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
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