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
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