Sunday, August 28, 2016

Learning, Teaching and Revelations. Oh My!

At Wendy's saying goodby to Elder Yocam, 
who was getting transferred
Me, and the zone leaders: Elder Kropuschek, Elder Yocam, 
and my comp, Elder Boar

Getting ready to teach the Plan of Salvation to the Coleman Family

August 24, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

Man, it seems like everyone had a busy week. Let me start off by saying congratulations to Tanner Hardy for completing his mission in Bulgaria, Max for getting into BYU, Ashley for keeping the good work for her apartment complex, Aubrey for keeping up her dance classes and the fun with everyone at the lake and everywhere else, Aunt Mandy for having her new baby, Elder Wheeler for getting engaged, and Mom and Dad for their 27th Wedding Anniversary! Congratulations everyone! YOU ALL ROCK!

Also, even though it hasn't happened yet, Happy Birthday Aubrey! Eat plenty of cake (or whatever desserts you prefer) and have lots of fun (if the lake day hasn't already drained you. You looked tired in the pics Mom sent me ;)). With love all the way from West Virginia. Happy Brithday Sis!

Well, y'all, here's the big news: For all those who don't know, I'm now officially in my last transfer as a missionary! October 7th is when I go home. So, where and how am I going to finish my mission? I'll be finishing my mission here in the Huntington West area! That's right! You heard me! I'm staying here in Huntington West with Elder Boer as my last companion! That means that we'll be "killing each other off" (in missionary lingo, it means that we'll finish our missions together in the same area). We will definitely be staying busy because now we really have to make sure that our apartment and area book is up-to-date and ready to go for our replacements. Wish us luck ;)

Now, I meant for this to be a short e-mail but there were a lot of good things that happened this week that I just have to share it with you all. I already explained the week to President Salisbury so I'll just share my e-mail to him with you. We had a zone conference where we were talking about ripple effects in missionary work and the current elders who are serving in Martin, KY shared a cool story with our zone conference about baptizing a police officer and Elder Boer and I had an awesome moment in teaching this family named the Cs. Here's what I wrote:

"Thank you so much for the amazing zone conference. It was great to see you again and I definitely learned a lot from your message. The vision quest and ripple effect was especially helpful. The ripple effect has been on my mind ever since the Martin, KY elders shared their experience of baptizing a police officer because he saw missionaries walking around a lot and he was curious about them and why they would do such a thing. To me, this was a tender mercy from the Lord because Martin, KY was my very first area and I remember that Elder Barney and I did quite a bit of walking in that area. After that story, I truly believe that the Lord was letting me know that I did a good job in that area and that someone, unseen by me, was positively affected by me. I promise that I'm not saying this to brag but to show that the promise of "no effort is wasted" is true. Tell the Martin, KY elders thank you for sharing that experience at zone conference for me. Please and thank you."

"Well, for my report for the week, I just want to report about our appointment with the C family. We had an amazing teaching appointment! We taught Sister C, Brother C, and their three kids the Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon as a family and as individuals, promising them that the Holy Ghost will testify to their minds and hearts that it's true. President W (2nd Counselor of the Huntington Stake Presidency) and his wife Sister W (Young Women's President) helped us tremendously with that lesson by bearing their testimonies about the need for prophets and Jesus Christ's Atonement. I think what really helped with that lesson is that Elder Boer and I took time in our companionship study to create a specific lesson plan and role-played for that appointment throughout the day. It was a great lesson and I think everyone felt the Spirit in that room. If you can, tell Sister K that the Huntington West Elders want to thank her for allowing us to teach her cousin and her family. Please and thank you."

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


Elder Michael Alley

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Week in the Books

August 15, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

How's it going y'all? Man, these past few weeks have been really hot and humid and this week was no exception. Elder Boer and I have been doing a lot of tracting (door-knocking) and, after being outside nearly all day, we just come back to our apartment drenched in sweat. Can't wait for the day when I can just come home, sit down and lean back on my sofa without feeling how sweaty my back is. Eww. ;) Oh, well. I heard that once we get to the end of August, the weather will start cooling down. Thank goodness.

Anyway, enough of my complaints about heat and humidity. This week was pretty good. It felt slow because many of the people we tract into are very quick to down our message of the restoration and our offering of the Book of Mormon. Let's just say that they are a living example of 2 Nephi 29 (hint: A bible! A bible! We have got a bible and need no more bible!). Now don't get me wrong. I do respect all religions. But it really does get annoying having our message rejected after a while. Work with me people! ;) Oh, well. It is what it is.

There are a couple highlights that I would like to share from this week that were pretty cool. I already reported this to my mission president, so here's an excerpt:

 "We had an awesome teaching appointment with D (one of our current investigators). She's been struggling with smoking and I felt impressed to have us, her and Brother P (a member who always comes with us to these lessons) read from 3 Nephi 11: 31-38 together. When we got to verse 34, she had some concerns about being "damned". Remembering a lesson that I had in one of my priesthood quorums back home, I explained to her that Jesus Christ meant that if we don't keep His commandments then we stop our progress in coming to Him, just like a water dam stops the flow of water. Brother P and Elder Boer gave great insights on this lesson as well and that seemed to really help her. She even set her own date to be smoke-free by August 31 and baptized on September 17. It was an awesome lesson!"

"Other than that, mainly just a lot of tracting and working an area all day. We did find a few more potentials that we will follow up this week, so stay tuned. However, my highlight of the week was getting compliments from random people we run into about how impressed they were that we would go preach God's word while other people our age would just waste their lives on nothing. Most of them weren't interested in learning our message but the fact they would compliment us like that always makes me feel good. Now that's a tender mercy from the Lord. Just thought I would share that with you."

Not a bad week if you ask me ;) Well, I think that ought to do it. I hope all is well back home. I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

Monday, August 8, 2016

Not Sure What to Write

Me and Elder Boar strutting in our Superman pjs 

August 8, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

Thank you all so much for writing and e-mailing to me. I know I've said this a few times before but I really am grateful for your letters and e-mails. I always get excited when I get an e-mail or letter from somebody because I can always feel an uplifting spirit from reading them. To me, they are always tender mercies from the Lord. Thank you all so much.

Thank you also for always keeping me up-to-date on life back at home. I'm also looking forward to the Utah trip coming up in the week after I get home. Sounds like fun!

Well, as the title says, I honestly don't know what to write about. This week has been okay. Elder Boer and I have been working hard to walk to different places and talk to as many people as we can and found a few more potential investigators. Unfortunately, they don't seem to understand the concept of keeping scheduled appointments. To be honest, that's just something that I've come to expect. Oh, well.

One thing that I am happy to report is that I've finally let go of the anger I referred to in last week's email. To make the long story short, there was a misunderstanding and we were able to resolve the misunderstanding and everything is okay now.

Other than that, not much has happened. Sorry for the boring letter. I'll try to make the next one a little more interesting if I can. Until then, I love you all and miss you all.

Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley

The Refiner's Fire: Never Fun But Always Necessary

August 1, 2016

Dear Alley Family & Friends,

How's it going y'all? Thank you everyone for always keeping me up-to-date on events back at home. I'm glad everyone had fun and was kept safe during their hiking trips, homecoming tours, talking with Japanese kids who are trying to speak English and so forth. I'm always grateful to know that I'm not completely out of the loop of your lives ;)

For this e-mail, I will focus on Mom's questions. My answers to her questions should explain what happened to me this week:

1) The name of the investigator who is on date to be baptized on August 13, 2016 is D. She has been investigating the church for a while and Elder Boer and I both felt like she would be ready to be baptized soon. However, it looks like we will need to move her baptismal date because she is struggling with some issues that need to be resolved first.

2) First of all, I want to thank my Mom, my Dad, and my sister Ashley for expressing their sympathy and prayers to me for my frustrations with the work lately.

I won't go into detail, but I've had a situation that resulted in my having anger towards someone. That person apologized, however, for almost the entire week I harbored this anger and resentment towards this person. (Note from Elder Alley's mom: The person is not his companion. I wouldn't want anyone assuming that. Elder Boer is awesome and Elder Alley is really happy to be working with him.) I even asked Heavenly Father in my personal prayers, "Why do I have to deal with this?" If this week showed me anything, it's that I struggle with forgiving those who I feel have wronged me in some way.

But then, something amazing happened on Sunday. During Sacrament Meeting, one of the members gave a talk based on Elder Kevin R. Duncan's General Conference Talk "The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness". As soon as this member mentioned the talk, the Spirit immediately grabbed my attention. When the member was done speaking, I realized that my problem was that I wasn't willing to forgive this person. I may have accepted their apology, but in my heart I didn't really forgive them. But Elder Duncan taught that the Lord expects us to forgive and let Him take care of justice. Mercy cannot rob justice but anger cannot bring peace. Only the Savior and His Atonement can bring us peace.

Since then, I've been praying to Heavenly Father to help me forgive this person and remove this anger from my heart. I'm still working on it, but I'm getting better at it.

Well, I guess I'll go ahead and let you all go now. I love you all and miss you all. Hurrah for Israel!


Elder Michael Alley