Monday, June 22, 2015

Trying to Beat the Heat and Humidity

Elder Varner & the Gale Family

On exchanges with Elder Boer

Dear Family,

Wow, it looks and sounds like everyone had a crazy, but super fun time in Utah. I'm especially grateful that Aubrey had a blast at EFY. However, I'm now a little more concerned about all those boys who may be keeping an eye out for her. Back off boys, ha ha ;)

Well, this week was a little bit better for missionary work. My highlight of the week was when I went on exchanges with Elder Boer, my district leader. He came down with me to the Parkersburg North area and we were tracting around this one street when we met this man outside his house. We were teaching him the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ when it suddenly rained on us. Despite it raining, he continued to listen and we continued to teach. Even though he told us that he didn't want to take the missionary discussions, I'm still proud that we didn't let a little rain stop us from sharing a gospel message. Now that is being a missionary! We may not have beaten the heat or humidity, but we did beat the rain ;)

Other than that, not much is different than last week. Oh well, the transfer is almost over and soon I'll just have two transfers to go before I'm halfway done. I'm super excited for that milestone! I'm sorry this e-mail isn't super exciting. However, I want you all to know that I love you all and miss you all. 

Take care everyone. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Last of Pics from Elder Alley's SD Card (Part 4)

Here's a look back at all his companions, so far...

Elder Buttars, his first companion/trainer in Martin, KY

Elder Barney (2nd companion in Martin, KY)

Elder McMullin was his first companion in Parkersburg, WV
(This was the transfer after Elder Barney)
With his district and current companion, Elder Varner (to Michael's left)

 Here's pics of his current house.

 He's been very fortunate that all the places he's lived so far have had a washer and dryer on site.

The most important feature of his house: a nerf gun arsenal. ;)

Pics from Elder Alley's SD Card (Part 3)

Looks like he's been in a Christmas play the ward put on...
And that he sang in it!
He's posed for awesome missionary pics
LOVE this one. The Book of Mormon will keep you on the right track!
He's made indoor s'mores...
And visited the West Virginia State Museum
He's taken pictures of the start of a big snow

SD Card Pics (Part 2)

The "revelations" continue...

About that flood...
That "creek" behind their house came awful close to their trailer
They were trapped there for a bit because all the roads out looked like this!
Pic of him actually canoe sledding (the pics he sent previously of this were just of the canoe and the aftermath of it hitting the district leaders' car)
At some point a golfball attacked their mission car. (Again, zero mention of this incident in his emails. Wouldn't you think this email worthy?)
Update: Found out this was actually the result of Elder McMullin hitting a mailbox with the car. (The mailbox had a decorative golfball on it.) ;)
He's toured parts of the state capitol 
He's been hiking
He's visited Civil War Battlefields
He's been by...hanging things.
(Ok, I have no idea what this picture is of. That hanging thing must be significant somehow. Guesses on what it is, anyone?)

The Best of the 468 Photos from His SD Card or The Mission We Didn't Know Elder Alley Was Having (Part 1)

From Elder Alley's Mom:  Elder Alley sent me a package last week. When I opened it up it had all the letters he's gotten since he's been out on his mission. He asked if I could put them in a notebook so he didn't have to keep lugging them around every transfer. He is pretty sentimental. It looks like he has kept every little thing anyone has sent him. I've sent him a bunch of goofy Dollar Store cards just so he'd have something in the mailbox and have a laugh. I figured he'd chuck them after he read them, but no, he kept every single one.

He also sent his camera's SD card home and it had over 400 pics!!! It was crazy looking at all these things he's done that he's never even hinted at in his emails. I'm not sure what the parameters are for him to deem something "email worthy", but I think I would've mentioned quite a few of these. haha So here's some pics of what he's been doing that I had no clue about. ;)

According to his pics, he's been on multiple fishing outings

Of course, looking at the size of the fish he's catching I can see why he didn't think it worth mentioning. lol
He's playing ping pong...
and going to bonfires...
Apparently, he's been clamming. (That's a HUGE clam.)
And having nerf gun wars
He's been riding a bike! (I thought he was strictly in cars, but apparently not.)
Looks like he got his hair cut by Sassy Jo herself. ;)

What's Up Ya'll?

Dear Family,

I'm so happy that the *package arrived safe and sound. I was a little worried because it was my first time using the post office to send out a package. Awesome! Another life skill learned ;)
I guess I can answer a couple of your questions. Yes, that was my mission car in that one pic of the golf ball on the windshield. To make the long story, Elder McMullin and I were on exchanges with the Parkersburg South Elders (Elder Hollembeak and Elder Lane) and Elder McMullin was driving the car from a service project. The wheel got caught on a curve and the car ran into a mailbox which caused the damage (I wasn't in the car when that happened). Luckily, no one got hurt but Elder Varner and I were the ones who had to take it to the shop to get it fixed. #Don'tLetElderMcMullinDriveYourCar ;)
As for the work here in the Parkersburg North area: it was a slow week and I can honestly say that I hate hot and humid weather. Therefore, I'm going to tell you now that when we do come back here for a mission tour, it will not be during the middle of summer. However, as slow as the work goes, I really do get to have some fun. I'm sorry that I sounded serious (all work and no play) in my e-mails. To be honest, it's something that I've been trying to work on. Let's just say that it's hard for me to change a certain mindset once I have one. I'll explain more in my next e-mail. Right now, just know that I'm doing okay. 

I love you all and miss you all. Take care everyone. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Michael Alley 

*Note from Elder Alley's mom: The package included the SD card from his camera. When I opened it up on the computer it had 468 photos on it! Oh, my gosh. As I was looking through them I'm thinking, "He's had a totally different mission than what I thought." haha He's been fishing and hiking and all sorts of stuff that he has never even alluded to in his letters. That boy. I got the sense that he was all work and no play, but he's done some playing. Made me feel better. Now I just need him to get home so I can get the details on all these pics! I'm going to do a separate post with some of the pics.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Howdy, Howdy From West Virginia

June 8, 2015

Dear Family,

Man, what a week! This week was a lot better than last week. We picked up a new investigator, went on exchanges with the South Elders (Elder Hollembeak & Elder Lane) and worked with one of the Parkersburg Ward's recent converts to prepare to be a missionary. Even though it still felt like a slow week, we did get some stuff done.

I learned a few new ideas for missionary work from Elder Varner such as using the ward roster and the GPS in our planning sessions. This week was an improvement because our companionship inventory allowed us to talk more openly about our concerns with each other. We now have a better understanding and respect for each other and hopefully that will continue. The letters and 2 packages from home and President Salisbury's interviews were also key factors in this improvement. Just keep us in your prayers that we'll be able to understand and utilize each others' strengths while serving here in the Parkersburg North area. This week was better than last week but the work is still moving slow. Oh well. It is what it is.

Who are the Gale Family? They are this active family who have a long and friendly relationship with the missionaries. They almost remind me of the Bentley family because every now and then we would just stop by their house to see if they need help with anything and they would just let us in, feed us and talk with us. Bless their hearts. Brother Gale is a lung doctor (can't remember the official title), Sister Gale is a private school teacher and their daughter Macy (not much younger than Aubrey) is into dance and gymnastics. They're a great family. I'll make sure to take a picture of them soon.

Before I go, just so you know, I sent a package today that has most of my mission letters and my SD card. Be sure to let me know when you get it.

Well, gotta go. Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Still Kicking

June 1, 2015

Dear Family,

  Well, I finally made it to June and I can honestly say that I've been on my mission for almost 8 months. Man, Grandpa was right when he told Dad before he left for his mission that, "Each day will go a little faster than the previous one." I'm not sure if I quoted him correctly but you get the message ;) Good thing because missions really do wear you out.

Let me start off by answering the weekly housekeeping questions:

1) I haven't gotten a copy of the May Ensign yet but the mission does give them to us during zone meetings.

2) I've been using the medication and it looks like the redness has gone down a bit. However, I'll keep the mission doctor in mind if something happens.

3) I haven't gotten any letters yet, but don't stress too much about it.

4) Yes, we received the news that Elder L. Tom Perry passed away. May he rest in peace and be blessed for his service as an apostle of the Lord.

I'm really glad that Preston Egan was ordained a deacon. I'm even more happy that Aubrey's dance event was awesome and that she and Mom had a great a Memorial Day. I'm glad you guys had a fun time. This week was, to be honest, not my favorite week. My companion has only ten weeks left in the mission and he's already slowing down. The question is: How am I going to deal with this situation without getting frustrated? Well, I'll just do what I can. In the meantime, just keep me in your prayers. Luckily for me, we are good friends with this family called the Gales and talking to the south elders has also been a blessing as they gave me some advice. Thank you Heavenly Father for giving me people who can help me.

Well, I think that's everything. Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley