Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy (late) Easter to Everyone!

March 28, 2016

Dear Alley gang & friends,

How's it going y'all? I'm glad that everyone had a great Easter and that Dad had a great birthday. I also want to thank everyone who sent me Easter wishes and gifts. Thank you all so much! I love Easter! As a kid, I loved Easter because that was the time that I would get a chocolate bunny to eat. Ashley isn't the only one who feels no regrets in eating a chocolate rabbit (maniacal laugh). However, as I got older and became a missionary, I've come to really appreciate the true meaning of Easter.

I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father for loving us so much that He sent His Only Perfect Son to atone for our sins and I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ for being willing to fulfill the Atonement so that He can know how to help us overcome our sins. One of my favorite verses that always helps me to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ comes from the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 9:13-14, where the Savior Himself says, "...will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."

Alma 7:11-13 is another verse from the Book of Mormon that I refer a lot to when studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he might loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless, the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

I'm so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ for taking upon him my sins and weaknesses so that He can know how to help me overcome them. I'm also grateful that that He did it for all of us. As Ammon said in the Book of Mormon, "...who can glory too much in the Lord?"

Well, this week was definitely a lot better than the last couple of weeks for proselyting. We finally found a new investigator after following up on all the referrals that we received from tracting and had a blast with the Masontown Ward Easter Activity. We had a good turn out with some families who were visiting from out of town. The kids that came had a blast! Especially me when it came to the food that was given. ;)

Well, I think that's everything. I love you all and miss you all. Don't forget, General Conference is coming up!

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Book of Mormon: Evidence of Jesus Christ's Restored Gospel with the Holy Ghost Bearing Witness of It

Masontown Ward's St. Patrick's Day party

Bag of goodies courtesy of Elder Gee's parents. (Elder Gee is serving in
Las Vegas with Max and his family lives in my stake!)
Easter egg mom mailed me :)

March 21, 2016

Dear Alley crew & Friends,

  How's it going y'all? Man, my cousin Sam got dropped off at the MTC, my cousin Austin turned 4 and had an awesome Spiderman/Chuck-E-Cheese/dinosaur-blasting birthday party, Aubrey is getting closer to her dance tryouts, and Ashley got an awesome job in Provo! Man, oh man! So many things are happening back home that it's insane! I'm glad everyone had a blast this week. Keep up the fun times everyone. When I get back, we are definitely going to party big time! Not sure how, but it's something to look forward, right? Ha ha. Still, I'm glad everyone had fun.

Now, you're probably wondering about my reason for putting up this title. Well, it's because there's something that I want to make clear, if I haven't done it yet. I want everyone to know that I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is the word of God. Because I know this to be true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, chosen to help restore the fulness of the gospel to the earth and translate the Book of Mormon with the gift and power of God. I also know that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in that grove of trees in Palmyra, New York many years ago. How do I know this? Because the Holy Ghost testified it to me through feelings of peace and enlightenment to my heart and mind. I don't need physical evidence to prove all this to me. I received a divine witness from the Spirit of the Lord. What more could I ask for?

The reason that I want to reaffirm my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to everyone is because I had a recent experience that proved to me that there are those who will try to attack our faith in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. On Friday afternoon, Elder Bosen and I went to our appointment with one of our investigators named C. C has met with missionaries for a while and has asked us questions about our beliefs because of her research on anti-mormon materials. We have answered her questions to the best of our ability while pleading with her to look at, and read the Book of Mormon and pray to Heavenly Father to know for herself that this is true. Well, we met with her at the appointed time and as soon as she invited us in, I could tell that something was wrong because of the sound in her voice and that the spirit in her house was not pleasant.

She quickly had us sit down, pulled out her computer and asked us if we believe that God or the spirit of God can speak to us from a video. We told her yes and she immediately made us watch 30 minutes of a video called "The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon", an anti-Mormon video that was made to convince people that the Book of Mormon is false because there is no physical, archeological evidence to prove it. After watching it, she told us that the Book of Mormon is false, that we have been deceived, that there was nothing we can do to convince her otherwise and that we are to never come back.

Elder Bosen and I tried to persuade her to give the resources we gave her, especially the Book of Mormon a chance but all she did was just laugh and blow cigarette smoke at us. In the end, all I could do was just tell her, "I know the Book of Mormon is true because the Holy Ghost testified it to me." We left her house and I had to sit in the car in the parking lot at the library for a moment because I was so angry with C for looking up all this anti stuff without giving the church websites and the Book of Mormon a chance.

However, I am proud to say that my faith and testimony of the Book of Mormon has not been shakened. As I said before, the Holy Ghost has testified of its truthfulness through feelings of peace and enlightenment to my heart. That video was neither peaceful or enlightening. Instead, it caused feelings of anger and doubt which is of the devil. To receive a witness from the Spirit, one needs to pray to Heavenly Father and then pay attention to his/her feelings and thoughts afterwards. Feelings of peace, enlightenment, and that inspire to do good, as described in Galatians 5:22-23 and Moroni 7:12-19, are from God. C obviously did not pray to God to confirm her feelings but instead let negative feelings cloud her judgement.

I will share a few other evidences that prove the Book of Mormon to be true:

1) In Matthew 16:13-17, Jesus Christ asked His disciples who other people thought who He is. But when Jesus Christ asked His disciples who they thought who He was, Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." While other people had different opinions and ideas of who Jesus Christ was, only Peter knew truth of Jesus Christ's identity. Why was Peter the only one who knew the truth? Didn't Jesus Christ perform miracles in front of other people, like raising Lazarus from the dead and casting out evil spirits? The answer lies in Jesus' response when He said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my my Father which is in heaven." This is just one account that proves that even the Savior's miracles were not enough to prove to people that He is the Son of God. If they were and physical evidences was necessary to create faith, then more people would've believed in Jesus Christ, no problem. Instead, only the Holy Ghost was able to prove it.

2) If the Book of Mormon was false, then why did Joseph Smith seal his testimony with his own blood? Think about it, Joseph Smith was arrested, tortured and taken to court many times because of His testimony of the Book of Mormon and seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ. Why didn't he just tell people that he was wrong and that this whole thing was a hoax? He could have saved himself from a lot of pain and sorrow if he just denied the whole story of being a prophet of God. What did he have to gain by risking his life for a lie? The answer is because it wasn't a lie. His testimony was and still is true. He was a prophet of God, he did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and he did translate the Book of Mormon with the gift and power of God. Because the work was true, risking his life was worth it and he will gain eternal life with God because of it.

3) The last evidence is found in the promise made in Moroni 10:3-5. There are plenty evidences out there to prove that the Book of Mormon is true, but this is the most important and convincing evidence there is. I invite everyone to read it.

I apologize for the lengthy letter. I just want to make it absolutely clear that I know that the Book of is true and that there is nothing in this world that will make me think otherwise. I want to leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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


Elder Michael Alley

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Labor of Love

With Elder Bean (my companion before transfers)
With Elder Bean, Elder Tunnell and Elder Webb at Tailpipes for lunch before
interviews with Pres. Salisbury. The burgers at Tailpipes are awesome!
The district before transfers... 
The district after transfers. My new companion is Elder Bosen.

March 14, 2016

Dear Alley Gang & Friends,

How's it going y'all? Wow, what happened to Ashley was amazing! I'm so happy for her. I really hope that she has a lot of fun with the leasing manager job. It sounds like a cool gig. Be sure to keep me updated on her and all your adventures. I love reading about them.

As for my adventures here in Masontown; I admit that this week was kind of a hectic week for me. Since Elder Bosen is new to area, that I means that I have to take the lead in planning for the upcoming days. In missionary lingo, it's called "taking over an area". To be honest, I always hate taking over an area and change in general is just a pain in the neck for me. Once Elder Bosen gets settled in, though, then the work of planning can be divided evenly. Until then, just wish me luck.

Now, here's the news on my new companion. His name is Elder Bosen. He's from Idaho and he's been on his mission for nine months. He likes movies, especially the action genre ones, so that's one thing we have in common. His personality is that he's quiet, but that doesn't mean he's shy. He has a good work ethic and he tries to have fun while on his mission. I think we are going to get along fine.

The highlight of the week for me was the ward conference we had on Sunday. All of the Clarksburg Stake Presidency were there and they taught us a lot of wonderful things. One lesson that stood out to me was a talk that was given by President Haws, the Clarksburg Stake President, during sacrament. To explain why this talk was important to me, I'll need to back up to the days before that.

After Elder Bosen arrived, we did quite a bit of tracting and ran into some "interesting" people. Well, none of them were interested in learning about the restored gospel from us and when I went to bed, I had another one of those I-Can't-Wait-For-This-Mission-to-be-Over moments. When those moments happen, my thoughts are usually about "I want to go home", "How much longer is this mission going to last?", "Why did God send me to this place?", and "I don't want to do this anymore". I even brought these thoughts up in my personal prayers to Heavenly Father lately. On the outside, I tried to act like nothing bothered me but in my mind and heart I was just in a very foul mood.

But then President Haws gave a talk about staying spiritually thirsty and nourished. He talked about how one of his grandsons noticed his soda-filled water bottle. Every time this boy saw the bottle, he would say, "Pa's drink." At first, President Haws didn't know why his grandson kept saying that every time he saw his bottle but then he realized that he was asking for a drink. Since then, every time his grandson says, "Pa's drink", he will give him that bottle, let him take a big gulp and then the boy would go back to whatever he was doing. President Haws then taught us how we need to always nourish our spirits by reading the scriptures, praying and coming to church. He then promised that if we would take care of own spiritual needs first then everything else will fall into place. Our service to others will then become a labor of love and not a chore.

I was very intrigued by his words because I admit that I don't always treat missionary work as a labor of love, but as a chore. In one of my past e-mails I mentioned how sometimes serving a two-year mission feels more like serving a two-year prison sentence because of all the rules we have to follow and sometimes I feel like there's no work to be done because it seems no one wants to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It's always during these moments that I want to give up and even debate about whether or not to call my mission president to just send me home.

However, every time these moments come, the Holy Ghost then reminds me of the love that both God the Father and Jesus Christ have for me and all of us. Whether the reminder comes in a form of a talk given in Sacrament (like President Haws' talk), a verse or chapter from the scriptures, or even just remembering why I came out to serve a mission in the first place, the Lord always seems ready to send the Holy Ghost to the rescue and remind me that He loves me and that there is a reason why I'm here. I just haven't figured it out yet.

To everyone who is reading this, I confess that even though I've been serving a mission for almost a year-and-a-half, I haven't fully figured out what talents or strengths I have that the Lord can use to help with the missionary work here in the West Virginia Charleston Mission. But I promise that I will do my best to see this mission to the end. Whether I get a baptism or not, it doesn't matter to me anymore. What does matter to me is whether or not I can still say by the end of this mission that I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church, the same church that was organized when Jesus Christ was here on the earth, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, just as the bible is, that Joseph Smith did actually see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in that grove trees in Palmyra, New York many years ago, that we are being led by a prophet of God, who actually has the priesthood authority to lead us through revelation actually given by God, and most importantly, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world and that He still lives to this day and that He loves us, so much that He was willing to give His life for us.   

Mom, Dad, Aubrey, Ashley, Max, and all those who are reading this, I promise that I still believe and know that this is all true. I would and will not trade my testimony for anything in the world. I love this gospel and the Lord too much to lose that testimony. I'm grateful for the family who adopted my Grandpa Alley into the true church and gospel of Jesus Christ. I will not forget what they did. Their love and care for my Grandpa Alley in teaching him the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed me in ways that I don't have the words to describe. More importantly, The Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me in ways that I'll never be able to describe. I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for what He has done for me and all of us. I know that all that I've said is true. I want to leave my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all and miss you all. I can't to see you all when I return home in October. 

Until then, Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Change is in the Air

Package Elder Bean decorated for one of his former companions

Eating at Tail Pipe's (An AWESOME burger joint in Morgantown!)

On exchanges with Elder Millard

Another drawing by Elder Bean

Masontown Ward saying goodbye to Elder Bean

Kingwood's Library

Making cookies at the Simm's house. (Bro. Simms is the ward mission leader.)

March 9, 2016

Dear Alley crew and all my peeps ;),

How's it going y'all? Man, I'm glad that Mom had an awesome birthday. The seminary class definitely did an awesome job throwing that surprise party for her. Those students are great in my book. Way to go guys!

I'm also looking forward to hearing about Aubrey's upcoming dance tryouts, Ashley's teaching in Gospel Principles and her future plans in the LDS Business college and other aspirations. You go girls! Keep up the good work.

Well, as the title says, there are changes in the air. For starters, the weather here in Masontown has been beautiful lately. Blue skies with some clouds and sun and the temperature is warm with a nice breeze. I love it. However, the real big change is transfers. This week is transfer week and Elder Bean will be leaving and my new companion will be Elder Bosen. To be honest, I'm really sad to see Elder Bean leave because he and I had a lot of fun together. I'm definitely going to miss him but I'm also looking forward to working with Elder Bosen. I don't know him personally but I've heard some good things about him. So, we'll see what happens this transfer.

Other than that, the work here in Masontown has just been slow. We had an appointment with an investigator that fell through because nobody answered either the door or phone. We even tracted in this one neighborhood and the one person who opened up the door just closed it right after I introduced ourselves to him. Seriously?!

Luckily, the week wasn't all bad. The Masontown Ward members have been really nice to us in inviting us over to dinner in their homes. We really do have a great ward here. Both the active and even some of the less active members are super nice to us missionaries. I just wish we could help them strengthen their ward more somehow.

Oh well. I guess this week is just another lesson in recognizing the tender mercies of the Lord. As the hymn goes, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God hath done." I'm also once again reading about my missionary hero, the prophet Abinadi, in the Book of Mormon so that should be a good pick-me-up. If anything, just keep me in your prayers that we'll find a way to spread the gospel here in Masontown. We just haven't had much success here. Hopefully, this new transfer will be different.

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


Elder Michael Alley