his companion, Elder Barney. He can't say enough good things 
about Elder Barney. He thinks the world of him.
Then the Bentleys had a birthday dinner for him, too.
He's getting spoiled out there! ;)
Spaghetti for the main dish and apple pie for dessert.
His favorites!
Bro. Bentley carved this walking stick and gave it to Michael for his birthday.
Such talent!
Michael was thrilled!
Such an awesome gift
Church b-ball
Another great lunch at the Bentleys
I'm loving the glasses. :)
In front of the church building. I don't think I've ever seen a big sign like this
in front on our one of our buildings. You'll definitely know where the church is.
Such a pretty part of the country, too. 
Michael sent this photo to me (and the church sign one) with the caption:
"Forgot something that morning". Not sure how that happens (no tie or belt.)
I want to know the story behind it. I would've thought his companion would've said
something before they left, so maybe they spent the night somewhere else
and Michael forgot to pack a tie and belt? It's a mystery to me until he (hopefully)
answers that question in his next email. haha Oh, Michael.

February 2, 2015

Dear Family,

First of all, thank you all so much for the letters and package for my birthday! It was awesome. I had a lot of fun during my birthday. The Bentley family, the Winns, Elder Cluff, Elder Brough, and Elder Barney all threw me this awesome party at the Bentleys' house. Don't worry, I'll send you the address soon so that you can send them a "thank you" card. Thank you everyone so much.

This week has been interesting. We had some amazing opportunities to give blessings to both active and less-active members. Even though we didn't have a lot teaching opportunities this week, I have been blessed to exercise the power of the priesthood and to really feel like a servant of the Lord. These experiences just help strengthen my testimony of the reality, power and importance of the priesthood.

I'm sorry that this letter is going to be shorter than normal, but there wasn't a lot to report on. I will say that we are starting church basketball on Friday evenings, so hopefully this will help us to get potential investigators and less-active members to church. Cross your fingers.

I better get going. I love you all and miss you all. Take care everyone.


Elder Michael Alley

P.S. Enjoy those "fringe benefits"* while you still can. ;)

*He's referring to the blessings we're receiving because he's serving a mission.