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

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