Monday, November 30, 2015

Another Week Has Come and Gone

4 Great West Virginia Charleston Missionaries :)
At Sis. Jackson's for Thanksgiving 
The first of TWO great meals!
With Bro. Paugh 
More great food!
A P-day game of Monopoly. Elder Taylor won...
...and I lost. 
November 30, 2015

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

  Happy Post Thanksgiving! I loved the pictures that were sent. Especially the ones for the Turkey Bowl. Thank goodness Ben didn't flatten Aubrey during the game ;) Lol. Still, I'm glad everyone had fun during Thanksgiving. I can't wait to hear what Ashley had to say for her homecoming talk. I bet it was awesome.

Well, another week has come and gone. It was a pretty decent week actually. Two members invited us for Thanksgiving so we had two meal appointments on the same day. So don't worry, Elder Taylor and I were fed very well. The members who invited us were Sister Jackson and Brother Paugh. Bless their hearts.

Well, this week we picked up a couple former investigators as new investigators and tracted into some neighborhoods where we ran into some Baptists who were not happy to see us. Fun stuff ;) Oh well, that's mission life here in Flatwoods, West Virginia.

Well, I'm going to keep this e-mail short because I got a lot of pictures that I want to send to you. As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Hope all is going well in good ole Spokane, Washington. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rising Up

Elder Taylor and Elder Alley 
(Thank you, Elder Taylor for taking pictures!!)
Pilgrim place holders I made for Elder Alley and his companion. :)

November 23, 2015

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

Wow, a record-breaking windstorm in Spokane! Yikes! And I thought the one before my mini-mission was nuts. Still, I'm so grateful that everyone was kept safe. I really enjoyed the pictures. Not even a windstorm can stop the fun at the Alley home! ;) Way to keep the fun going.

Before I tell you about my week, I'll answer Mom's questions:

2) The Listening Program is going well. I haven't seen any obvious results from it but I have noticed that I've been able to speak my thoughts a little better but that's all for now. Tonight should be my last phone consultation.

3) Yes, I did get one of the Thanksgiving packages. Thank you so much. Elder Taylor and I really enjoyed the mini pies and snack mixes. We are also excited to make some hot chocolate soon. Yeah! :)

4) What do I want for Christmas? What I would like is for everyone at home to send me a written letter containing their testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How has the gospel blessed your lives and how have you come to know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the gospel has been restored to the earth? I believe that everyone (even members) has a conversion story and I would like to hear yours.

5) We have two less-active members that invited us for Thanksgiving. One at noon and the other in the evening. So don't worry, we will be fed this Thanksgiving ;)

Now, you're probably wondering about my week in the mission field. Well, it's probably just better to share with you an excerpt from my letter to my mission president:

"My report for the work here in Flatwoods was that it was another slow week. The struggle has just been finding people to meet and teach with. To make the long story short, most of our investigators have asked us to visit them after Thanksgiving and apparently they change house numbers here, so we weren't able to find any new less-actives or former investigators because of change in address information.

However, the Lord has once again showed me some tender mercies. I've been feeling really depressed lately about how slow the work here has been going so I lost focus for a while. But one day, before we had our appointment with L (investigator), I felt impressed by the Spirit to look through the scriptures to find any references about getting back to the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I eventually came across Jarom 1:11 in the Book of Mormon and this verse was very inspiring to me. If you replace the words "law of Moses" with "Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" then this verse just tells you our missionary purpose. It was a much needed personal revelation and it gave me renewed determination to go teach the gospel. With this inspiration, we were able to teach L the restoration and this time I felt the power of godliness as we taught. We even got to give her a blessing of comfort. It was amazing!"

As you can see, this week had its struggles but I know that the Lord is watching over us. It's amazing what a little scripture study can do. I know that this work is the Lord's work and when I'm done, I'll be grateful that I chose to serve a mission.

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


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, November 16, 2015

Good Things to Come

On exchanges with Elder Shirley

November 16, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey and Ashley,

Let me start off by saying, "Welcome home Ashley! You did an awesome job serving the Lord!" I'm not going to lie, it was so weird seeing Ashley with a Spokane background. I'm just so used to seeing her with a Thailand background. Ha ha. Still, I'm glad she made it home safely and I can't wait to hear her homecoming talk.

Now, you're probably wondering about the title "Good Things to Come". Well, it was inspired by both a Mormon Message and general conference talk given by Elder Holland who talked about his experience of having to walk to a town to find help with his car and family. In his talk, he urged us to keep pressing forward and trust that blessings will come. Well, last week was not my best week and so I hope that this week will be better.

Right now, I'm still trying to adjust to the changes that have happened recently. Adjusting to a new phone (had a meeting where we, as a mission, have switched phone providers, so we now have new phones with new numbers) and nights getting longer. With the nights getting longer, Elder Taylor and I have decided that we are not tracting any hollows at night because they just don't seem safe at night. However, there aren't many members who live close by that we can just visit with. We only have so many miles for the month and we already used a lot of them to get to certain meetings. Needless to say,  this has caused me some mental stress to just figure out how to keep ourselves busy for the evening. Right now, the best plan we have to compensate for the evening is making phone calls at 7:00 pm to set up appointments and have dinner at 8:00 pm. Elder Taylor is helping me work through this and even gave me a blessing. I don't mean to worry anyone. It's just that I want to serve my mission to the best of my ability while also using common sense. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing.

However, despite the difficulties, the Lord has blessed me with some tender mercies. My personal favorite: Elder Kopischke of the Seventy and his wife came down to the Charleston Stake building for a Zone Conference! I just love these meetings because I always feel so inspired to get back to work afterwards! The biggest lesson I took away from it was that when we are teaching people about the gospel, we need to have the power of godliness and not just the form of godliness. Basically, we need to help others feel the spirit of God and the power behind our message about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. If they don't feel anything then they won't be inspired to make changes in their lives. The Spirit is the one that should be teaching, not just the missionaries talking. I hope this makes sense.

Well, I think that's everything. Even though this week was not my shining moment for missionary work, I still felt the Lord's tender mercy as I did my best to push forward. I love you and miss you all.
Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, November 9, 2015

Big Changes!

My new companion, Elder J. Taylor

November 9, 2015

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

Man, so many things have happened this week that I really don't know where to begin. I guess that I'll start with Mom's questions:

1) My new companion is Elder J. Taylor (there a lot of Elder Taylors in this mission, so there is a "J" on his name tag). He is from Layton, Utah. To be honest, I'm already enjoying this companionship. We actually have a lot in common. The best part: he is a fellow Whovian (Doctor Who Fan)! Yes, Hallejuah! He and I already had some fun conversations about Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel comics, video games, etc. I can already hear Dad yelling "Geeek!" to me but I don't care :) Don't worry, we are still getting missionary work done. In fact, he and I already have some big plans for this area, so stay tuned.

2) I'm actually glad to still be in Flatwoods because, as most of you know, change doesn't come smoothly for. Plus, I really hate packing. So it was nice to avoid packing and to just have small changes this transfer. But the best part is that on Sunday, three men were called to be the new branch presidency. I have already gotten to know these men very well and I'm so looking forward to working with them in branch council. Like I said before, Elder Taylor and I have some big plans for this area.

3) I would like to serve somewhere in Virginia before the end of my mission,  but I also hope to go back to Martin, KY. You never know, it could happen :)

Well, answering those questions actually summed up my week. I'm really excited that Ashley is coming home soon. Hey, that means that I could see her during our Christmas Skype! Awesome! I also can't wait hear about her homecoming talk. Mom, if you can record her homecoming talk and send it to me somehow, that would be awesome. Please and thank you.

Well, that ought to do it. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I'm Still Here

More pretty scenery
My companion, Elder Jarman and I

November 4, 2015

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

Thank you all so much for your e-mails, letters and packages this week. It's always great to hear from you guys and see how things are going back home. I especially loved looking at the pictures of everyone's costume and the Halloween decorations at home. You all looked awesome! Way to keep the Halloween spirit going strong.

Well, here's the news for transfers: Elder Jarman is leaving and I'll be staying here in Flatwoods with an Elder Taylor. I'm looking forward to fresh start in the work here in Flatwoods, but changes don't come smoothly for me. So, wish me luck as I do my best to watch over this area.

To answer Mom's questions:

1) The listening program is mentally fatiguing because the music is arranged in a way that puts the brain waves to work. I don't know how describe it other than it's a mental work out. Luckily, I've been doing the program before going to bed so it doesn't affect my schedule as a missionary.

2) Yes, I did get the Halloween package. Thank you so much. I loved the treats that you put in it.

Well, not much happened here in Flatwoods in regards to missionary work. The only thing that happened was just Elder Jarman saying good-bye to all the friends he made here. I will admit, having to say good-bye to a companion is always bitter-sweet. But I'm confident that he'll do good in his next area.

Well, I think that's everything. I hope all continues to go well in good ole Spokane, Washington. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley