Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week 53

From Millan.Net

(Elder Annand's 1 year Mission Anniversary occurred this past week!  As you can see in the picture below, he's not exactly happy about that though!  In the email that had these pictures, Alex said, "I am so glad to be a missionary, and I don't want it to end!  This has been the best decision of my life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!  I feel so honored to be a part of other people's lives, and on top of that, I have the privilege to learn Spanish!  It's fun!" 

I'm looking forward to reading about the wonderful blessings, inspirational messages, and lasting friendships that Alex will gain and share with us in the coming year, and I invite you to follow along!  Many, many thanks to everyone for their prayers, love and support for Elder Annand.  I know he is uplifted and strengthened by each of you...  Now, let's move on to his weekly letter!  :P   ~June)

Elder Crowley gave me a pair of glasses that I liked - he got some new ones and gave me these orange ones.  :-D
He added post-it notes with "1/2 done" written on them...  Yeah, I "poked" him.   :-)

Picture is of our Temple trip today with
the Spanish Elders that cover the branch. :-)
From left to right:  Elder Robles, Me,
Elder Crowley, and Elder Wittmaak.
Hi there!

Oh mom, you are a weirdo - I can definitely tell you typed up an email and threw it into Google translate.  ;-)   It was funny to see how many grammar errors there were!  I'm sure I still talk like that at times, but reading a letter in Spanish from my "Gringa" mom really put a smile on my face.  Thank you!  :-)

Well, you're probably wondering - why is Elder Annand emailing today?  Our P-Day got switched this week because we went to the Seattle Temple today!  It was GREAT!  The temple is such an inspiring place where the Spirit will always touch you - no matter where you go or what you do.  From baptisms to an endowment session, it is guaranteed that you will feel the Spirit.  It is the Lord's House, after all.  Even walking on the beautiful temple grounds is such a breathtaking moment.  I love it!  The temple is always going to play a HUGE part in my life! 

Afterwards, Elder Robles and I went to Deseret Book and I bought some garments, a new Preach My Gospel, and a present for one of my recent converts up here in Marysville.  Her birthday is coming up in August, so I wanted to get a small something that would make her laugh!  :-P  I can't mention what it is because I'm pretty sure she reads the blogs!  I plan on buying some slacks (maybe two different pairs) and am debating whether or not to get a few other things.

This week was great.  It was a little stranger than most - a big majority of our lessons fell through this week, but that is okay.  We spent a lot of time knocking on doors and meeting some wonderful new people.  Most of the people that I met were English-speaking, but I really have high hopes for the Spanish-speaking people I bumped into!  :-)

I don't know if you were able to see it, but this past Sunday was the World Wide Missionary Broadcast.  It was INCREDIBLE!  I am so excited with how missionary work is going to be improving, changing, and becoming a church-wide effort and focus!  Prophets and Apostles in the past have always mentioned how important it is for the members to participate in the "finding" side of missionary work, and it seems that they are putting a large emphasis on it now!  They don't want the missionaries to be tracting anymore - they would rather us teach (obviously).  But I agree 100% with what the leaders of the Church are doing.  Tracting is (sadly) a horrible way to find people.  Though there have been times and success stories of people who have been found, taught, and baptized from knocking on doors, I feel that the missionaries can and should be using their time with more urgency.  This isn't our time, it's the Lord's!  We need to teach as many people as we can, and now with the push of members to become more involved, the full-time missionaries will definitely have more lessons to teach!  It will be incredible when the whole church is faithfully involved in missionary work!  :-)

The weather these past two days has gone haywire!  It rained super hard, something I've never seen, and actually hailed for a couple of minutes yesterday!  There aren't too many bugs, and I don't see any mosquitoes at all.  Surprisingly, I'm not tired of the rain either.  I think it is something I will always enjoy.  The smell is great, and it feels good to get a little wet while working hard.  It is better though when the sun is out...  But hey, Washington is beautiful either way.  The cloud formations here are absolutely incredible, I love it!  You will never see anything like that in Arizona.  Just the thought of 116 degrees in Phoenix is making me sweat - I don't want to think about what that will be like!

I was feeling a little under the weather this past week, but I am feeling great now!  I'm super inspired, energized, and ready to work after today's incredible temple trip!  :-)   My stomach has always been super weak, and when I eat something that doesn't agree with me, it REALLY doesn't agree with me.  So, I've been a little more careful with all of the Mexican food I've been indulging in lately...  ;-)

Click here to watch President Monson's stirring April 2013
General Conference talk "Obedience Brings Blessings".
Well, I can't remember if I have talked about this before but I wanted to share a little bit about obedience.  Obedience in scripture study, prayer, church attendance, callings, following the commandments, etc. is so key for everything!  As a missionary, I am doing my best to be exactly obedient, to follow all of the mission rules, live the commandments, etc.  As I have done the best I can, I've come to understand that obedience seems to be the cornerstone of each commandment - when we obey, we are blessed.  There is a scripture in John 14:21 that says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."  What greater blessing it is to know that we are loved by our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ when we keep His commandments.  In turn, keeping the commandments of God shows our true love that we have for Them.  It shows that we aren't throwing away the beautiful blessing and sacrifice the Atonement was and is.  I love obedience!  I am now wondering why I haven't lived the most obedient life.  In the scriptures, it explains clearly the incredible blessings that come from following the commandments of God.  What I now understand is that these blessings are miracles that I cannot live without!  Obedience, obedience, obedience!

I love you family!  Each of you are examples to me, and I am so grateful to have our family!  I hope that you have a great week, and that you will be able to have the chance to exercise your faith, even in the slightest of ways - just wait and see the blessings it will bring!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week 52

Friendships are formed...
Dear family,

Here I am!  Emailing a little bit late today - we had a pretty hectic morning and I wasn't able to email till now.  I have about 15 minutes or so until I need to leave for an appointment, but I just had to say a quick hello to the family. This week was good. I got sick this past Tuesday, and I feel like it is trying to come back for a second round - not going to let it, though!  

March 2013 - Companionships

Elder Robles and I worked a lot with our former investigators this week.  Because we are together again, he and I tried to visit as many people as we could this past week that we taught over half a year ago.  It is incredible to me that it has been that long since my last time in Marysville, but I am so happy to be here again.

Hope that everything with Dad's work is going great, and same to you!  I'm sure it gets stressful during work at times, and I can totally relate!  But, the work that I am participating in is so incredibly rewarding!  However, to receive the reward that I am wanting, it puts me through a little bit of exhaustion and stress at times.  But hey, that is worth it for me!  It makes me feel so accomplished to know that I have been doing my best since day 1 on the mission.  I can honestly say that I do not regret one day in the mission and have been working as hard as I could have been every single day.  I want to return knowing that I have done the absolute best I could have done.  So far, so good - haha!

I don't have any time to write Papa today, but I sure do hope that he and Nanny are doing great.  Could you call them for me and send them my best wishes?  I love them so much!

From Millan.Net

Sorry that this email is a little bit short, but I need to get going. I hope and pray that each of you have a fantastic upcoming week that is full of blessings, miracles, and happiness. I love each of you so much!!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 51

Dear family,

This week has been absolutely great!  Many sweet experiences, and I'm surprised that most of them were from this week - it feels like it happened months ago!  As a missionary, you really do lose your sense of time; it's crazy!

It was great to be with Elder Marsden.  We dropped him off at the mission office at 4pm, and he was met there by his mom and sister.  It was a cool experience to see, although it makes me super happy that I still have a year left and don't need to worry about all that... yet!  

It's officially summer... I think.  The sun comes out daily and it isn't raining too much, if at all.  Washington summers are beautiful, and the sunsets are even better.  The sun is starting to set past 9pm now, so I don't ever really get a chance to see it.  I can't believe it is going to be 112 over there already in June in Arizona.  Arizona is my home, and always will be, but it scares me thinking about adjusting back!  I guess I'll worry about that when I live through it.

Elder Marsden returned home with Honor

Now a little about my week:

As always, it was great!  Elder Marsden stayed with my new companion and I for a week while his mom and sister traveled up here.  Now, he is traveling the mission area with them.  It is so weird to think about, because when I was first with him, he still had about 6 months left!  Now, he is done...

Anyway, before I say more and get thinking about that, I'm going to stop.  My new companion is Elder Robles!!!  AGAIN!  How cool is that?!  He and I are companions again in the area that he trained me, Marysville!  It's super exciting, and I am grateful to be serving here with him again.  It is super strange though - it NEVER happens!  Elder Marsden made a comment that I am probably the only missionary who has come back to the area that he started in, and is with both of his trainers.  Yeah, that makes me feel weird.

Elder Annand & Elder Robles

Anyway, I don't know if I ever said this before, but Elder Robles is originally from Guatemala!  Isn't that neat?  He has a funny English accent, but now that I speak more Spanish, we almost never speak in English!  Crazy, but cool!  I like it...  One downfall is that it takes me a little longer to write and make sure that everything I am saying is grammatically correct - at least, I hope it is!  This past Wednesday Elder Robles and I taught Zone Meeting.  It went great!  We focused on having unshakable faith and to teach the doctrine of Christ simply, clearly, and make it understandable.  I felt like it went very well.  We spent a lot of this week introducing Elder Robles to all of our investigators - that went well!  There is something about the Hispanic culture that when they see another Hispanic = instant friendship!  So, it is a bonus that my companion is a native!

As you know, I had a birthday!  Anyway, it was just a normal day, working and sharing the beautiful message of the Restoration.  It honestly didn't feel like my birthday at all!  However, yesterday, about 15 members or so of the branch threw me a surprise party!  

From Millan.Net

They got me good!  I didn't expect it at all!  We had the party over at two of our investigator's home.  They have a mom and sister who are members of the church, and they have developed a recent interest, so we are super excited!  Apparently, it is tradition to stuff cake into the person who is having the birthday, and yeah, that's what happened to me.  I didn't even realize it!  They told me that I had to take a small bite from the corner, so I did, and my face got shoved into the cake.  I still feel like there is cake in my nose... just saying...    It was still a great experience!!! 

From Millan.Net

I love you all so much!  It is incredible, this dream I am living!  I don't want to ever wake up, but sadly, I know that one day I will have to...  I am living day by day and working as hard as I can.  The blessings and miracles that have come are so beautiful.  I am so lucky and grateful to have this opportunity.  I hope that each of you have an amazing next week full of fun and summer activities!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 50

Hi family!

This week has been great!  I'm going to be honest and say I don't remember too much of it - I forgot to bring my journal to the library.  Of the few things I do remember, this week was a good one!  Elder Marsden and I had a huge meeting with all of the zone leaders and sister missionary leaders called Missionary Leader Council.  It went great.  We learned a bunch of things that are going on in the mission and received some council with what we are to teach this upcoming zone meeting.  What I am most excited to teach about is that we must develop and have unshakable faith as missionaries.  We must open our mouths, invite, and love all whether or not they accept this glorious message.  I have recently learned the importance of simply opening your mouth!  We know that everyone on earth has a heavenly gift called free agency, or the ability to choose for yourself.  Though we cannot force our message on someone, we can do our part and invite them to listen to it!  It is up to them to accept it, but I am so glad to know that I have always done my part.  The work of a missionary is great!!

A missionary went home just a couple of days early (transfers are tomorrow, he went home on Friday to see his brother who is in the MTC) and his companion came with us.  He is a new missionary and such a fireball!  It is awesome to work with him and be in a "3 pack," or, a companionship of three missionaries.  I am learning a lot from him and am excited to see his progression in the mission!

A visiting teacher ministers by helping sisters know they are loved,
helping them grow, and serving them in times of need.
Mom, your call to be the "Relief Society Visiting Teaching Supervisor" does sound official!  I'm excited to hear your stories with your new calling, and how you will progress with your conversion.  I was thinking to myself the other day of how to know if someone is converted to the gospel or not... I came to the conclusion that a member is converted to the gospel when they consistently do their home teaching or visiting teaching.  They are excited to teach others about the gospel and help them realize the blessings that come from being a member of this church.  THAT is someone who is truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I cannot believe I'll be turning 20 years old soon!  I don't feel any different, but it sounds weird to say that I am 20!  I am debating on buying a new suit.  I have a light grey and a dark grey suit, and am thinking about buying a blue one.  I don't know when, but it is in the air.  I don't really think I need anything else for my birthday, but I'm excited to see what it will be in the packages!  Oh by the way, the white pants that I got work perfect for both the temple and baptisms.

I have an idea of who my new companion is going to be, but I am not going to say anything until I know for sure.

Love you all so much!  Keep safe and have a beautiful week!


Elder Alexander J Annand
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