Monday, August 24, 2015

Grateful to God

Celebrating Elder Jarman's 1 Year Mark. Not too much longer
and it'll be MY turn!

Burn, Baby, Burn!

August 24, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey and all my family & friends,

Oh, I get it now. So while the missionaries are away, the rest of the family goes out to play? I see how it is. Ha ha ;) I'm really glad that everyone had a fun time in Texas. I loved the pictures that Mom sent me.

However, what I'm really happy about is that Mom, Dad and Aubrey were not in Washington when the fires occurred. Thank goodness you're all safe. We may not have access to a T.V. but I actually just heard about the fires in Washington from the people here in Flatwoods. Normally, when I tell people that I'm from Washington, they either think of Seattle, rain, or Big Foot. However, this week when I told people that I was from Washington, their first response was, "Did you know that Washington is on fire?" I thought that they were just commenting about how dry and hot it was up there. It wasn't until I saw the pictures and read the letter that I found out that my home state really was on fire! I know that God has kept you safe. I bet He was the reason that your standby status to travel to Texas didn't backfire on you. Let us all be sure to thank Heavenly Father in our prayers for this miracle.

I'm also grateful to God that Ashley was kept safe as well. I hope that things settle down soon in Thailand. God really is watching out for us.

This week has been another slow week for missionary work but, as I was reading your e-mails, I started thinking that the slow pace is actually a blessing. Yeah, it's a pain to try to find a new investigator in this place, but I'm not the one who has to worry about fires or bombs. The work may be slow but I decided that I prefer slow and safe over fast and hazardous.

There's not a whole lot to report on this week. We've had a zone conference, volunteered at a place called the Central West Virginia Outreach Center, and, my personal favorite (not), more tracting. Oh well, as I said, better slow and safe than fast and hazardous.

Well, I think that's everything. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Has Happened So Far

Volunteering at the Senior Center :)

August 17, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey and all of my family & friends,

A wise man (a.k.a., my Dad) once told me that each day of the mission will go just a little faster than the previous one. Well, even though I've had some slow days and slow weeks, I was looking at my calendar recently and realized that August is already over halfway done and that I'll hit my year mark in the few weeks after this transfer is over! Wow! Time really did fly. Isn't that awesome? I know my year mark hasn't come yet, but it does give me something to look forward to. Don't judge me ;)

Anyway, not a lot has happened since the last time I e-mailed everyone (which is what usually happens when your P-Day is on a Wednesday during transfer week) but there is a miracle that happened. I mentioned this to President Salisbury in my e-mail to him. Here's what I wrote:

"My report for the work here in Flatwoods is that it has been busy this week. We did a lot of service for a member of the branch in helping her put some tin sheets on her roof, some more tracting, and contacting some of our recent potential investigators. At first, it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere and that this was going to be a slow week. But then, a miracle happened! We visited a less-active member, I'll refer to him as J, and told him that because he holds the Aaronic Priesthood then that makes him a minister for the church. That got his attention and he promised to come to church after we invited him. J kept his promise and he came in at the last hour of church!

I'm really grateful for this miracle because I'm really hoping that this will be a turning point for the branch. If we can help the members and the branch leaders to strengthen their faith in missionary work, then I'm confident that the work here will really hasten. Until then, we'll just do our best to serve here in any way we can and hope that our efforts will be enough for the Lord."

Well, that's my story for this e-mail. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of "The Adventures of Elder Michael Alley" ;) Lol! Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

PS Speaking of "episode", how is the Peter Capaldi season of Doctor Who going so far? Take care everyone. Love you all.

PSS As I said before in my last e-mail, Mom, thank you so much for last letter to me about Samuel Smith. It really did help me a lot. In fact, everyone's e-mails and letters to me have been like manna from heaven. I just can't get enough of them. I'm always get excited whenever I find a letter in my mailbox because to me it means that someone has been thinking about me. I love reading letters from you, Grandma, MomMom, my cousins, friends and everyone else. I wish I could write a letter to everyone thanking them for writing to me but there's just not enough hours in the day of a missionary. I hope everyone knows how much I appreciate everyone's letters. Thank you all so much.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

From West Virginia with Love

Service project at Amy Powell's house.
Add roofing to his new skills :)

August 12, 2015

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

Let me start by saying, "Thank you Mom for your letter." You have no idea how much that letter helped me get out of the funk I was in. I am honored to join the ranks ;) I also never knew about Samuel H. Smith's experience as a missionary until you sent me that letter. Missions have always been tough, but to do it without any training from an M.T.C. or formatted lesson plans? Man, I developed a lot of respect for Samuel Smith for that. I was also inspired when I read that even though he got no baptisms, him just giving two Book of Mormons helped bring two great leaders to the church.

Since being out here, the prophet Abinadi and now Samuel Smith have become my heroes. Why? They may not have gotten any baptisms or seen the results of their work, but their testimonies helped to bring others to God. It reminds me of what one of Ashley's companions said, "There are no such thing as half miracles. But we may not get to see the end result" (I'm not sure I quoted that right but hopefully you know what I'm talking about). I hope that the effort I'm putting out here in the mission will have a similar impact. Mom, thank you so much.

Well, another week has gone by and we're still not seeing much progress with the work here, but here's another tender mercy from the Lord that's very special to me. One day, Elder Jarman and I were tracting on this one street while it was raining. Before we got out of the car to work, I realized that I did not have an umbrella with me. I was a little hesitant to get out but then I thought to myself, "You know what, I'm from Washington and we get a lot of rain up there. I'm going to embrace the rain today." Another thought that came to me was, "If a cross and tomb could not keep the Savior down, then why should rain stop me from doing my job?" With these thoughts in mind, we went out and tracted the street.

Now you're probably wondering, "Yes, Elder Alley. We can see that you're not afraid of some rain. But what's the tender mercy?" Well, we got to talk to a few people who were from different faiths (shocking ;)) and, even though they weren't interested in learning from us, they had a lot of respect for what we did and they even told us that they wished that their churches would do more to spread the Word of God like we are. One person even told us that she was impressed by how dedicated we are when she saw us out in the rain. To me, this was the Lord's way of showing me that there are people who do appreciate what we do, whether they're members or not. To be honest, that was probably the best tracting experience I ever had as a missionary.

Well, that's my story for the week. By the way, the mission office called this morning and told me that my driving privileges will be restricted for a while since, even though it was an accident, it was still a "preventable" accident. I'm not too happy about that but rules are rules. Oh well, I guess I should be grateful for the driving experience I had so far and that I'm restricted for a while, not forever. I'm still waiting for them to tell us where to get it fixed and how it's going to be paid but hopefully we'll get over this issue soon.

Anyway, hope things are going well in good ole Spokane, Washington. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

P.S. I struggled hard to not laugh too loud after reading about the Loaded Questions highlights. Hurray for jorts references!

P.S.S. We haven't been able to get in touch with Bill for some time. So, I don't how he's doing.   

P.S.S.S. Before I forget: Elder Jarman and I are both staying in Flatwoods this transfer. Sweet, I really like our apartment anyway. Take care y'all.

Monday, August 3, 2015

What's Up Ya'll?

"The Food Den": area food bank we volunteered at

Mission truck: before
Mission truck: after (Oops!) :)

August 3, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey & all of my family & friends,

How's it going y'all? Man, Mom and Aubrey, when do you two sleep? It seems like in almost every e-mail I get, you two are always out and about doing something. The activities just seem to range anywhere from Jazzercise competitions to temple trips. Man, oh man. Still, I'm glad you two are staying busy and having fun. I always enjoy reading about what everyone's been doing.

Well, I guess I'll start off by answering Mom's weekly housekeeping questions: 1) Yes, I got the "Beat the Heat" package. Thank you so much. To be honest, I don't know what the deal is with these addresses in Sutton. 2) I use a separate gas card to pay for fuel for the mission car. 3) No, I don't know how to use a pay phone. Thanks for letting me know. 4) My apartment is the one on the left side of the apartment with the wreath.

Speaking of hoping things will get better, this week was probably the slowest and most frustrating week of my mission. For starters, I accidently dented and scratched the rear-driver side of the truck that I'm driving because of a sharp turn around a garage. Now I have to go through a long process of getting this damage fixed. I already filled out an online accident report and called the mission office. Now the next step is finding a place that will fix it. This frustrates me because 1) I'm usually a safe driver but now this one mistake is going say otherwise and 2) I don't know whose pocket the money is going to come from. When I was talking to Elder Crandall (he's in charge of the car management at the mission office), it sounded like either I'm the one paying for it or you guys. I'm not entirely sure because the conversation went too fast. Still, just keep me in your prayers and hope that this issue will get fixed soon.

The other thing that frustrated me was that we've been doing a lot of tracting to stay under miles and the only thing I have to show for my efforts are shirts drenched in sweat. Most of the people were either not home or just don't want to meet with us. This frustrates me because it's one of those moments that make me feel like I'm  sacrificing two years for nothing.

However, I have seen the tender mercies of the Lord this week. On one of the days when we tracting the entire day, there was one lady that gave us some water to drink near the end of the day. She may not have been interested in learning from us but I'm really grateful for her kindness. Bill (a new investigator that we picked up a couple weeks ago) has started reading the Book of Mormon and has already noticed a change in his attitude in the morning! We also got to do some service at a food pantry and I really enjoyed working with the volunteers there. #ILoveFoodPantries.

I'm sorry that this e-mail was so long. This has just been a weird week for me. Nevertheless, this does not change my testimony or faith on our Savior Jesus Christ. If this week has taught me anything, it's that when trials come, we will find that the only thing that will keep us standing is our faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I guess that's why Jesus Christ has been sometimes called "the rock" in the scriptures.

I think that's everything. We got some stuff that we need to take care of. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley