Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I'm Still Here!

Elder Alley and Elder Bean photo courtesy of the Fortney Family :)
We got snowed in and so I took a little nap. When I got up, this was greeting me.
(Thanks, Elder Bean. haha)

We got A LOT of snow.

January 27, 2016

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley, and all my adoring fans (Lol. I couldn't resist ;)

How's it going y'all? Wow, this week was nuts with all the meetings and snowstorm we had. So here's what happened:

1) We had interviews with our mission president. I always love it when I get to see him again. He gives great, inspired counsel.

2) Went on exchanges with the Oakland Elders who are in our district. Their names are Elder Webb and Elder Tunnell. I went with Elder Tunnel to Oakland and Elder Webb came to Masontown with Elder Bean. They are great missionaries and Elder Tunnell was fun to talk to since we both like video games. Funny story: I fell on my butt twice because of how slick the snow was and fell into a snow ditch. Not exactly my triumphant moment as a missionary. Ha ha!

3) For the first time in about a decade, we had a World-wide Special Missionary Broadcast. In this broadcast, we the missionaries watched a live, recorded session where we received instructions on how to improve as missionaries from the Apostles of the Lord and other leaders of the church. It was awesome and so inspirational! The lesson that really stood out to me was when Elder Neil L. Anderson taught that "we must always have the Savior's name on our lips." After all, this is HIS gospel and HIS work that we're doing so why shouldn't we be able to talk about Him?

4) Last, but definitely not least, we got hit by a huge snowstorm! The good news is that we are okay. We had heat and plenty to eat. The bad news is that because of how bad the roads were and that our car got completely buried in the snow, everyone was advised to just stay off the roads and stay at home. So, we were forced to just stay in our apartment for a while. Oh well, it wasn't all bad. This actually gave me plenty of time to start reading the Old Testament of the Holy Bible (something that I've been wanting to do for a while). Plus, it gave us a nice little break from missionary work. However, the best part was when we got to help our next-door neighbors and landlord to shovel around the neighborhood. It was awesome because this allowed us to get know Heather & Jonas (our neighbors) and Mr. & Mrs. Pratt (our landlord) better. We actually have some really cool neighbors and landlord.

Well, that's my report for the week. Before I close, I just want to say that I'm so grateful that my cousin Anika is doing better. I was really worried when I got the news about her and said a lot of prayers for her. Luckily, it looks like everyone's prayers were answered and she's doing okay. I hope everyone is doing okay at home. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, January 18, 2016

Gut-Check Time!

Masontown Ward Chili Cook Off

January 18, 2016

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley and all my peeps ;)

Well, before I tell you my story for the week, let me just take some time to answer Mom's questions:

1) Yes, I'm feeling better. I just had to deal with the common cold.

2) I haven't gotten my new mission card yet, but I'm doing okay. Many of the Masontown members have given us some food to feed us and Elder Bean does a good job cooking. We have quite a bit of pasta products and spaghetti sauce.

3) No, the car has not been fixed yet. However, it just needs a new grill and one of the workers at the autobody shop told us that it's an easy and quick fix. The car is still useable, so we just need to be careful until they get the grill for it.

4) No, the new investigator is no longer investigating. Elder Bean and I arrived for our appointment with him and he told us that he didn't want any more follow-ups. He's been confused by these other preachers' different doctrines and he didn't want anymore doctrines to pile on the confusion. Despite our best efforts to invite him to reconsider his decision, the best we could do was just invite him to read the Book of Mormon and call us when he wants to learn more (we gave him our phone number). To be honest, if I was him, I probably would have done the same thing, so I don't blame him.

5) The Masontown Ward is awesome because they are just so nice to us and they are fun to be around. They do a great job with setting up ward activities and they are fun. We even just had a chili cook-off this Friday. #ILoveChiliCookOffs!

Wow, that actually took longer than expected! Sorry about that. Okay, so here's the real story that I wanted to share with you:

This week has been full of personal revelations and spiritual growth for me. One experience that I want to share with you happened when Elder Bean and I had to drop this investigator couple. What happened was that this investigator couple has met with missionaries for a while but they weren't progressing. Neither of them were interested in joining the church and the wife especially refuses to believe in modern-day prophets or read the Book of Mormon (let's just say that talking with her is "interesting" and that's the nicest way I can put it). Well, one evening while we were visiting them, I felt impressed by the Spirit to ask them how they felt about our visits. Their answer was that while they do like talking to us, they just have no interest in joining the church and wife just told us what I just told you. We all then agreed that it was best to limit our visits with them. Elder Bean and I also agreed that we needed to drop them as investigators since they expressed no interest in learning truth, but just to debate with us. Luckily, we ended the visit on good terms.

But before we left, something happened that I felt was a defining moment for me. The wife asked me if she could offer some "advice" to me. Even though I had a feeling that her "advice" was not going to be in favor of the church, I said "yes" to be polite. Looking at the Book of Mormon that I held in my hands, she told me, "You had better listen to the Word of God because that will not get you closer to Him." After she said that, with all of the dignity that I could muster, I looked her in the eyes, held up the Book of Mormon and replied, "I have full confidence that it will."

No matter what other people may say, I have had too many great experiences in reading the Book of Mormon to make me doubt about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to God and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith told the truth when he said, "...a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." The Book of Mormon is true, it is the Word of God, and Joseph Smith was God's chosen prophet who translated it through God's power. This mission has only strengthened my testimony that this all true.

I hope this rambling of mine makes sense and that it has helped to increase your faith as well. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, January 11, 2016

What a Week!

Elder Bean working on some drawings.

The Morgantown Zone

Our zone leaders: Elder Millard and Elder Stoddard

Helping a member find coal for the heater in his basement

Real West Virginia coal!
January 11, 2016

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

How's it going y'all? I really loved the pictures that were sent to me. Ashley looked great, Aubrey looked great and Mom's seminary class looked great as well. I'm glad that my staff is being used for good so that Mom can teach about the Old Testament. That's awesome!

Well, this week was nuts for me. A lot of things happened and it feels like I'm still trying to get my head screwed back into place. 1) Because a past missionary (not sure who it was) damaged the grill of the car we are using, Elder Bean had to find an auto body shop to get an estimate. 2) Got sick in the middle of the week. 3) When I received my new debit card from home, I accidentally cut up my mission card thinking that it was my old debit card. It wasn't until I went to buy something at a store that I realized the huge mistake I made. Now, I'm trying to figure out what to do about it. I'll call the mission office again to see what I can do. I promise that I'll do everything I can to get a new mission card so that I can I relieve you from this burden soon. Luckily, we have a lot of food at the apartment so groceries shouldn't be an issue.

However, there were some good moments from this week. We got to go on exchanges with our zone leaders and it was awesome! Elder Stoddard (one of the zone leaders) and I got some good work done here in Masontown. We even got a new investigator and have another appointment with him later this week! I also got to give a talk during sacrament about how God uses witnesses to help with His work and that the Book of Mormon is an additional witness of the Savior Jesus Christ. At the beginning of my talk, I told the members that the reason I was excited to give a talk was because, unlike regular proselyting, I was finally in a situation where people had no choice but to listen to my message. Nobody could say "no" to me then. The Masontown Ward got a good laugh from that. It was great.

Well, I think that's everything. If there is one thing I learned from this mission is that while not all weeks are good, there is something good in each week. The Masontown Ward is awesome and I really enjoy working with Elder Bean. Take care everyone.

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


Elder Michael Alley

PS The mission office actually just called me back a few minutes ago. They told me that they will send me a new card and that it will arrive in about two weeks. So, it's all taken care of. Thank you so much, though.

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Baby!

Hitting the laundry mat: no washer in the apt :(

January 4, 2016

Dear Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley, and all my peeps,

Happy 2016 everyone! Man, it's so hard to believe that this is the year that I come home. Can you believe that? I hope everyone enjoyed their two-year break from me because it's about to come to an end (laughing in an evil manner) ;) Just kidding. I'm definitely excited to see everyone again.

Well, this week was a slow week in regards to proselyting. We were low on miles for the month so we tried walking to a few people's houses but, with no car and no sidewalks, it just took a couple hours to get there. Luckily for us, there was a member from the Masontown ward that gave us a ride back to our apartments. Thank you, Brother Wolfe (the member who gave us a ride)! We also had a New Year's Eve party at the church with some of the members as well. Nothing fancy. Just got together for some food and games. So, not much to report on. Oh well. Can't go wrong with a good New Year's Eve party, right?

To answer Mom's questions:

1) I prefer black socks. 2) Yes, all the clothes I got for Christmas fit ok. 3)Yes, I did get the money from MomMom. Be sure to tell her "thank you" for me. Please and thank you. 4) My thoughts for when I come home are to chill for the holidays first (since I'll be coming home in October before Halloween. I would like to have some fun first ;)) then try to get into BYU-I. I'm currently thinking about a career in Journalism or something that involves writing because I've discovered, since being a missionary, that I like to write things out. That's why I love e-mailing you guys because then I get to type out my story to you ;) At least, that's what I'm thinking about what now anyway.

Well, I think that's everything. I hope you all have a good week. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

P.S. Another idea I have for when I get home is to try something called "blogging". You know, where you can type out your thoughts on stuff and let other people read them. Not sure what I'll blog on but it sounds like fun. Anyway, just an idea.