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 

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