Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of Miracles!

Bro. Harmon showing off his way cool car!
An even better license plate (and bumper sticker)!

September 28, 2015

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

Well, as the title says this week was a week of miracles! Why? Because, despite not having the truck this week, we were still able to teach a lot of our less-active members and investigators. If it weren't for our branch president, branch mission leader, and a couple of friends from the Flatwoods branch giving us rides to our appointments, this week would've been a total bust. I'm really grateful to them for being willing to help us. However, I'm afraid that we now owe them a debt that we'll never be able to repay. I did write them all thank-you notes and I pray that they will know how much we appreciate their sacrifice.

We also had two of our newest investigators come to sacrament meeting this Sunday! Their names are B and A and they're the couple that we tracted into a few weeks ago. They're also the same couple who were good friends with the member couple that we brought with us to our teaching appointment with them. Needless to say, Elder Jarman and I were super excited when we saw them come into the chapel and sit next to their member friends. We would've waited for them at the door but we were asked to help with sacrament and they didn't show up until a few minutes after we had to sit down. Still, we were super excited when saw them. We are also super excited to teach them more about the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. Please include B and A in your prayers because we believe that they are elect. Please and thank you.

Now, to answer Mom's questions:

1) No, I have not gotten any word about when I'll be able to drive again.

2) Elder Jarman and I are both okay with staying here for one more transfer.

Well, I think that's everything. I hope things are going well in good ole Spokane, Washington. I'm super excited for General Conference. I can't wait to see who the new apostles are! Take care everyone. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

We're Still Here!

Soccer on P-day
September 23, 2015

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

I've got some good news and bad news. The good news is that Elder Jarman and I are both staying here in Flatwoods for another 6 weeks! The bad news is that we finally got the truck into the shop to get the scratches and dents fixed but we won't have it back until either Friday or Monday. Not exactly how I wanted to start off the new transfer, especially since most of the areas we proselyte in are not within walking distance. Luckily for us, we have friends in the Flatwoods Branch who are willing to give us rides so we still have a way to get some work done. Thank goodness.

Man, it really does feel like time is moving faster as I get closer to my year mark. For me, the first week of the transfer usually blows by fast, then we have General Conference the next week, and then my year mark following afterwards! Yowza! I'm almost halfway done! Can you believe that?

Well, I wish I could tell you everything that happened this week but it seems like as my time as a missionary moves faster, the harder it becomes to remember it all. I had hard time just writing it all in my journal a couple nights ago. So I'll just give you my personal favorite moment of the week. A few weeks ago, we were tracting this one street and found a potential investigator. As we were talking with her, we found out that she and her husband was good friends with a member couple, Brother and Sister Boyce. We set up a return appointment for this week with her and invited the Boyces to come with us. I'm so glad we did because it was probably one of my top favorite teaching moments. Why? Because Brother and Sister Boyce gave simple and sweet testimonies as we taught B (the potential investigator, now new investigator) and her husband the Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While we were teaching, I felt inspired by the Spirit to ask Brother Boyce, "Why do we need prophets today?" His answer was that when kids grow up and move away from their parents, it is only natural that the parents would want someone to guide them when they can't be their for them. That's what Heavenly Father wants for us. Since he can't be here physically with us, he sent us prophets to guide us. In a sense, prophets are like proxy fathers to us. I was so impressed by that answer! I have never thought about prophets in that way before. It was amazing and the Spirit was so strong there.

Well, that's all for now folks. I hope things continue to go well in good ole Spokane, Washington. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, September 14, 2015

Here's What Happened

September 14, 2015

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

How's it going y'all? I'm glad that everyone is doing alright in good ole Spokane, Washington. Some of the members here in the Flatwoods Branch also watched the BYU vs Boise game, so we are aware of the results. Man, it looked and sounded like a good game! Go BYU Cougars!

Well, this week was definitely a good week for missionary work. I already mentioned my experience to my mission president, so I will just share with you what I wrote to him:

"My report for the work here in the Flatwoods area was that this was definitely our best week so far. We met and taught with most of current investigators and less-actives and contacted our media referrals! We even attempted to contact a couple of the in-active male members that our branch president wanted us to find. The good news is that we know where they are now. The bad news is that neither of them talked to us in person, but instead had someone else talk to us. To make the long story short, one of them has asked us to not contact them again and the other had an angry neighbor that wanted to us to leave immediately. It's always discouraging when we get these kinds of reactions but that's the way the cookie crumbles I guess. Oh well, I'm glad that we at least tried though.

On a more positive note, we did have an amazing teaching experience with one of our media referrals! His name is E and he attends the Glennville University. He has had a rough life due to his parents being in-active members and being mistreated by some other people. As we were talking with him, I immediately felt inspired by the Holy Ghost to have him read Alma 14: 10-11. This helped him to answer his questions about why bad things happen to good people. What made it more interesting was that I just read that chapter during my personal studies on that same day! The moral of the story is that personal studies, especially in the Book of Mormon, really do make an impact on the people that we teach. It was amazing!

Before I close, I want to share with you this insight. Have you seen the "12 Steps to Change" video series on the website? If you haven't, I highly recommend you do because they are amazing and the spirit is always strong as you watch them. I know that the 12 Steps of the Addiction Recovery Program are truly inspired by God. I also personally believe that the twelfth step can also apply to us as missionaries where it says: "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do." Each of us as missionaries has had, at one point or another, a spiritual awakening because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. As a result, we are now responsible in sharing this message with others and living the principles in our own lives as well. I hope this makes sense."

I also hope that you will watch the "12 Steps to Change" video series as well. The 12 Steps of the Addiction Recovery program are truly inspired by God and I believe that we can apply these principles in our own lives as well, whether we are missionaries or members. It is my personal testimony that Heavenly Father does reaches out to all of His children, no matter how far they have strayed from the path to Him. I leave that with you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

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


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Week to Remember!

"Mormon Night" at Appalachian Power Park
Charleston Zone missionaries

Behold the baseball diamond 

This is what a hollow (pronounced "holler") looks like
Elder Alley in a holler ;)
September 7, 2015

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

Man, as the title says, this was a week to remember. One event I was able to get pictures to immortalize it. What was the event? For one night only, approved by our mission president, all missionaries in the Charleston Zone and members of the Charleston Stake were invited to a Mormon Night Baseball game! It was awesome! Apparently, there is a member who works at the baseball stadium who was somehow able to get a deal to have a Mormon Baseball Night. It was fun to watch the West Virginia Powers take on the Lexington Legends. We didn't get to see the whole game because our mission president asked us to leave the game at 9:00 p.m. so that all missionaries could be back in their apartments by 10:00 p.m. Still, it was great to finally let loose and enjoy a baseball game.

Another exciting event happened when a huge thunderstorm hit after our teaching appointment with a member. The storm knocked down some trees and blocked two exits that we normally take to get back to our apartment. I even had to help Elder Jarman back up a couple times in order to turn around on the roads, which was not easy since it was getting dark and raining heavily. When we returned to the member's house and told him about the situation, he got into his car and led us to another exit that got us home safely. It was one heck of a night, to say the least. I'm really grateful to this member because I never expected him to do such a deed for us. Would you all be willing to write a thank you letter? We owe him big time. His name is Brother Jeffries. You could send the letter to me and I'll just give it to him at church. Please and thank you.

Other than that, we just did some community service at the West Virginia Outreach Center, visited some less-actives and investigators and did some more tracting. We did get to meet some nice people during one of our tracting adventures, even though most of them were not interested in learning from us. My favorite part was when a person was driving past us and he stopped and asked us if we had a car. When we told him where we parked (which was quite a ways away by that time) he just looked shocked. I love that reaction because I hope that us tracting long miles helps people to see how dedicated we are to serving the Lord (don't worry, we didn't tell him exactly where we parked, just the general location). Ah, good ole tracting. It may not be the most effective finding method but it still works.

Well, I think that's everything. I'm grateful for the pictures and the updates. Keep it up. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Book of Mormon Really Does Testify of Jesus Christ!

A book I found in the Flatwoods Branch building that I really enjoyed reading.

It talked about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration in a way that was both entertaining and informative. :)

 When we're helping, we're happy!

At "The Food Den" (local food bank)

August 31, 2015

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

What's up y'all? Man, those pictures that Mom sent were awesome! I'm really glad that Aubrey had a fun birthday. I'm also glad that everyone had a fun time in Hawaii. Hawaii really is beautiful. Hopefully, we all get to go again as a full family, meaning that no one is on their missions when it happens ;) Still, I'm glad y'all had fun.

I will admit that the pictures of Shawn & Gus the cats were just way too adorable. Especially the one with Shawn's Puss in Boots look. I also enjoyed the birthday bash involving Leah, Austin and Adam. I can't wait to meet Shawn, Gus and Adam in person. That'll be awesome!

Now, you're all probably wondering about the title. You're probably thinking, "Yes, Captain Obvious. We all know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. What else is new?" Well, even though this week was another slow week for missionary work, my recent studies in the Book of Mormon have really changed the way I now look at the scriptures, whether it's the Book of Mormon, the Holy Bible, or the words from our living prophets and apostles.

Here's what happened: I was one day reading in Mosiah 15 where we read about the prophet Abinadi's testimony of Jesus Christ. In verses 1-5 Abinadi explains how Jesus Christ is both the Father and the Son. Every time I read this, I keep thinking Abinadi is saying that God the Father and God the Son are one person. However, he's really saying that Jesus Christ is the Father in the sense that He was one who created the earth and that He has God's power and authority "because he was conceived by the power of God..". In a Book of Mormon study manual that I've found, it mentions that Jesus Christ is sometimes referred to as the Father because he has the power and authority to represent our Father in Heaven. Heavenly Father put Jesus Christ in charge of this earth. There are also other Book of Mormon verses that talk about members of the church being "the children of Christ" (Mosiah 5:7 is one example). Basically, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but because of the power and authority given to him from our Heavenly Father, he is also a Father to us.

I thought that this was an amazing to look at Jesus Christ. However, the big epiphany came to me one night when I felt a strong prompting from the Holy Ghost to look at Ether 3. This is the chapter where the brother of Jared saw Jesus Christ in his true image for the first time. When I read verses 13-16, it finally hit me that the God who the brother of Jared was talking to, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one who was called Jehovah in the Old Testament really was and is Jesus Christ! There were other written records, such as "The Living Christ", references in an Old Testament Student Manual, and other references in the scriptures, that support this truth but it just finally dawned on me that Jesus Christ has been a part of our world's history since the beginning! I remember just lying on my bed, looking up at the ceiling because I just had my mind blown. This was a huge faith builder to me because I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is real and that the scriptures do testify of Him. 

With this in mind, I want to bear my testimony that Jesus Christ does live. I know that the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible both testify of Him. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two distinct beings but they are perfectly united in their purpose to bring us back home because they both love us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I firmly believe that when we do see Him when He comes again to earth, we will be like one of His Apostles who, when seeing the resurrected Lord and His pierced hands, said possibly in tears, "My Lord and My God." I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

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


Elder Michael Alley