Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Week 44

Dear Family,

Lynnwood to Marysville    Map courtesy of Google Maps
Today has been great thus far.  I have some news for you... I AM GETTING TRANSFERRED!  I have spent 4 transfers (6 months) here in Lynnwood, so I had a feeling I was getting ready to head out.  I am sad to only have half-trained my "son", Elder DeTavis.  Normally, a trainer trains a new missionary for two transfers, but because I am leaving, he is going to get a "step dad".  I have a good clue who it is going to be, but whoever it is he is going to be great!  This past transfer (6 weeks) flew by so quick!  Serving as a District Leader really helped me learn tons of different things.  I feel like I have been able to develop Christlike attributes much easier as I learned to serve others.  My district had 6 people; my companionship, and two others.  It was so fun getting to know them and sharing so many great experiences, but it is time to leave Lynnwood and head to my next area.  I am excited and bummed out at the same time.  It is always hard to say goodbye to those you grow to love, but I am happy to where I am going - MARYSVILLE!!!!!! AGAIN :D !!!!!!!!!

Elder Annand and Elder Marsden   Nov 2012
I am so grateful to have the privilege to return back to my first area!  I have been called to serve as a Zone Leader.  Marysville used to be a English Zone Leader area, but starting this next transfer (tomorrow) it will be a Spanish Zone Leader area.  All of these terms are probably foreign language to you, but you can look them up.  I am going to be companions with Elder Marsden, AGAIN!!!!!!  Hahaha, it is going to be FANTASTIC!  I am so happy to know where I am going and who I am going to be with.  It is more awesome to know that I will be with a companion that I have already served with!  I am excited!  I feel like I am going back to Marysville to finish up work that I wasn't able to do while I was a new missionary, so I am curious to see who and what the Lord is going to put in my path.

I received your package, thank you!!!  The new camera is fantastic!  I love it, A LOT!  I will be sending a package home soon.  I want to do it before I leave to Marysville, but no promises there.  I am going to be sending some things that I don't want to lug around anymore, along with my old camera and a few other things. 

The Priesthood line of authority is so cool!  It is awesome to see who exactly ordained who and how it traces all the way back to Jesus Christ.  Thank Brother Homer for me, please...

Last P-day was great.  We did end up going to the beach, and we had a great time.  It was a bit rocky and sandy, but it was great nonetheless.  I'll be sending my SD card home with the package so you'll be able to see.

Anyways, I'm out of time, and I still need to e-mail President Wilson (whoops...).  I hope you have a good week and stay safe!!!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 43

Hello, hello once again!

Things are absolutely fantastic!  The mission - as always - is a huge blessing.  I am loving everything that is coming my way, good or bad.  Something that I have realized is that we can learn from both!  The positive is obviously easier to learn from, but when we take note of negatives and face them with a humble heart, we are able to learn just as much - if not more!  I'll talk a little more about my week later.

I am so surprised about the wards changing!  WOAH!  I wonder what the new boundaries are.  I sure am going to miss the McQueen Ward - I only know a few faces in the El Dorado Ward.  But, that is something I enjoy about the church, that we continually move around, meet new people and learn from others.  It's great!  Who is the bishop in the El Dorado Ward?

So about my week... As I say in every e-mail, it was awesome!  We had a baptism!  His name is Marcos, and he is an absolute ROCK!  His testimony shines through the roof, and you can see his face glow in the teachings of the gospel.  The service was powerful and touching.  He shared his testimony, and it was one of the most incredible testimonies I have heard a new member give.  Now, his whole family are members.  A year from now, they will be sealed for all time and eternity.  I CANNOT wait for that day to happen with my family.  What a beautiful blessing to know that families can be together forever.  It's something I truly aspire for, and I want to help others know that they can and should do the same.

We have a few other investigator friends preparing for baptism - one is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday, but I think it will have to get pushed back a week.  He went to Utah for a few days and attended General Conference, so we haven't had the chance to teach him as often as we would like.  Another is for May 4th, and we will be putting another one on date for May 21st.  I am so grateful to help others learn about Jesus Christ and help them to make the correct decisions to truly follow Him!

The investigator that went to General Conference, Jadid, will actually be coming to visit a friend in Phoenix during July!  He cannot drive, but if it is alright with you all, I would love for you to meet him.  He is such an amazing friend, and I think that would be a cool opportunity to meet one of the people I teach!  Luckily, he speaks English and Spanish so there won't be a language barrier.

We met a few amazing new investigator friends this past week - Naomi and Santiago.  Santiago was questioning us and asked if the only reason we do this whole "mission thing" is to eventually become pastors of our own church.  When we told him that it was nothing like that, he was VERY surprised.  He didn't think teenage boys could come out here and share a message of so much power and validity.  I love the gospel and the work of a missionary!!!  Naomi is a daughter of some fairly new investigators that sat in on a lesson when we showed the Restoration movie.  It was great, and her and her family actually attended church yesterday!

Today is our district preparation day so we plan on hiking down to the beach and play a little sand soccer, frisbee, and possibly volleyball, if there is a net set up.  If it decides to rain, we'll head to the Stake Center and play some other games.

I hope you had the chance to view General Conference over this past week - because I want to talk about it.  It was absolutely incredible!  Every talk was so pure and heart warming!  I think General Conference for missionaries is like a vacation to Hawaii or something because it is something I look forward to so much!  I didn't have a favorite talk, but one that really helped me understand about beliefs is the talk Elder Holland gave.  I loved hearing that even if we have that small belief, that that is enough for the time being.  We must continually act in faith and improve ourselves as we turn to Jesus Christ. 

I also loved the talk that President Monson gave about being obedient to the commandments.  We don't want to start a forest fire of our own, but as we are obedient to the things God has given us, He will help us.  He will make up for the rest as long as we try.  Conference is a beautiful time to feel of the love and spirit the living apostles and prophets have for us.  It is a time to receive counsel and guidance from the living mouthpieces of our Father in Heaven.  It is amazing to me that as we apply the different things learned during conference that we soon are more aware and open to the blessings and promptings of the spirit.  All I have to say is try and see for yourself!

I love you all so much!  I hope that you each have an amazing uplifting week as you continue to be the best you can be.  I am so grateful for each of you, and for this great privilege it is to serve our eternal Father in Heaven.


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 42

aawww..... kittens are so cute!
Dear Family,

This week has been wonderful! I LOVE General Conference so much! I've really come to enjoy conference so much more as a missionary. My eyes open up and the messages shared touch my heart as I listen to the Spirit testify of different truths that are needed in my life. Every talk had so many notable points as many of them lectured on different topics. Absolutely incredible! I don't think I have a favorite, each talk was powerful and helped me progress in its own way. I don't want to share too much about what I learned from Conference because you haven't seen it all yet, but be prepared to receive a huge conference related e-mail next week! 

With the things we learn during General Conference, we must apply! We can't just sit there and say, "That was a great point President Monson made!" We must apply that point and help ourselves become closer to Christ! Sadly, it is something that I didn't do before my mission, but as I now realize the importance of the counsel given to us by living prophets, I can feel through the Spirit that I am closer to Christ. I haven't felt the Spirit this strongly in all my life, and as a missionary of the Lord, I am grateful to have it. Acting on a prompting is one of the greatest feelings that can't be described, but leave you struck in awe that you acted on the will of the Lord. What a blessing it is to have His help in everything we do!

President Boyd K. Packer
Can you believe that I will be turning 20?! You aren't going to have a teenager any more! I still feel (and act... sometimes) as a 13 year old, but I'm glad to be aging as I have the opportunity to learn and understand more truths of the gospel. President Boyd K. Packer said that "We are meant to age, for with it we are to know the knowledge of the truth."

The work is SOOOOO great right now. We have a baptism this next Saturday with one of our friends - Marcos! His wife is a recent convert and he finally has decided that it is his turn! I'm excited to continually work with him as he prepares to enter into the waters of baptism and make his first covenant with our Father in Heaven. What a blessing it has been to be a part of his conversion and watch him change. I LOVE the work of a missionary!

We have a few more friends who are preparing for baptism as well. One is Jadid for the 20th of this month, and another is Darwin for May 4th. It is so fun helping them in so many different ways as they learn more about the gospel truths, and how becoming a part of Christ's church will change your life for the better.

There are several more people that we are helping progress in the gospel as well. I want to share an experience that happened just this past week. While I was on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, I street contacted this man named Javier. He was VERY humble and has seen missionaries like us before, but never talked to them. He and his wife don't go to church, but his children attend a Baptist church in Everett. He invited us over to explain more about our message for Sunday (yesterday). Elder DeTavis and I knocked and he answered, quickly invited us in, and introduced us to his family. Three of his five children were in the room, and each of them shouted "Hey! It's you!!!" and ran up and gave us each a hug. I was so confused, and the look on Dolores' (his wife) face was just the same. We hadn't even been in there for 3 minutes, and their children were sitting at our feet listening about the message of the Restoration. I cannot believe the spirit that was in that lesson. I cannot believe how teenagers can be trusted so heavily by our Father in Heaven and His Son to carry out this work. I love this work. I love this time I have to share, and who I represent. This is His work and His glory, and I know that I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life.

A blessing and privilege that will be remembered for eternity: A mission.


Elder Alexander J. Annand

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 41

One of the Seattle Temple Statues
Easter Sunday was great!  There were a few people that gave talks about Easter, and the importance of the Atonement and Resurrection.  I can't remember if I shared this last week, but I was studying about Miracles and in the Bible Dictionary, it says, "Christianity is founded on the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of our Lord.  If that be admitted, other miracles cease to be improbable."  What a powerful statement!  But how true it is!  I never gave it thought before, but the base of my testimony is knowing that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and resurrected on the third day.  It is a powerful witness to me to know that He did such a thing for everyone that is to ever live on the earth.

I was totally reminiscing on the Easter Pageant yesterday!  That is AWESOME that you took all of the kids to go and see it!  I actually know someone who used to be one of the protesters on the sidewalk of the Temple grounds.  He later joined the church!  I love seeing how you are serving with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength with the calling that has been given to you.  I am very proud, mom.

Another Seattle Temple Statue
I almost jumped out of my seat when I read the paragraph that Bishop Carroll was released!  Woah!!!  Bishop Gregory is going to make a FANTASTIC new Bishop, along with his counselors!  I am so excited to send him a letter and tell him how happy I am for his new calling!

I'm excited to read Sister Heidenreich's talk about Easter.  I'm sure it was as powerful as you say it is - she and Brother Heidenreich are great examples to follow with things related to the gospel.  They are excellent people that are filled with love and joy.

Love you so much!  Happy birthday by the way!  Hope it was great!  Have a good rest of the week - can't wait to hear from you next Monday.

Elder Alexander J Annand
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