Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 103

Hi hi family!

Selfie while on a beach hike.      May 2014

I have to make this quick!  A lot of people wrote me so I was busy responding to them.  I definitely feel strange right now knowing that this is my last preparation day.  I can't believe it's time... I'll be honest and say that I am depressed and don't have much to say. 

I love you all so much!

Have a great week - see you soon!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 102

Hey hey hey!

What's up?!  This week was pretty crazy!  I can't believe that my birthday is coming up either!  I'm going to be going to a member's home and have some food and celebrate, haha.  :)    Nothing has come to mind with what I may want for my birthday - I'll be sure to let you know if that changes!   :D

Elders Gressier and Annand      Titanic, anyone???

I'm doing so great!  We had zone conference this past week, so all of the Spanish speaking missionaries got together.  We received instruction from President Bonham, the assistants, the north Spanish zone leaders, and the sister training leaders.  I had the privilege of conducting the meeting which was awesome!  :)   At the very end, I shared my final testimony, and after that all of the parting missionaries sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" in Spanish.  I started crying at the very end and was bawling during the closing prayer.  This honor to serve a full time mission has been incredible.  Words can't describe the love I have for the Hispanic people, and the love I have for Washington.

Oh... My... Goodness... 108 degrees in Phoenix...  DEFINITELY not looking forward to that.  It's going to be interesting trying to cope with the heat again.  We'll see what happens...

I love you all so much! Have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 101

Hey hey hey! 

This past week was quite eventful!  Unfortunately, we had a missionary go home this past week so we were given another missionary (so now I am with 2 other missionaries) while his companion went to a different area.  My new companion's name is Elder Tyler Shaver.  He is from Harrisonburg, Virginia and has been a missionary as long as my other companion, Elder Cottle.  They were both companions in the MTC, so it is neat that they get to serve together at this time in their mission.  With the addition of Elder Shaver, we also cover the area that he was serving in (Monroe to Goldbar).  It makes things a little more stressful because of all of the travel time we have to take, but I think we are managing.  We are going to go to the Sky Valley branch in Monroe this Sunday to meet the members.  :)

Elders Annand, Shaver, and Cottle     May 2014
So... You aren't going to be a happy camper with this news that I'm going to give you.  I got a ticket!  Our car was in the shop, and it was time to pick it up.  We drove to the mission office, got the car, put packages in it, and while I was driving off, I took a turn onto a 25mph area.  I didn't realize at first I was going a lot faster than the posted speed limit, and when I braked to get to normal speed, it was too late.  :(  The GPS said the speed limit was 30, but that doesn't justify anything... I was being clumsy!  I took some money out of my bike fund to pay for the ticket.  It was a total of $195, but because we are in a 3 pack, we have to split it 3 ways, so I'm going to end up spending $65.  I'm upset at myself, and I lost my driving privileges as a missionary for the rest of my mission, but afterwards, I'll just have to pay more attention while driving!

Yesterday, as a district, we rode the ferry!  It was my first time, and it was way cool!  We went over to Whidbey Island and hung around there on the beach for a little while, then we went out to lunch at Taco Bell afterwards (classy, right?).   :)   It was very inexpensive as well, $4.80 I think for a round trip ticket if you are on foot.  I'll attach some pictures to show you!

Ferry to Whidbey Island    May 2014

That is super sad news that Tucker had to be put down, but it was for the best.  I hate seeing animals suffer.  I hope each of you can cope quickly with the loss.

Tomorrow is our Spanish zone conference (when all of the Spanish missionaries get together and receive instruction from the mission president, his wife, and his assistants).  I will be singing in a musical number with the other missionaries who will be going home this upcoming transfer (2 other Elders and a Sister missionary).  It's going to be sad, but I am eternally grateful for this experience that I have had to serve as a missionary.  I have learned that rendering continual service brings the greatest blessings.  It is something that I have chosen to do for the rest of my life.

I love you all so much!  I hope you have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 100

Hello !

I'm doing very well!  This past week was very rough, however.  I had food poisoning/flu from Tuesday to Friday and then was hit with a pretty painful migraine yesterday.  It was a bit of a bummer because I wasn't able to work as hard as I wanted to this past week. 

I did have a cool miracle happen though...  I was on a mini exchange with one of the missionaries in Snohomish, and we were knocking on doors.  We tracted into a freshman in high school named J - she seemed a bit standoffish at first but then when we started to teach, the Spirit came super strong.  As we showed her the front picture of the Restoration pamphlet, she started bawling!  It was such a powerful moment, and she knows now what the Spirit feels like!  :)

P-Day hike with some of the missionaries...   Super Fun!!!

Tell Scotty I say hi!  I love him so much!  It was so good to talk with him over Skype on Mother's Day.  It looks like he is doing very well!  I'm excited to spend a lot more time with him and to catch up on everything that I've missed.  But for now, I need to focus and work hard for this last month that I have!  I already mentioned this, but I can't believe how quick time flies.  My mission has been such a blessing and an experience and I will be forever grateful.

I got a pretty neat letter from the Activity Day girl's from our ward this past week.  They all wrote me a letter asking me how I'm doing and what it's like up here.  They spelled my name "Elder Anand".  One of them said that I sound like a pretty skinny guy, and if I'm a girl that they didn't mean to offend me.  I started busting out laughing!  I'll be using some of my preparation day to write the kids back.  :)

Hope you have a great week!  Can't believe the kid's summer starts next week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 99

Hey there family!

Isn't life great?!!  :D  It was so awesome seeing you all via Skype yesterday!  I can't believe how much everyone has changed in such a short amount of time!  But I guess I have changed quite a bit as well... I can't wait for all of you to meet all of the friends I have made up here in Washington!  They are all so amazing.  :)

It's nice and sunny out over here - no where near 86 degrees, perhaps around 70?  It feels great.  We plan on going to play basketball today after we go to the mall, so I'm excited for that!

This is such a wimpy email, haha, but I feel like I don't have too much to write because we just talked yesterday!  

Hope you each have a great day and week!  Don't get too sunburned...  ;)


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 98

Hello family!

Goofing around on P-Day with Elder Niemela.    Dec 2013
So, I will be able to Skype you this upcoming Sunday!  I have church from 10:30am-1:30pm, and I would expect to Skype anywhere between 2:00pm and 5:00pm.  I hope that is okay for you!  I will be going over to one of my recent convert's homes that I taught while I was here a year ago!  I'm excited for you to meet him!  He is so great!  He is such an intelligent man and gives me such great advice, I love him!

The doctor's appointment this past Tuesday went well.  We talked about the different symptoms I have before I have a migraine, and during, and we also talked about different ways I can cope with smaller migraines.  Normally, what I do is go into a dark room and rest/close my eyes because my head hurts so bad.  President Bonham and another friend here know a lot about migraines, so I am super grateful that they can help me as well.  I should be able to overcome these migraines soon.  For when I do have a migraine, the doctor prescribed me Immitrex 100mg.  I am supposed to take it when I feel a migraine coming on, and if that doesn't help to take another dose, but to not exceed two doses in 24 hours.  

So, I just received news that this is my last area!  I am not getting transferred!  Nor is my companion!  Woohoo!  It is crazy to think that this is my last transfer before I finish as a full time missionary for the Lord.  I don't know where the time has gone!  It definitely has been the best 2 years of my life, and for my life.  I will forever be grateful for this wonderful time I had to serve!  I still need to work hard and diligently - enduring to the end doesn't only apply to our life, but to many other things as well!  :)

That is so awesome that you are finishing up your temple classes, Mom!  I am so PROUD OF YOU!  Receiving your endowments are such an amazing blessing, and I am so happy that you are going to make more covenants with our Father in Heaven!  I cannot be your escort (it needs to be someone of the same gender), but you can count on me being there when you go through!  :)  How could I miss such an important moment?!  

I love you all so much!  You are all so great!  I hope you have a great week!  I can't believe the school year is almost over!  Time flies!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 97

Hello !!

I'm doing so great!  This past week was awesome!  We have transfers next week, and I think I will be staying here in this area to finish off my mission, but we will see!  It truly is amazing to look back on my mission and see how fast time has gone by.  I can't believe it - it shocks me every time it crosses my mind.  I'm am so incredibly grateful for everything that has happened to me these past couple of months.  I have learned so much more then I ever thought imaginable. This is and will always be an experience that I am forever grateful for...  :)   I still have 6 weeks, got to finish strong and stay faithful and diligent to what I have been asked to do!

I CAN'T BELIEVE ERIC AND KATHY GOT MARRIED!  Congrats, friends!  I don't ever remember talking to Kathy before my mission, so it will be neat talking and getting to know her and to see Eric when the time comes!  Dad and Eric are lookin' good...  ;)    I love them!

Still have snow on some nearby mountain tops...
I bet it is starting to get really hot over there!  I'm enjoying the very nice sunny weather with a light sprinkle every now and again.  :)   I'm going to be going to the doctor's tomorrow so that he can help me with the migraines that I have been getting every now and again.  I'm going in with lots of questions to see if we can narrow down the reason why they happen.

This past week we taught a lot of people who seem to have good potential.  My companion and I are excited to help them progress in the gospel and be a part of their conversion.  There is a very well known restaurant in Utah called Cafe Rio, and one just opened up this last week.  I got to try it!  IT WAS DELICIOUS!  Hehe, other than that, and helping other people come closer, there wasn't anything else too exciting.  :P

I love you family!  Love you all so much!  Hope you have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 96

Hi family!


Oso area -  chickens on the loose!

I'm in such a good mood right now - can you tell?!  I had a great week!  Like I mentioned in my last email, last Monday we went to the Oso area and did some service for the day.  It was a neat experience, a real eye opener to see the damage that the mudslide had on people.  We cleaned out a man's home with the help of the National Guard.  It was cool to work alongside them and swing in a few church things here and there.  :)

The rest of the week went very well.  We taught several lessons and are seeing great progress with a handful of our investigators.  We are teaching three families right now and about 10 other people are moving along very well.  Something that I wish I had learned early on in my mission is how to separate wheat from tares (those who are ready vs. those who are not).  I have had an incredibly more active teaching pool as I have learned to help those understand what our expectations are as missionaries.  My companion, Elder Cottle, and I are hoping to have several baptisms before the end of May or early June - can't wait!

Ice skating with another district.
I'll answer some of your questions that I missed in last week's email (sorry, last week was a lame week for me, haha).  Yes, this is Elder Cottle's first time being a zone leader.  I was pretty surprised when I received another zone leader call because most older missionaries don't serve as zone leaders (rather as a district leader, trainer, or even a senior companion).  A zone leader helps the mission president supervise the work over a specific part of the mission.  We go on exchanges with other missionaries and help the district leaders with their districts and other missionaries and with how they are teaching, etc.  We are also to do our best to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless the lives of the missionaries.  We teach at monthly training sessions for the zone, and also have a mission leader meeting with the mission president monthly to discuss needs of the mission and to receive instruction to bring back to our respective zones.  Elder Cottle and I cover the south half of the mission for all Spanish speaking missionaries.  It's neat because all of our meetings are in Spanish - which is really great for everyone to practice and better their language skills.  It's really fun to serve with him because we are both learning so much from each other and are applying so many different principles that we have learned over the course of our missions.  He has been out for about 14 months now and has a very great work ethic and desire to serve - I love it!!  :)   So, I am back serving as a Spanish missionary!  I think I will be serving as a Spanish missionary for the rest of my mission, but I have no idea.  I am back in the same Lynnwood area that I served in a year ago.

I went on an exchange with another missionary this past week and read a really neat quote that was on a magnet on their refrigerator!  It was a quote by Elder Neil A. Maxwell that read, "Faith in the Lord includes faith in His timing."  I love that!  We know that faith is a belief in things which are true, which we cannot see - but I feel that often times we forget that putting our trust in the Lord is a huge step of our faith.  A quote from Preach My Gospel says, "Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required."  The natural man always wants things here and now, but a true disciple of Christ understands that persevering faithfully brings greater blessings and miracles.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  The Lord has guided each and every one of us whether or not we see it.  He will continue to guide it as we study the scriptures and put trust in Him.  His timing is always what is best for us, and for some reason, we never realize it during the trial, but always realize it after we have overcome that obstacle.  Another quote says, "Wise men [and women], learn from their experiences. Super wise men [and women], learn from others experiences."  The scriptures are full of others' experiences, and we need to dive into them so that we can receive knowledge and understanding that everything will be okay.

I love you all so much!  Hope you have a great week!   Thank you for your prayers!


Elder Alexander J. Annand

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 95

Hey hey yo yo FAMILY!!!!!

This week was pretty good!  I got sick TWICE!  I got a migraine on Monday night, and then Wednesday morning - it was horrible!  It hurt so bad, and I wasn't able to go out and be a missionary!  I never got migraines before my mission so it was super weird to start having them.  My mission president thinks that it could be because of the drastic climate change, diet, or because my grandpa has them as well, but I'm not too sure.  I think I'll go to a doctor and see what may be the cause after my mission.  But hey, I'm feeling great now!

Helping out in Darrington

Yesterday, I went to a city called Darrington for the whole day!  So technically I didn't have a preparation day but President Bonham gave me permission to email for one hour today.  I was in Darrington because they had a mile wide mudslide a couple of weeks ago so I went up with a couple of other missionaries and did service!  It was crazy to see how much damage was done and how much it took a toll on the city.  Normally, it would take about an hour to get to the city but we had to take a huge detour and it took 3 hours going through back roads and what not. 

Providing much needed service in Darrington.
The hike last week was really neat!  It was nice and sunny out and I took quite a bit of pictures.  The place was called Lord's Hill, and it was in Snohomish (about 30 miles from where my companion and I live).  I love being in the nature!  The view at the top was awesome!  

Something I love so much about our Father in Heaven is that He is so willing to talk with us and answer our prayers!  Our Heavenly Father answers us according to our righteous desires, based off of our faith and hope in what is to come.  Also, depending on the circumstance we are in, answers will come in many different ways.  We can receive answers by how we feel, thoughts that come to our mind, or even through a friend saying something.  Sometimes, because our Father loves us so much, He won't answer and will let us freely choose (agency) to see if we will follow Him always.  Promptings are hard to notice, and many times (at least for me) when I receive a prompting it makes me have to put action into something.  For example, I'll be walking down the street and have a small feeling to go up and talk to a person.  Sometimes you may not feel that you are receiving many promptings or that God is being silent, but I promise you that He is listening.  He doesn't desire anything more than for you to follow Him and talk with Him.  He loves us SOOOO much!  I only wish I could comprehend the love He has for me so that I could try and explain it to you.
United in Service!

Sorry that this letter is so wimpy - hope you know that I love you!  I'll do a better job writing next week!


Elder Alexander J. Annand

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 94

Panoramic - Group hike

Gooood morning!  :)   It's beautiful out!  Nice and sunny and my companion and I plan on going hiking in Snohomish with some other missionaries in a couple of hours.  It's going to be great!  I haven't been hiking in a good while so it's going to be nice getting out and enjoying the nature!  I love Washington so much because it is so green and beautiful all the time.  I'll be honest and say I could deal with a little less rain but hey, I need to always have an attitude of gratitude!  :)

This week was amazing!  We had two families come and see General Conference with us over the weekend, and they all enjoyed it very much.  We received a random text from one of our investigators saying how much he learned and how grateful he was to have made time to come and see conference.  Elder Cottle and I should be expecting a handful of baptisms in the coming months...  :)

Group hike on a beautiful day!

All of the talks from General Conference were amazing.  I loved how Elder Holland talked about defending our faith.  In this day and age, people are losing sight of God and replacing it with temporal, worldly items of no particular worth or value.  So many people try to degrade what we believe as Christians, and seem to be even more vile when they learn that we are Mormons.  Standing up for what we believe in is a great step of courage and a huge way to show our love for our Father in Heaven.  As we develop Christlike love and live in accordance to God's commands, we will begin to develop unshakable faith.  As President Eyring stated, every day and every hour we must choose to keep a covenant of God.  Agency is one of the most beautiful gifts Heavenly Father has blessed us with, and as we choose righteously, He will bless us beyond our own comprehension.

I'd love to sit and talk more about what I learned, but I need to get running because we are going to go hiking!  I love you all so much!  Have a great week - don't get too crazy Mom on your motorcycle!  *gulp...*


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 93

Hello, hello family!

I am doing so great!  This week was awesomeee!  I've had some things on my mind these past couple of weeks, so it seemed like it was super hard for me to be attentive because I had a distraction in the back of my mind.  However, this week I was able to focus very well, and I definitely saw myself working a lot harder and being more diligent in my efforts!  Got to be grateful for miracles!

hey!  hey!  hey!
So I got transferred this past Tuesday!  I was called to be a zone leader and am serving in Lynnwood again!  I served in this area a year ago, and it is so great to see all of the members again and visit the investigators that I taught previously.  We are helping a lot of them get back on board, and it seems like this time around is their time to shine!  Woohoo, blessings!  My companion's name is Elder Cottle, and he is from Las Vegas, Nevada but his family has moved to Alpine, Utah since he has been out here.  He has been out for a little over a year and is a great missionary.  He works hard and understands my goofyness - woot woot!  This is going to be a great transfer!

Woohoo!  General Conference is this weekend!  I am SOOO excited!  Conference is the greatest missionary holiday!  There is so much learning to receive every General Conference - I love it.  Can't wait to talk about it next week!  

I got the package with the ponchos.  My companion and I wore them tracting the other day! Ahhhh, good times.  :)

Hope you have a great week!  Stay strong!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 92

Goooooooooooooooood morning!

It is such a beautiful morning over here in Washington!  The sun is out and shining and it is finally nice enough outside to wear a short sleeve!  I don't think we got rain this week, which is sweet!  It's that time again for the missionaries - transfer time!  I got a call about half an hour ago saying that I am getting transferred!  It is unfortunate that I was only able to stay here in the Harbour Pointe ward for a month and a half, but I am glad that I was able to help this ward progress in the way that it did.  I received a call late Thursday night informing me that I am going to be a zone leader again - thing is, I don't know if I am going back Spanish speaking or if I am going to stay English speaking for the rest of my mission!  I think that this last area is the last area that I will serve in as a full time missionary, but we will see...

That's definitely some tragic news about the mudslide that happened about an hour and a half north of me.  None of the missionaries were hurt, but from what I hear there was a lot of damage done and possibly a hand full of deaths.  Pray for these people - their families will need it!

I had some awesome studies this past week.  The main thing that I want to talk about is an article that I read in the September 2013 Ensign titled "The Healing Balm of Hope".  It is absolutely incredible.  As we know, hope is believing and expecting that something will occur.  As we trust in the Savior, we believe that He will fulfill His side of the bargain and have those promises that he has made with us come true.  During each trial, problem, stressing moment, affliction, etc. it is hope that helps us overcome these obstacles.  An Irish proverb says that, "Hope is the physician of each misery."  Having firm and unwavering hope helps us heal as we use the Atonement daily in our lives.  In the article, it states many ways how hope develops under the right circumstances, "Faith in God, Righteous living, Positive expectations, Living with purpose, Setting and working towards goals, Initiating and sustaining personal effort, Bridling thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, A willingness to tackle challenges, and Competence in creating healthy relationships."  As we live under these circumstances, hope is easier to develop and sustain.  Profound and sustaining hope is more than an attitude, it is an orientation of the Spirit toward God.  Through all of our trials and afflictions, do not lose hope, because often times that is all that we have to hold on to.  Hope on and remember Him through all things, and He will lift us higher than we could ever imagine.

I love you all so much.  I pray that each of you may have a blessed week.  Keep on being the great examples that you are to those around you, and to me!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 91

Morning family! 

Hope it's all going great!

Before I get into anything, I need to give a quick shout out.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!   I love you and hope you have a great day!

This week was great!  The sun was out for the majority of the days this week!  It was so nice to see the sun!  Everyone around us seemed happier and were more willing to talk with us.  Elder WIttmaak and I found some super cool people this past week that have some strong potential!  We are hoping to find more people soon so that this area can blossom!

Bowling with the gang on P-Day

That's a real bummer that Heather caught a cold this past week.  I actually got food poisoning from Monday to Tuesday, so that was a real bummer because I couldn't work to the best of my ability.  I'm feeling great now though!  Thank goodness!  We are supposed to get quite a bit of rain this week - which is fine with me.  When the sun is out, Washington is incredibly beautiful. 

I didn't get a package...   :(   St. Patty's Day ties?!  Aw man!  I wonder if it is at the mission office or something...  Perhaps it will come in today!  Let's hope so!  Speaking about packages, I plan on sending one home to you guys either today or next Monday.  It is going to have some things for you and Dad and also some things that I am tired of carrying around - haha.  

I only have 15 minutes left of email time, so I unfortunately won't be able to write as much as I would like.  Last week I had a great study about patience and developing a mission for my mission.  I'll have to explain next week.

I love you guys so much!  Stay safe and stay awesome!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 90

Hello hello family!

I can definitely relate to what you are saying about time speeding up.  I still remember clearly driving up to Salt Lake with you and the girls, having a small tour of the old Tabernacle and the Conference Center, hanging out with Brother Mahelona and his wife (I wonder how they are doing...), and saying our goodbyes right before I entered the MTC.  Wow.  It feels like yesterday that that happened, I can't believe that that was almost two years ago!  Looking back over the course of my mission, I am so proud with the work that I have rendered.  I truly believe that I have given all the effort that I could every single day - and that is not going to stop!  I have seen daily miracles happen as I serve faithfully, obediently, and diligently.  These last couple of months are truly my time to shine!  I have learned SOOOO much, and am eternally grateful for it.  After my mission, I am going to continue to grow with my relationship with Jesus Christ, and I know that I can do that as I apply the principles I have learned while I have been serving Him and those around me.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I never joined the church, decided to serve a mission, etc.  Before I joined the church, I was a person who struggled with depression, didn't have a close relationship with my family, no sense of belonging, no true reason to live - matter of fact. I always wondered "Why me?", "Why does God put me through such hardships?", etc.  I had the great privilege to be invited to attend a special mission conference this past week, where I had the opportunity to listen to Sister Bonham's brother - President Shawn D. Moon.  He is the Stake President over one of the YSA stakes in Utah and works for Franklin Covey.  He is a great motivational speaker and spoke to us about having an eternal mindset and developing a mission for my mission.  It was incredible!  We first talked about the power of paradigms and the influence it has in the long run.  Depending on one of our paradigms (or viewpoints), it will determine the outcome.  For example, if my paradigm of missionary work is "I will never baptize," then, chances are, I won't be motivated or inspired to work as hard as I could.  Something I really reflected on was when I joined this church, I had a paradigm shift - a new view.  I saw everything in a different light and looked at things not in the "here and now," but in an eternal perspective.  I am happy, hopeful, and know that Heavenly Father sees in me what I do not - and wants me to live up to my fullest capacity.  At the beginning of my mission, I set a goal to be the best missionary, son, future father, Priesthood holder, etc. that I can be.  I think I am starting to finally understand why living up to your potential is so important - a part of Moses 1:35 says, "There are many that now stand (talking about the worlds which have been created), and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them."  God knows me personally.  I am important and special to Him - just as much as you are.  A great portion of His love is loyalty.  Loyalty should be a way that we show love as well.  As I am loyal to those around me, I am blessed beyond measure.  I learn more about them, learn about my personal worth, and receive a greater knowledge of the eternities.  It is so amazing what life brings.

I was reading in the recent Ensign and read a quote that really impacted me this past week on how we can bring the Lord's healing into our lives.  It is given from his talk "The Hope of God's Light" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:  "First, start where you are...  We don't have to wait to cross the finish line to receive God's blessings.  In fact, the heavens begin to part and the blessings of heaven begin to distill upon us with the very first steps we take toward the light... Second, turn your heart toward the Lord.  Lift up your soul in prayer and explain to your Heavenly Father what you are feeling.  Acknowledge your shortcomings.  Pour out your heart and express your gratitude.  Let Him know of the trials you are facing.  Plead with Him in Christ's name for strength and support...  Third, walk in the light...  [Heavenly Father] sent His Son to this earth to illuminate the way and show us how to safely cross the stumbling blocks placed in our path.  He has given us the gospel, which teaches the way of the disciple.  It teaches us the things we must know, do, and be to walk in His light, following in the footsteps of His Beloved Son."  I feel that is exactly how the Lord helped me get back up on my feet in my darkest hour.

I love you all so much.  :)  Be safe this week and enjoy your Spring break!  Don't get too crazy!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 89

Dear my super awesome cool strange loving interesting goofy family!

It has been so cool to FEEL my love for each of you grow as I have been out here serving those around me. One of the most amazing things I have seen on my mission is the growth in other people and the changes they have made to follow Christ. THE most amazing thing I have seen on my mission is the personal change in myself as I have selflessly given my time and energy to help those in need. If I was to look into the future the day of my baptism and see who I would have become (and who I am becoming), I never would have recognized myself. Isn't this gospel the greatest?! It deserves a WOOHOO!

Hello?   Hello?   Helloooooooo!!!!
This week had been awesome! One of my investigators in my last area got baptized this past weekend! Woohoo! I wasn't able to go unfortunately, but I'm going to write her a letter of congratulations today. Her name is J.W. - she is so great! Elder Luebke and I met her with our Bishop as we were getting ready to go home one evening. She was outside in the parking lot just getting ready to go in her apartment for the night when we contacted her and started to get to know her. She is such a great spirit! This work truly is incredible.

Chores chores chores! We have cleaning inspections today so Elder Wittmaak and I had to clean up the apartment a good bit. Is it weird of me to say that I actually enjoy cleaning now? I feel so accomplished whenever I'm finished because the apartment looks super good and I actually feel sane! Eric is getting married next month?! That is awesome!! How is he doing? I'd assume pretty good since he is getting married, it's just I haven't heard much about him for a long while. Tell him I say hello and love him!

Wow, that's crazy that Nanny's dog has diabetes! Does she have to change up her diet and what not now? Or is the shot all that she needs? I'm glad that Papa's eye surgery was successful and that he can see again! I love miracles:) - and Nanny and Papa! I need to write them... Will do it today if I have time!

Those pictures and articles of the Gilbert Temple are AWESOME! I love it! I'm so glad that you got to go to one of the dedicatory sessions! That is SOOOOOO COOOOOOL! Write down what you remember, feelings and thoughts! Those are moments that should never be forgotten and they will bring back the beautiful spirit you felt as you reread your spiritual experiences.
Aah! I love this gospel and church so much! IT IS SO TRUE! 

I love you all so much! Hope you have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 88

My super cool and awesome family!
Cool hat, huh?
Hey, hey, heeeeyyyy!  ;)  Life is great!  In Preach My Gospel, the First Presidency Message states that "more happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children."  Amen to that!  I have never been happier! I  have learned that as I labor diligently, obediently, and with charity, the Lord blesses me immensely!  Throughout the course of my mission - I have seen myself grow and improve as a missionary, son, person, Priesthood holder, friend, and more!  In each area that I have served in, I have witnessed so many blessings and miracles.  The greatest blessing and miracle has to have been when I served in Oak Harbor.  I knew that when I was sent to speak English, there was a special someone whom I had to help.  It wasn't until the week before transfers that I learned who that person was!  God sure does work in mysterious ways.  I know He has a plan for each of us.  As we live how we should, He reveals the incredible blessings that are in store for us.  I have seen glimpses of what the future has in store for me, and I know that as I live righteously, our Heavenly Father will bless me with what I have seen and felt.
It is so good to hear that you felt the Spirit help you through your presentation, mom!  Read Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

This past week, I tried very hard to improve my obedience, diligence, and charity towards myself and other people.  I feel like it worked out great!  Something I learned from a past companion that I put to practice this past week was that Obedience comes from Faith, Diligence comes from Hope, and Charity comes from Love.  As I increased (and continue to increase) my faith, hope, and love, my desire to be more obedient, diligent, and charitable increases.  Isn't that cool?! 
I did a lot of studying about faith, hope, and love this past week.  As I was reading the Ensign one day, I came across an amazing quote by President Boyd K. Packer, "We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see."  Being obedient, because we know it brings blessings, is a true act of faith.  As we obey, we see God's will for us, and we learn that there is much to accomplish in this life.  I studied my Patriarchal blessing, and it was cool to review all of those blessings and promises that are conditional upon my faithfulness and obedience.  God has so much in store for each of us, but will only bless us according to our obedience to the commandments.  I learned that the true source of hope comes from me being a child of a loving Heavenly Father.  Also, that I have been saved because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.  There is a neat scripture in Moroni 7 that talks about the things which we should hope for in this life, "...Ye shall have hope through the Atonement of Christ and the power of the resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal" (41).  I've come to see that as I increase my hope towards these things, that my desire to help others learn about this message grows.  :)  Love is such an amazing attribute to have!  I had an incredible friend of mine share with me that charity is the bond of perfectness (Col. 3:14).  As I studied about the perfect bond of charity, I learned that love is, and should always be, our motivator to help and serve.  With love towards ourselves and others, we can experience a portion of the love that our Father in Heaven has for us.  We can see others in a different light, and strive to always help them do what is right.  I love love!  Is that weird to say?  Haha.  :)

Another cool quote I read this week was by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "This is the paradox of man: Compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God."  That struck me really hard as I read that.  We are God's children.  He loves us more than we can imagine.  Just like any loving parent, He wants the best for us.  He wants us to succeed and live up to the potential that we have.  How can we do that?  By following what He has given us!  The scriptures are here for us so that we can learn and grow.  We have living prophets today so that we can continue to receive counsel and guidance from a loving Father.  We have loving parents and friends who, at times, help us see things that we cannot.  I love this gospel.  :)

I love you all so much - You are all so incredible!  ;)


Elder Alexander J. Annand

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 87

Family, family, faaaammilllyyy!

Elder Wittmaak and Elder Annand
Hello hello!  As you know, yesterday was President's Day so the library was closed - so I'm emailing now...  Feels good!  There is a lot that has happened that I want to share with you -  Yup - I got transferred!  I am in the Harbour Pointe ward in the Lynnwood stake.  It's cool because I covered this area (along with 4 other wards) when I was in the Lynnwood Spanish branch a year ago.  It was neat to say hello to the friends I've made in the Spanish branch this past Sunday.  I'm on bike and have to travel 5 miles just to get in my area!  Pretty crazy!  My companion is Elder Wittmaak from Bushkill, Pennsylvania.  He has been out for about 10 months, and I was actually his zone leader when he first started his mission.  It is so great to see how much he has learned and grown in such a short time!  I'm excited to be his companion.  :)  This transfer is going to be awesome!

Elder Wittmaak and I white washed into this area.  White wash means when two missionaries are taken out of the area, and two new missionaries are put in.  It's tough because we don't know the area that well, and we also don't know too many members, investigators, etc.  I'm ready to help these members, however!  They had a pretty rough struggle with disobedient missionaries in the past (around the time when I was serving in Lynnwood Spanish) and had lost a lot of trust in the Elders.  Our goal is to change that and help them with their missionary efforts - it's going to be great!  Luckily, this ward has had good missionaries for the past 6 months, so it isn't going to be as difficult to build member trust and help them.  

Since we have been here, Elder Wittmaak and I have witnessed some sweet miracles!  Every day we have seen the hand of the Lord in our efforts.  On Thursday we were trying to follow up with a less active family to see how interested they were to come back to church - turns out they moved, but a different LDS family lives there!  We are going to go by this week and see how they are doing.  On Saturday, Elder Wittmaak and I got completely drenched - it was raining so hard!  We were knocking on some doors because we wanted to take a break from going up this huge hill, and the last house we knocked on let us in!  It turns out that the wife lived with a Mormon family for two years in Utah - which really jump started her faith.  They are moving to Atlanta at the end of this month, but Elder Wittmaak and I feel that the positive experience we have with them will help them come to the church in the future!  Woohoo, miracles!!

Serving in Oak Harbor was awesome - I really enjoyed it.  I had such a great time meeting so many amazing people.  I also learned a lot about the Navy (Oak Harbor is a huge Navy town).  I put some thought into it for a while - but I don't think I am going to go the military route, even if I get the GI bill to pay for schooling.  I don't think I'd be able to handle all of that time away from family!  As I have been out here doing my best to serve families and help them on their journey to the temple, I have grown so much respect for my own family.  Although we all aren't members of the same church, I am still so grateful for everything that you have done for me.  All of you.  Every time I look back on my life, I am filled with so much joy because I am now recognizing all of the many blessings that I was given.  I feel incredibly lucky to be raised by two amazing parents, and to have a younger brother and two younger sisters.  Each of you have had a profound influence on me, and I am a better person because of it.  :)  I love you!!

Great job, mom, getting your limited Temple recommend renewed.  That makes me super proud of you!  It is going to be so great when you get your endowments.  I'm excited for you!  It is going to be so great going to the temple together.  You'll have to tell me how the Gilbert dedication went!  I really want to know! 

That is really unfortunate for that missionary you told me about who said it became more and more difficult to be enthusiastic about the work as he became older in the mission.  Missionary or not, we are always going to run into people who reject and disagree with the faith that we have.  When we stand up for what we know to be true, I believe we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Jesus Christ.  Never once did Christ fall under peer pressure or lose desires to help His beloved brethren come unto Him.  Never once did He disagree with the doctrine that He knew to be true.  As members of the true church of Jesus Christ, we are going to face persecution.  It is an unfortunate fact.  "Now, seeing that I know these things, why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called? ... I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this i my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." (Alma 29:6,9-10)  The work I have been doing for these past months have easily been the most joyful moments of my life.  I have seen so many loved ones change for the better - it is so great!  I am always reminded of my conversion as I help others come unto Christ.  I'm so grateful to have found the gospel when I did, and to be serving as a missionary!  This is such a fantastic calling! 

I love you all so, so, soooo much!  Hope you all have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 86

Hello everyone!

World's Largest Peppermint Patty!!     YUM!
Well, tomorrow is transfers, and I will learn in a couple of hours whether or not I am getting transferred!   Well, I am positive that I am - I'm just curious with where I will be going...  I won't learn about that until tomorrow, but guessing is always fun.  :)   This is going to be my last area (I believe) before I finish my mission. 
I am so excited that you are going to go to the temple with Dad!  Dad is going to feel the Spirit so strongly!  I can't wait to hear about how it went.  I really hope that you will be able to go to the dedication - it would be so great!
This week was good.  We have a couple of baptisms to prepare for in the coming weeks. 

Sorry this letter is so wimpy - I have a lot on my mind!  Hope everything goes well this week!

I love you all!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 85

Hello, hello!

Elder Annand    Feb 2014
I can't believe that it is February already... Gah!  Time needs to slow down for the next couple of months - I pray!  It is absolutely gorgeous here in Oak Harbor this morning.  Very clear, the sun is shining, and I can see the Cascades (I think) off in the distance.  :)

I'm very glad that the Seahawks won the Super Bowl last night.  Elder Luebke and I had to be in the apartment at 6pm because of all of the after parties and drunk drivers on the streets.  We tried to work a little bit before we had to go in - it wasn't effective at all, haha.  It was a complete ghost town, and no one really wanted to talk to us.  Now, however, people are going to be so happy that they can't resist but talk to us!  :)  

I really hope I don't have migraines. Once I sent that email, I haven't had any nausea or headaches since then, so perhaps I am being very blessed at the moment. My companion has been getting some pretty frequent headaches (seems like once a day), so I hope he will be able to recover to full health soon as well.

Scotty is getting braces!  :)  You'll have to send me a picture!  I am really glad that Dad got my letter.  I miss him, but I know that the work I am doing is blessing the family so much.  One day, I know that Dad, Scotty, Sierra, and Heather will join the fold, and that we will get sealed as a forever family!  :)  I yearn for that day.  That is a bummer that Dad wasn't able to make it to the temple open house - keep trying to encourage him to go.  I know he will be touched by the spirit there. That is so incredible that President Monson will be dedicating the Gilbert Temple.  :)  You'll have to tell me how it was!   I wonder if I can find out what he said during the dedicatory prayer - I guess we will see!

Gilbert Arizona Temple

You are going to do great on your presentation, mom.  You don't need to worry.  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart..." (Proverbs 3:5)  Trust in Him and you will do fine.  You are a great speaker.  I will pray for you.  Even though you have this big presentation this week, don't stop your scripture study and daily prayer - you'll be surprised how our Father will bless you as you put Him first.

The Navy base tour was really neat!  We got to check the radar room and also the control tower.  We decided to run up 11 flights of stairs - I was winded by the time I got to the top!  It was cool to see planes land, take off, and see what people do in the radar room.  Everyone is very organized!

Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist.
This week was awesome.  :)  It started off a bit rough.  One of our investigators has been wanting to get baptized so badly, but because she wasn't living the law of chastity, she couldn't.  However, her situation changed which allowed her to be worthy for baptism.  She was baptized this past Saturday.  I had the amazing opportunity to baptize her - it was such a powerful experience.  As I sat in the water waiting for her to open the door, the Spirit was incredibly strong.  It has been a while since I have felt the Spirit touch me like that.  She started to bawl when she opened the door, but nonetheless, the baptism was such a touching experience.  I love baptism!  I love helping others learn and grow!

We had a special conference on obedience this past Friday.  It was very well done - only an hour long.  We got to listen to President Bonham for the hour, and he helped and recommitted us to be as obedient as we can.  I guess the mission is struggling with that...  It is crazy to know that one disobedient missionary has a toll on the whole mission.  We have each signed on to be a part of this amazing work - I can't see why anyone would not want to follow the rules...

Anyway, I love missionary work.  :)  It is incredible.  I see miracles and blessings every single day.  I am so happy.  I feel so much peace.  :)  I wish I could describe how grateful I am to be a member of this church, but I just can't.  The church has been such an impact on my life.  How great it is to be a Mormon!  I love you all so much - hope you have a great week!  Take care!


Elder Alexander J Annand

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week 84

Hey family!

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
I'm doing so great!  I couldn't ask for better!  The mission life is just too awesome!  This past week flew by, as always.  Today we are planning on going to the Navy base and receive a small tour of the flight towers from one of the members of our church.  I'm excited!  I've never been on the Navy base before, so it is going to be neat!

North Whidbey Island
Time sure is flying by!  February is already this week?!  Jeez...   As I have been a missionary, I've definitely realized that too much happens when you aren't focused on yourself.  I guess that's a good thing though, because serving has been one of the best blessings I've been given.

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the Gilbert Temple open house!  :)  Who all went?  I cannot wait to go to that temple and see it for myself!

Sorry, this is a REALLY wimpy letter,  I'll do better next week, promise...  :)  I didn't have too much time today to give you a write.  I love you all so much!  Hope you have a great week!


Elder Alexander J Annand
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