Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 66


Studying at the Park   Sept 2013
That's crazy to see such a quick difference in temperature in such a short amount of time! (Morning temperatures in Phoenix went from the 80's to the 60's from one morning to the next morning last week - it felt GREAT!  ~June )  I don't think the temperature changed as rapidly as it did over there, but it definitely has been raining!  I'm preparing myself to enjoy the next 9 months of rain!  Woohoo!  :)

I finally got my new scriptures...  They are FANTASTIC!  I love them so much - they smell great to boot!  I don't think I need anything, but I'll be sure to let you know...  :)

So this week was absolutely great.  Full of many different service opportunities, and we had the most incredible miracle play out this week!  I'll start with the different opportunities we had in doing service for people...  Well, Tuesday we helped out a man named Brother L.  He does a lot of construction and was wanting to build a storage house/shed in his backyard.  He found a huge stage on craigslist that someone was giving away for free.  Our project: To get the stage from the guy giving it away and put it in the area where it needed to be in Brother L's backyard.  The stage weighed somewhere around 600lbs, and it was tough for us (4 Elders and Brother L) to move it.  We did it though after trying a bunch of different ideas.  The solution was to put poles under the stage and let it roll to the place where it needed to be...  Great times!  :D !

Another service opportunity we had was to stack TONS of wood in someone's shed.  Elder Jones and I probably moved around 400lbs of wood, and we had to stack it all too!  It was a fun experience, and I got a few cold Mountain Dews out of it, so I'm happy.  :)

The last service opportunity that we had (and are still are working on it) is to build a retaining wall for a less active family that is returning.  It's been great because "R" (one of the returning members) is really showing some desire about church again!  He's been less active for over 10 years, and it's neat to see how service changes hearts!  Gotta love missionary FUN!

So Elder Jones and I had the most incredible miracle happen this week.  Last Saturday (nine days ago), a member reached out to a woman at a park and also invited her to come to church the following day.  This woman's name is "Y", has been studying with the Jehovah's Witness church for about a year, and has been on a personal search for as long as she can remember.  "Y" is 23 years old and has 3 children, recently left her partner (due to certain circumstances) and is trying to get back up on her feet.  Last Sunday (eight days ago), she came to church.  She felt the spirit incredibly strong and felt such a sense of peace as she went through the three hour block.  The past week, we taught her 5 times, and she accepted a date to be baptized on October 12th!  Last night, she called us and asked what she needs to do to successfully prepare for her baptism, so we gave her a Preach My Gospel to look over.  She and her 3 children have told us that they each want to be a missionary, even if it isn't for full time...  :)

What an incredible experience!  It made me wonder why someone so prepared was put in the path of a member, rather than a missionary.  As a missionary, we do TONS of tracting, street contacting, etc., and it is very rare that we find a "prepared" investigator through our own efforts.  A couple of transfers ago, when I was with Elder Marsden, we made the conclusion that the Lord would prefer that members reach out and find those prepared by their experiences, not the missionaries!  It is incredible how true that realization is!  Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want the members of the church to find those who are ready to listen to the missionaries, to give that friendship instantly, to invite them to be a part of the family that we are inside this church.  It all starts with an invitation, and a true member understands that...  It is okay if the person we invited declines - we succeed when we invite.  I remember Dad AAAALLLWWAAAYYS saying, "If you don't ask, you don't receive."  The same statement applies to inviting someone to the gospel.  If you don't invite, you will never know whether or not that person has been prepared by the hand of the Lord.  INVITE!  INVITE!  INVITE!

I love you all so much!  You are all such great examples to me.  Thank you for the wonderful email, and I hope that each of you have a great next week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week 65

Good mornin' Family!
Outdoor Celebration
Today thus far has been great.  Woke up a little earlier than normal (6:00am) to go out and do shopping so that we can have more free time to ourselves for preparation day.  This week has been pretty neat.  Saturday, a member invited a friend to come to church and they showed up!  Her name is Y, and she has 3 children.  She is such a humble lady and is so prepared for the gospel!  She has had some very hard and trying experiences in life, and it is amazing to see where she is at now because of it.  Elder Jones and I are going to meet with her today at 5pm to teach her.  So Excited!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIERRA!  Man!  That is crazy how fast time has flown by!  Wow!!!  It's super neat that Sierra was able to participate in someone's quince!  How did she like it?  I've been to one on my mission, and it was pretty intense!  They go ALL out for it. Mariachi band and all.

Missionary Feast!
This past week the weather has really been starting to change.  The sun comes out every so often, and it rained quite a bit yesterday.  Also, it is starting to be more foggy in the mornings, and the sun is starting to go down sooner.  The clouds are finally starting to come, and believe it or not, I'm excited for the rainy season this year.  It doesn't quite feel like autumn yet, none of the trees have started changing colors or anything like that...  Maybe in the upcoming weeks.

I want to hike Mt. Baker, but I don't think it will be something that I do while I'm a missionary.  I street contacted a guy this past week who is a guide for the hikers and he told us that it takes about 2 days if I were to climb up and down Mt. Baker at a steady pace.  Sooo... I won't be able to do that...

How's Dad and Scotty doing?  I've been thinking about them off and on this week, especially before bed.  As I have done so much serving others I have really developed a stronger love for my family.  I always took things for granted until I realized how much I really miss everything when I am not around all of you.  I guess that's one way to be more grateful for everything that I have.

I've been listening to this GREAT acapella group called "Vocal Point".  I'm not sure if they have too many CD's, but a friend gave me one titled "Lead Thou Me On"
Something that I'm going to start doing is preparing a small spiritual thought to share in each of my emails.  I've been having tons more spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon these past couple of weeks, and I think it would be neat to share it with each of you.  I want to have it drafted out so that I can have it all nice and pretty for you when you receive it.

Just realized there were some things this past week that I forgot about, haha...  

Blood Donation Day in September 2013
Well, I originally thought that missionaries were not allowed to donate blood - turns out I was wrong!  I donated blood this past Saturday.  Normally what I do when I donate is something called a "double red" (if I remember right...) which is when you donate twice as much blood, and they put the plasma and platelets back in you.  It's neat!  :)  It only took about 10 minutes to donate blood, but we stayed around a little longer to talk to the nonmembers that were there.  Also, the nurse told me to take it easy for the next three days, and maybe because I'm rebellious, I didn't listen!  :O  Played soccer that afternoon with the Spanish group, and it went so great!  We had some investigators there, and it was so neat to see them get so much fellowship and be so involved in an activity.  I'm loving my new area!

Love you all so much - each of you are such an incredible inspiration to me!  I hope that you have a great week... stay strong and keep your head held high!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 64

Hi family!

We go to the Family History Center up here to email.  It's pretty neat because there are about 10 different computers, and missionaries fill them up every Monday for a couple of hours - haha...   It is nice to not have to worry about a time limit (the library gives you only an hour to use the computer), so now I can write to as many people as I feel like.  :P

A silly moment with tie clips!
Bellingham is so much nicer in person!  Elder Jones and I work in an area called Ferndale pretty frequently, and from there you can see Mt. Baker - which is SO COOL!  It is starting to get a bit foggy so it is harder to see, and probably within this next week or two, we won't be able to see it for the next couple of months.  The rainy season is starting to come back - it rained for about half of the week, with the other half being extremely sunny. The weather seems to have its own mood up here... My guess is we have two weeks or so of seeing the sun, then goodbye!

Bellingham is a pretty big college town.  There is a big university here and two other schools (a community college and I think some business school), so we talk to a lot of people that are around my age!  Feels a little weird.  

I haven't gotten my scriptures yet;  they should come in to the mission office this week, where they will sit until the zone leaders get them, or the office staff brings them up here.  I am very excited to get them!  I decided on regular black leather, which is fine for me.  

This week was pretty nice.  Met the rest of the members from the ward and group.  They are all so amazing and missionary minded!  I love it!  It's going to be a great time up in Bellingham!  I also met the rest of our investigators.  Each of them has a personal issue or problem to overcome, so it is nice to be there alongside their conversion process.  Trying to do my best to help them every step of the way - just like my missionaries did for me!

Lions and Tigers and Kitties, Oh My!
During my studies, I have been reading in the Book of Alma, more specifically the war chapters, which led me to a question that I had come to my mind in the beginning of the week - What is the point of all of the war chapters in the Book of Alma?  Why would Mormon decide to put those chapters inside of The Book of Mormon?  I didn't receive my answer until last night when I was accounting with the missionaries in the district.  It was neat because I was talking and then it clicked to me...  So we know that The Book of Mormon was written for our day, so my personal opinion why the war chapters are in the Book of Alma is because we are in a time of wars, rumor of wars, and are watching the world change right before us!  Isn't is incredible how much this world has changed in such a short amount of time?  Even people in their 40s or 50s will say that when they were growing up, life was way different!  I love the Book of Mormon and how little things like that testify that the Book of Mormon really was written for our day.  The Book of Mormon is so incredible!  I love it soooooooo much!

Love you all as well!  Hope you all have a great week!  :)


Elder Alexander J Annand

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 63

Hello family!

Well, I am here in my new area!  I'm in the northern most area of the mission - Bellingham!  My area borders the Canadian border, which is pretty neat!  I am serving as a district leader and taught about using a tool that we have as missionaries called "key prospects" this past Wednesday.  Key prospects is when we use names of less active members, potential investigators, and former investigators from the area book and dedicate time in that area to work.   It went very well.  :)

Surprisingly, the weather has been very hot!  I am actually wanting the rain, as crazy as that sounds!  Bellingham is an incredibly beautiful area.  It is very green, and there are lots of mountains.  I want to make a trip to Mount Baker one of these P-days and try hiking it!

(photo of Mt Baker is courtesy MartyLeeB)
My new companion is Elder Jones, and he is from Corona, California - Just like my son!  It's pretty funny because my son's (Elder DeTavis) mom taught Elder Jones in seminary for a year.  Pretty cool...  Elder Jones has been out for about 10 months and has some pretty nice desires to work.  I am excited to work with him this transfer.  Also, there isn't a Spanish ward or branch up here - instead, it is a group!  There are about 20-30 members, but we lack on Melchizedek Priesthood holders.  Hoping to change that around during my time here in Bellingham!

The twistable colored pencils work so great!  Thank you for getting them.  I will be ordering the new scriptures before I leave the family history center (where we email) today.

I forgot to grab my cord to plug into the computer to send you some pictures, you'll just have to wait till next week...  :)
Love you all so much! Have a great week!
Elder Alexander J Annand
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