Post District Meeting: me, Elder Bosen, Elder Flint and Elder Tunnell
April 4, 2016
Dear Alley crew & friends,
How's it going y'all? I'm so happy that everyone, especially Dad, got a kick from the birthday card that I sent. Little funny story: I was looking around Wal-Mart trying to decide which birthday card to send and, at first, I was thinking about sending a more heartfelt card like I did for Mom. But as soon as I saw that card with the sticker in it, I knew that was the one. Happy Birthday Boss! Ha ha.
I'm especially glad that everyone received great inspiration from General Conference. Since being a missionary, I've come to not only be more attentive to General Conference, but to really love it and be excited for it. As my companion Elder Bosen puts it, "A missionary watching General Conference is the equivalent of a sports fan watching the super bowl." That's how much I've come to love watching and studying General Conference. In preparation for this event, Elder Bosen and I visited everyone (from less-actives that we visit frequently to our next door neighbors and landlord that we help out with when we can) to invite them to watch General Conference with us. I was already excited to watch General Conference at that time. But what added more to my excitement was that our landlord and his wife actually came to watch the first session with us! It was awesome! They were very impressed by those who spoke in that session and we even got to answer some of their questions about the church afterwards! Even though they didn't show much interest in learning more about our message, I was just so stoked that they came anyway and I pray that this experience will have planted a seed that could start their journey into wanting to know more about the church. BEST MISSIONARY MOMENT EVER!
I agree with everyone that this General Conference was awesome. I learned so much from all those spoke and I took a lot of notes during it. However, the one talk that really stood out to me was the one given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. As soon as President Uchtdorf mentioned that Elder Holland was the concluding speaker, I was at full-alert and ready to learn. His words really spoke to me not just because they were coming from my favorite speaker, but because I know that this was a message that Heavenly Father wanted me to hear. As a missionary, I've come to love General Conference, Specialized training, Zone Conference, Sacrament Meeting, and all other church meetings because how strong and warm the Spirit is in those meetings and I would give anything to just stay in those moments for a little longer. As Elder Holland said, "None of us want tomorrow. We want to hold fast to the spirit we felt in this conference." Lately, I've not been looking forward to the next day as a missionary or the days following. I would rather just stay inside and read the scriptures, watch mormon messages, and listen to conference talks than go out and deal with people who just don't seem to have a desire to learn our message.
Elder Holland then shared examples from the bible. Moses, after receiving amazing revelation from God on Mount Sinai, returned to a strange group of golden calf worshippers. Even Jesus Christ, after being transfigured on a mount before Peter, James, and John, returned to a group of disciples who struggled to give a boy a blessing, argued about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God, and so forth. It's frustrating to have to go from a wonderful, spiritually uplifting experience to the world of less-than-ideal situations. Which is why I'm grateful for Elder Holland's message that, "Heaven is cheering you on" and the quote from Isaiah 40:28-31. I wish I could write more but I have no words to describe how that message made me feel. It was definitely something that I needed to hear.
Well, I think that's everything. I love you all and miss you all. Take care everyone. Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Michael Alley
PS To answer your questions:
1) How do I feel about being almost 3/4 of the way done? To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me is happy and excited to be almost done because being a missionary is one of, if not the, hardest experiences I have ever had in my life. So, I will be really happy to come home and not have to worry about talking to random strangers, falling appointments, waking up at 6:30 in the morning, and so forth. However, part of me is also a little sad that it's coming to end because I have made some great friends out here. I've met some of the coolest people ever on this mission such as the Bentley family and all those who were my companions, to just name a few. Best of all, feeling a lot of inspiration from the scriptures and living prophets and apostles. I really have come to love getting inspiration from the Holy Ghost as I study the restored gospel. To be honest, I'm a little worried that when I come home, I might not feel that same inspiration ever again. Luckily, one of my MTC instructors taught me that when we as missionaries do go home, it's not the end of heavenly inspiration. We may not have the mantle to teach the restored gospel, but we should be more in tune with the Holy Ghost after our mission than ever before. I hope this rambling of mine makes sense. Just know that I do have some mixed feelings at the moment. Reminder: I am not extending my calling.
2) Our newest investigator is a female and we are staying in contact with her by phone calls. The struggle is just setting up an appointment with her because we need to have another male with us and she is busy with her job in healthcare. Ugh, the struggle of setting appointments. That's another thing that I'm not going to miss when I get back home.