Monday, June 27, 2016

Rain, Rain. Go Away. Come Again...After I'm Done With My Mission ;)

Elder Alley with Austin Gee. Austin is a mission buddy of Max's.
He just got home from Vegas a couple weeks ago and will be in Provo with Max this fall.
The Gees are in the same stake as Michael. I love small world connections!
(Especially when it gets me a pic of my missionary.) Thank you, Gee family!
Huntington, WV
Other parts of West Virginia did not fare so well :(

June 27, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

How's it going y'all? Man, from wisdom-teeth pulling with Aubrey to car deliveries with Ashley, you people are just busy bees aren't you? Ha ha ;). Still, I'm glad you guys had a productive week because mine wasn't so. Which actually leads to my story for the week.

So, the good news is that Elder Lane and I are safe. We didn't get floods in our area so nobody was hurt and we still had power. The bad news is that we still had to deal with huge rain and thunderstorms and, well..., neither of us felt it would be wise or safe to go proselyting in that kind of weather, so we just stayed in our apartment waiting for the storm to pass. While it was nice to just sit and chill for a time, it eventually got to the point where we were just wanted to get out and just do something. Yeah, we have some board and card games to play with but we really wanted to be productive. We wanted to feel like we accomplished something.

Luckily, the storm did let up on the weekend and we were finally able to get out and tract. We may not have found anybody who was interested in learning from us, but it did feel good to just get out and work no matter the results. We did run into an agnostic man who gave us a "sermon" on why he didn't believe in God but that's a story that I'll save for when I get home (his "sermon" made absolutely no sense to me. Oh well). Moral of the story: don't keep missionaries cooped up for too long! Give them either something to do or someone to teach. This message was brought to you by Elder Alley, missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ;) Ha ha. Oh, well. Anyway, the week was slow but not too bad.

The only thing that I'm bummed out about is that I didn't get to see the Bentley family at the fireside we had on Sunday. I did get Sister Bentley's e-mail telling me that they were coming to it and I was actually at the building eating the dinner that was provided by the members. Unfortunately, we had to leave early because Elder Lane forgot his mission bag at someone's house and we had to go get it back a.s.a.p. (as soon as possible). Needless to say, I was really bummed out about it :( but this was an issue that we couldn't ignore since the bag also had his wallet in it. Hopefully, I can catch them later at another fireside. Until next time.

Well, I think that's everything. I love you all and miss you all. Keep up the fun times and say hello to Elder Max Alley for me when he gets back ;) Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, June 20, 2016

Commandments are Blessings

June 20, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

How's it going y'all? A big shout out goes to Aubrey for achieving the Skip Fanning Award and finishing up Northwood like a boss! Way to go sis! That's another Alley down for the Northwood legacy.

If you all get chance, let Coach Barnes and Coach Jones know that Elder Michael Alley says "Hi". Man, I miss those guys and all my teachers at Northwood. I could not have asked for better teachers. They were awesome!

As for me and my world of missionary work, this week was definitely a lot better than the last one. Yeah, we still had some trouble finding new people to teach but we were blessed with an amazing teaching moment. This week we had a teaching appointment with one of our current investigators. Our investigator has been meeting with missionaries for quite some time and really enjoys our visits. She's also been coming to church almost every week and loves the good feeling she gets from our visits, coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon. She's been progressing really well, until we taught her the Word of Wisdom and then, a couple weeks later, the law of chastity. To make the long story short, she has been struggling to follow those commandments. Well, during our companionship study on the day of our appointment with her, Elder Lane and I felt impressed to focus our lesson on the blessings that come from keeping those commandments. So, we whipped out Preach My Gospel manuals, studied the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity to find those blessings, found a couple of scripture of verses to enhance our lesson and then looked at the Mormon Message: "Your Potential, Your Privileges" from the dvds that dad sent me at the beginning of my mission to finalize our lesson plan.

When we studied the commandments, the blessing that stood out to me the most from both of them was the promise of a greater influence from the Holy Ghost. With this in mind, we went over to our investigator's apartment and, with the help of Brother Pulley (a convert who is the nicest man you'll ever meet and has always helped us with our lessons), we taught her about the blessings of keeping the commandments and promised her that if she will live the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity that she will feel a greater influence from the Holy Ghost and thus she will feel greater peace. The spirit was really strong during our lesson planning and lesson teaching and our investigator seemed more excited and willing to live those commandments. Brother Pulley, Elder Lane and I all left her apartment feeling good from that experience and feeling that that was what she needed to hear. It was an amazing experience!

With this experience in mind, I want to leave with you my testimony that God's commandments are meant to bless us. His commandments help us to stay safe physically and spiritually and keep us free from negative influences. During my time as a missionary thus far, nothing bugs me more than hearing people say that the Church restricts people's freedom, when they have never listened to the members' or my testimony that these "Church Rules" are actually God's Commandments and that they only increase our freedom. I know these things to be true. I love you all and miss you all. I'll be back before you know it. Until then, Hurrah for Israel! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Michael Alley 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hanging in There

June 13, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

How's it going y'all? I'm glad everyone got a kick out of my hashtags in my last e-mail. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun writing those, lol ;) But I'm even more grateful for you all for, in one shape or another, sharing with me some thoughts about enduring trials (whether it was a quote from a Prophet or Apostle of the Lord or your own words). I'm grateful for your words because this week was definitely a frustrating week for both Elder Lane and I.

This week was another one of those weeks when we, as missionaries, have a lot of plans and scheduled appointments lined up, but then they all just quickly fall through. From potential investigators who weren't home when we showed up to follow-up on them to current investigators standing us up when we showed up for our scheduled appointments (we even texted them the night before to remind them), we just couldn't seem to teach anyone this week. Oh well. That's mission life for you.

Despite how frustrating this week was, I know that this is the Lord's work and that we will be blessed for our efforts. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once said, "Believe in good things to come." I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's true, restored Church and I'm proud and grateful to be a member of it. I know that God lives and that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins. I know that Joseph Smith was His chosen prophet who, under God's command, restored the fullness of the gospel to the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and evidence of the restored gospel. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley  

PS To answer your questions:

1) To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about possibly finishing my mission here in Huntington. I'm not happy or sad about it. I guess my attitude right now is, "It is what it is." Does that make sense?

2) I would like to serve somewhere in Virginia (the West Virginia Charleston Mission covers about half of Virginia). Mainly because I had a lot of companions who served in Virginia areas and they all had great things to say about it. But, I don't see that happening for me. Oh well.

3) Things are going good with our 9-year-old investigator. We just won't be able to meet with her for a couple of weeks. The situation with her is that her parents are separated, but still share custody over her and her two siblings. Because of this, our little investigator and her siblings stay with their dad and then mom on different weeks. Because they're constantly going back and forth and the mom is planning on moving to a different ward, we don't have a baptismal date for the little girl because she might get baptized into a different ward. At least we get to help her get started on the gospel path.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Every Orchard has Its Good & Bad Apples

When your water heater busts...

June 8, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

Let me start off by giving a big congratulations to Aubrey for her awesome dance performances and winning first place in the drill competition (#LittleSisShowsThemHowIt'sDone!) ;), to Jacob for completing his mission with honor and making it home safely (#ElderSokFinishesLikeABoss) ;), and to Ashley for finding more beautiful places to hike around in (#TakeAHikeSis) ;)! Way to go everyone! Alley Clan Represent!

Well, this week was a pretty good week for Elder Lane and I. We were able to pick up two new investigators this week. One of them we found by tracting and the other is a 9-year-old-girl that her mother (who is an active member of our ward) asked us to teach. It actually does count to pick her daughter up as an investigator because she is over the age of eight but hasn't been baptized yet. Don't worry, I checked Preach My Gospel and with my fellow missionaries to see if that works. It does.

While I am grateful that we were able to pick up some new investigators, there was another cool event that happened this week that I wanted to focus on. When I was serving in Masontown, one of our neighbors (who we were really good friends with, even though he wasn't interested in learning the gospel) asked my companion and I if we get a lot of rejection from the people there. My response to his question was, "Every orchard has its bad apples here and there. But there are also good ones too. You just got to keep an eye out for them." Meaning that while we do meet some rude people who want to have nothing to do with us or any "mormon", we are also blessed to meet people who do respect what we do as missionaries and do see the good that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does for the community. Well, this week only proved my statement to be true.

This week we had exchanges with the Logan Elders (Elder McCrae, our District Leader, and Elder Johns) after a zone meeting. Elder Johns came down here with me to the Huntington West area. We spent the rest of the day walking around town trying to find some former and new investigators to teach and, as were walking, we kept running into some people who either gave us food, money to buy food or just wanted to thank us for trying to bring souls to Christ. For me, it's always awesome to meet people who, even though they aren't members of the Church, do appreciate and see the good that we do. It truly was a tender mercy from the Lord and I'm grateful to Him for sending these people down my way and for those people for showing me and all missionaries such kindness.

Being a missionary is hard and I don't always enjoy being in the refiner's fire (I rarely do enjoy it). But I am grateful for the trials in helping me better appreciate the small, simple but very important things in life, like small acts of kindness. Thank you Heavenly Father for all your tender mercies and thank you everyone for all you do to encourage and support me in my missionary service. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

PS Quick News: This week is transfer week but both Elder Lane and I will staying here in the Huntington West area. This is actually Elder Lane's last transfer so I'll be "killing him off" (missionary lingo that means I'll be his last companion until he goes home next transfer). I'm willing to bet that I'll be finishing my mission in this area as well because after he goes home, I'll only have two transfers left. Unless we get "doubled out" (missionary lingo meaning that both missionaries leave an area), which is very rare, I'll have to stay here to help the new missionary get used to the area and then I'll have one transfer before I go home. So I'll probably just "die" here (missionary lingo meaning that I'll finish my mission here). Only about 4 months/3 transfers to go. Yeah! That is all, thank you for your time. Love you all.