Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 57

Hello there, family!

How's the weather over there?  I've actually gotten (most of) my tan back because the sun has been out this past month or so.  However, I do have a pretty gnarly tan line because all I wear is white dress shirts.  I got a tan line on my neck and on my wrist where I wear my watch - haha!  :)  It's been so nice though - no rain!  Isn't that crazy?  I guess it's only preparing me for the next 8 months of constant wet...  Anyway, is it monsoon season right now?  Washington rain is always a sprinkle - I'm missing' the heavy rain!

This week was fantastic.  Elder Robles and I taught a pretty neat lesson for mission prep yesterday morning.  We taught about the Plan of Salvation and did a fun activity where we were in a completely dark room (telestial kingdom), to a lighter room (terrestrial kingdom), to the chapel with all of the lights on (celestial kingdom).  It was super spiritual, and it seemed like everyone liked it.  Next week, we teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have a fun activity planned for that...  :)

(I invite you to watch Elder L. Tom Perry's 
talk given during the October 2006 General 
Conference titled "The Plan of Salvation".  ~June)

We had a few people at church (this week) and are hoping for several of our investigators to enter into the waters of baptism this next month!  Super excited and so grateful for all of the miracles that have been given to me.

So here I am in Marysville for another transfer!  I think it will be my last, but I am so happy to be here for the next month and a half to work as hard as I can before I leave the area.  There are over 15 investigators that we have that could be baptized in the next month or two, so I am going to work my hardest to help them!

Sorry that this email is a bit short - I planned on emailing many other people this week.  I love you all!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 56

Dear Family,

WOAH!  Heather with braces!  Crazy!  I bet her mouth is sore - I remember how sore my mouth was, especially after when your braces get tightened!  How long is she going to have them for?

Heather's 1st day with braces!
July 2013
I'm so glad that Tabitha is doing great - along with the family.  Do you happen to have any pictures of Isabella?  I'm sure Uncle Del feels old after seeing his daughter give his second grandchild.  Good thing I got tons of time before that happens!  :D!  Mom, you are always so weird with your jokes, by the way...   

Now, a little about my week:

Well, it was the last week of transfers.  I had a small feeling that I was going to get transferred, because there is only one Spanish Zone leader area and tons of Spanish missionaries who have the potential to be great zone leaders.  But, for some reason, I have been called to stay for at least one more transfer here in Marysville.  WHICH IS GREAT, by the way!!  :)  Elder Robles and I have 8 investigators who will be baptized this next month, so it makes me so happy to be a part of their full investigation process - the first day they met missionaries to the day they are baptized. Super excited for all of them!!!

Though this whole week was amazing, I just want to talk about yesterday.  It was so great!  It started off at 7am teaching mission prep to the young men and women who are preparing themselves to serve.  We taught about the Restoration, and it was one of the most powerful lessons I have been a part of...  The class attendance varies (mainly because it is at 7 in the morning), but we normally teach around 10-15 students.  

Later, during church, Elder Robles and I taught the young women about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We did a fun activity using limes, sugar, and water.  The young women loved it, and I think the lesson really stuck with them.  Seems like they learned a lot...

Alex's Baptism Day    June 2010
Elder Mahelona (L), Alex, Elder Russ (R)
I had to leave Sacrament meeting (the last hour for us Spanish peoples) right after I partook of the Sacrament, because I had to go over to Lake Stevens and give someone a baptism interview - my first!!  It was so spiritual and fun!  Being a part of the interview and seeing the worthiness of the convert really was a touching moment as a missionary.  One, because it is always incredible to see how much someone has changed in the time they have been taught by the missionaries; and two, because it reminds me of my experience!  :)   I remember during my baptism interview, I could hear Elders Russ and Mahelona playing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, in the Chapel.   I can't remember the name of the Elder who interviewed me, but he and I just started laughing!  Ahh, so many good memories!  Anyway, the person I interviewed was baptized just an hour after the interview!  She will make a solid member.

After the baptism, Elder Robles and I dropped off a missionary because his time was up!  He was going home!  It is so crazy to see amazing missionaries going home.  They really become your idols out here, and I try my best to develop attributes that have helped them personally succeed as missionaries.  Never stop learning!

THEN, we had a surprise party for Elder Crowley, O and A.  Each of their birthdays was this past week (except Elder Crowley - his is tomorrow).  It was nice to celebrate birthdays of very good friends.  :)

Anyway, I love you family!  Tell Choma I love him!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 55

Hello family!

Things are just incredible!  I feel like I mention how amazing things are going every time I email you guys!  Words cannot describe the joy that missionary work brings to one's life.  This is truly the work of the Lord!  Giving of yourself voluntarily for two years really opens your mind and helps you best realize how much you are missing when you are not selflessly giving and serving others.  In this short amount of time, I cannot believe how much I have learned, and how many of these Christlike principles I will continue to apply for the rest of my life.  When you eventually have the opportunity to serve a mission, you will come to find out that nothing in life brings more happiness than helping your very own brothers and sisters come unto Jesus Christ - second being knowing it for yourself.  I love the work of a missionary!

"Moroni on SLC Temple
announcing to the world: He is Risen"

photo courtesy and © dterryphotography
The Gilbert temple looks absolutely beautiful!  I cannot believe how close it is to being complete!  I LOVE the spot lights that shine on the statue of Moroni!  It really puts a glow effect over the House of the Lord.  :)   The Phoenix temple is looking great as well!  It's amazing that they already have the Moroni on it!  Temples are so amazing.   :)   Each of them are beautifully designed, and they are even more stunning on the inside!  I cannot wait for you to start your temple prep classes so that you can see for yourself!  Walking on the temple grounds and feeling of the spirit there is one thing, but actually being inside is a completely different story.  The spirit of the Lord is felt as if He is standing right before you.  Always keep the temple close to your heart!  :)

WOAH!  I cannot believe that there are 6 different 'Carroll' families in the El Dorado Ward!  That must get confusing at times!  The subject of the Restoration is my absolute favorite topic to talk about as a missionary.  Nothing invites the Spirit stronger than to talk and testify about Heavenly Father and Christ themselves restoring the church through Joseph Smith.  I would recommend you read "Our Search For Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard.  It's a book of only 120 pages that would help you better understand the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

A part that I love from "Our Search For Happiness",
"...Either it is true or it is not. Either Joseph Smith had that remarkable vision we call the First Vision, or he did not. Either he translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, or he did not. Either the priesthood of God was restored to earth through the ministry of John the Baptist, Peter James, and John, or it was not... (and my favorite) either the fruits of Mormonism are the natural consequences of obedience to God's commandments, or they are not."

Two hundred years ago, Heavenly Father called a prophet to start the final dispensation before the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  This church... It is either true or it is not!  Either Joseph Smith experienced what he said he experienced, restored the church of Jesus Christ in its pure and true originality, translated the beautiful record of scripture known as the Book of Mormon, or he did not.  Look at the beautiful fruits of the church as Elder M. Russell Ballard states in the book!  "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)."  That is always what saddens me the most, is when people see (or don't realize) the amazing fruits of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and still don't agree with it.  Every man has their agency, to choose for themselves, but I wish sometimes I could thwack someone on the side of the head and get it into their brain!  Ahhh, you made me go on a huge tangent, sorry!  :P

Oh boy!  Heather is getting her braces?!  That is crazy!  How long does she need to have them on for?  I'll try my best today to send a letter with a write to Dr. Brooks if you could hand off the letter to him for me, please?  He is such an amazing man and a wonderful example!  Tell Scotty I hope he had a good time and that I love him.  Wait, Tabitha is pregnant?!  Did I know about this before?  If so, it totally slipped my mind!  Congratulations for her!  That is so incredible!  I can only imagine, holding a newborn baby for the first time must only prove that the love our Father in Heaven has for us is something that we cannot comprehend.  A newborn baby in hand, just minutes old, must be the most heartwarming and indescribable feeling that we can feel.  I'll make it a priority to write Nanny and Papa today, promise!  I miss them a lot - I hope they are doing good.  Last time Papa wrote me, he talked a little bit about his model  - it sounds impressive!

We haven't received too much word about missionaries having expanded Internet access.  We do have a general authority coming at the end of this month, and he may have some more information for us, but for now, I know nothing.

Well, uhh... I still need to talk about my week!  I'm running out of time so it will have to be pretty quick.

Yesterday was great!  We had several investigators at church and R & M accepted the invitation to be baptized.  Elder Robles and I are thinking sometime early next month will be best, but who knows!  We went to a meeting last night at our mission president's home called 'Cottage Meeting'.  It is where investigators (with their missionaries) come to the mission president's home and listen to people who recently became members of the church.  It is such an inspiring and spirit filled meeting -  I love it.   :)    It always remind me of my baptism!  Do you have any pictures of my baptism?  If you do, can you send them to me?  I think it would be a super cool idea to show those I teach a picture of when I was baptized into the church.  All of the leaders got together this past week and discussed the work as a mission.  It went well, and I love the insights and visions that President Bonham has for this mission.  He is definitely inspired and called to serve in the Washington Everett Mission!

Well, I'm outta time!  Gotta go shopping, and Elder Robles and I are feeling like bowling today - we'll see...  Hope you all have a fantastic week and make sure you send me a picture of Heather with her braces!

Love you all!

Elder Alexander J Annand

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Week 54

Hello family!

Writing a little early today, haha!  We had nothing planned, so Elder Robles and I decided to e-mail a little early.  I don't think I ever mentioned this (I don't know why...), but today I get a NEW mission president!  His name is President Mark Bonham.  He is from Utah, and I think was a lawyer.  I have the opportunity to meet him tomorrow!  He is coming over to the church building where I meet at, and the Marysville zone is going to talk with him for a short period of time (about an hour).  Later in the month, we will have interviews with him, so it will be nice then to get to know him a little more....  Such an exciting moment in my mission!  :-)

(To see other photos of the Gilbert Temple, click this link.
The Gilbert Temple Open House dates haven't been released yet...
they are still landscaping & building an adjacent Meeting House.
The beautiful photo above is courtesy of Clay Howell.  ~June)
This week was great!  As I said in my last email, our P-day was on Wednesday because we went to the Seattle Temple.  It was so beautiful!  How is the Gilbert Temple coming along?  Is it finished?  Are they going to do an open house soon?  You should definitely take the family to check out the temple.  During the open house, you can tour the whole temple, but once it is dedicated, only members of the church may enter. 

Anyway, just a little bit about my week.  I forgot to bring my journal with me - normally what I do is read through the week to tell you about things that happened.  The days become too jumbled together, and it is too difficult for me to tease my brain to try and remember...  Also, I realized that I don't really talk too much about my investigators, so that is going to now change.  Well, Monday was great, it was a little strange not to have my preparation day, but we ended up teaching several people.  The two new investigators we found on Monday seem very upbeat and excited to learn about the gospel.  Their names are A.A. and J.S.   J is visiting his friend from Mexico for a couple of months while he helps him out with some things and works a little bit here.  It is going to be incredible when he is baptized in the short time he has been here!  Later in the week, we ended up teaching J.S.' friend, J.R., and he seemed very open, too!  I thought that he wasn't going to be too interested, but he asked lots of questions, and both of them came to church yesterday and loved the gospel principles and priesthood classes!  We also have an investigator family, R and M, who are progressing super quick in the gospel as well!  M's brother is a semi-recent convert to the church, so it is nice for her to have that instant family support.  They also came to church with their 3 children and loved it as well!  They really love the fellowship that they received the instant they walked in the door.  They told me "...it's like these people have known me for years"!  Another investigator family we have, C and A, are doing great.  We have a church tour with them tonight, and afterwards, we are going to have a family home evening at a member's home.  Elder Robles and I are going to go on splits (when we go with someone other than our companion), and I am going to go to a different family home evening to support M and R.  Man, it is so incredible how this work is only moving forward!  There are about 10 other investigators that we have, but my time is running a little short, and I still have a few other people to email.  I'll update about ALL of them soon....

I totally forgot that it was the week of July 4th...  Last year, the missionaries had to go in at 6pm, but because we have a new mission president now, we will see if he says to work or to go inside.

That's good that Scotty is going out camping for a week with Casey and his family.  I can't believe Heather is getting braces!  Woah!  Will you ask Dr. Brooks if he ever worked in Lynnwood, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens, or Granite Falls?  Those are all of the areas that I cover, or have covered, so I'm curious to hear if he has...  Can you also get his address, so I can give him a write? 

I love you all so much!  It is so nice to see the tender mercies of the Lord in my life.  I cannot believe how blessed I am when I look back and count the blessings that I receive daily!  

I hope that each of you has a fantastic week!   :-)


Elder Alexander J Annand
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