Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

Romania/Moldova Mission
Bdul. Primaveril Nr. 19-21 Et.1 #13
Sector 1
011972 Bucharest
Romania

Email -
alex.ditto@myldsmail.net

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Traveling Man

Hey all!!!!

Man there is just so much to day! Sora Hettinger always tells us that if we don't have a good story to tell by the end of the day, we are doing it wrong... thankfully I have too many stories to tell so that is a good sign 😊 I really wish I could explain more about this whole mission switch thing and everything that I have learned. I am excited to tell you all more soon 😊 I wrote down a couple of experiences that I have had over these two weeks.
I love Europe!

On Thursday
 evening of last week, Elder Welling and I were checking in for our flight back to Bucharest from Budapest, Hungary and happened to make friends with the guy checking us in. It started with a compliment about his watch, and you could tell he was really proud of it. We then started to say the five words we knew in Hungarian and he got a kick out of it! We shared with him why we were here, and then left to go through security. We didn't think anything of it until we boarded the rickety old prop plane. 

Here in Eastern Europe at least you still take a shuttle bus to your plane and then board by stairs. Kinda cool! Anyways, the flight attendants started checking everyone's tickets for some reason. Apparently someone was checked on twice. Who could it be? They got to this guy sitting right across the aisle from me named Catalin Dit... and then they went to me and saw that I too was, in fact, Catalin Dit! During all of this everyone was getting cranky and making fun of the Romanian way of doing things, saying that they are not apart of the resistance, etc. So it turned out that I had never been checked-in, and I realized that it was probably because we were having too much fun with the man from the original check-in counter! They got it all figured out after I gave them my passport. Everyone got there complimentary sandwich and drink so we all left happy. Funny little experiences like that happen all the time.
Bogdan on his baptism day.

From the pictures last week you might have noticed that we had a baptism! For the past two weeks it has poured rain several times, and that Saturday there was actually a torrential down pour! We were praying that Bogdan would still make it even in this crazy weather. Sure enough, he made it twenty minutes early! We joked that all he needed now was the baptismal prayer because the rain had already immersed him in water 😃 Bogdan was found by Elder Welling in March, and since then they had been teaching him. I had the blessing of taking part in teaching him the last couple of weeks helping him prepare for his baptismal date. Bogdan is a seeker of truth and has a never ending desire to continue to learn about God. We really included the members in teaching him and is has really paid off. We need the members help if we want our new converts to stay and remain active! 
My brotha from Washington!

Exchanges!!!

Elder Hoisington and I had an exchange on Tuesday. Super fun to be with him. I remember when he first came in to the mission now almost a year and a half ago I have looked up to him for his commitment to teach repentance. We had a great exchange and managed to get some cool exchange pics 😉 
T I M I S O A R A

Elder Dahl and Innis...missed these guys!

Thursday was zone conference in Timisoara... it was so fun going back to the west again! Our day started very early at 4 am in order to catch our plane... needless to say Elder Welling and I took advantage of our pday today and had a nice long nap. I am well rested for two more zone conferences this week! Sora Hettinger taught a beautiful truth during her opening remarks at the conference. She said that, "Overarching principles are most often the solution to complex problems." The same goes for the gospel of Jesus Christ... by living the teachings of Jesus Christ we will have greater happiness and peace in our lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can help us solve our complex problems in our lives if we humble ourselves!
Incredible architecture...very similar to some of the things I saw in Budapest. 

I think I might have already mentioned that Romania received a patriarch, Elder Orton. He recently finished his first trip and round of blessings here, and last Saturday he gave a little fireside. He told the members that there will be an "explosion" of membership in the church here in Romania... but it depends on our efforts! Our mission focus right now is to "foster unity between the members and the full-time missionaries." This is our topic of the zone conferences as well. We as a companionship, and all over the mission, are really improving the way we include members in the work. Sometimes I have looked at the members and have thought that they are not going to be a help for the people who we will teach. This is the wrong mindset! Each member of this church must be involved in this great work, and sometimes they might need to just be shown how! I was so excited to hear how mom was able to help those two girls on their journey to baptism. I hope that we can all think about what we can do to do our part in gathering Israel, and work closely with the missionaries!
Pizza... at least that is what her friend's call her! She randomly came up to us as we were villa knocking and was curious what we were doing.

President Doru is our branch president in Panduri. He is the man! His energy and enthusiasm for missionary work is so contagious. Yesterday we had a family history work contacting activity in Cismigiu Park with all of the members... it was so cool! We had a street board, Book of Mormons, Family History flyers, and lots of people. Pres. Doru asked if all missionaries could find a member to be "companions" with during the activity. I saw Sora Geta, a very nice older lady from the branch, that was passing out flyers and having little success. I suggested to do it together, and by the end of the night, we met a nice mother and her daughter that were very interested in the gospel. Because of that instant connection that Sora Geta had (being Romanian and a former orthodox), they were able to become friends and now the sisters and Sora Geta will meet with this mom to teach her the gospel. I think that is so dang cool! I know that Patriarch Orton's blessing will come true as the missionaries and members work together in unity to establish Zion in a country that President Nelson has said is, "rich with the blood of Israel."

I am having a blast in Romania. I appreciate all of the encouragement... I am working till the end!!!

With love,

Elder Ditto

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Hungarian Romanian Mission

Hey all!!!!
   
Well I unfortunately used my time differently this week for email... but I hope you enjoy the picks from our great adventure in Hungary. It was more than just a vacation I promise! 
Best Buds

Nearing dusk

First Hungarian dish
Love this city!

Castle Hill
Amazed by the architecture

Parliament... ginormous and beautiful

Pretty cool

Statue on Gilbert's Hill
Chain Bridge

Just loving the water
Tuk Tuk

WHAT??!!!

We never had a free minute (except for pday). Some of the many things that we did included: training the office elders for doing all Romanian duties possible, meeting with the Assistants in Hungary and bouncing off ideas, and comparing how our missions do things, counseling with the Hettingers and the Hungarian Assistants, participating in the Hungary Mission Leadership Counsel, welcoming in the new trainee, Elder Seegmiller from the aeroport (he is an incredible missionary and we had a lot of fun contacting in Budapest together), eating good food, and just in general getting a feel for how we can better unite these two countries into one mission. Such a unique experience that I think will really bless these two nations.
The church's office building

Elder Allred is a great office elder.

The Gang

Sister Schow
Enjoying the ride.

 
Welcoming Elder Seegmiller!

Just want to share a really quick experience- during Missionary Leadership Council, the very first mission president of the Hungary and Romania mission came in and shared his testimony to us. As he spoke, the spirit filled the room as he testified that although these two nations have differences politically and culturally, to let God deal with that and let us focus on the similarities, and help these people come closer to God! 
Counselling with one another

Super fun to spend the week with these guys, working sharing information, and even got a little fun in on Pday!
This train station one ups ours in Bucharest

Keleti Train Station

Picking up Elder Ward... he's the new trainer!
A nice tram making its way through the city.
Blue Fanta - YES!



Cool saint dude

Elder Ditto 

Budapest 
King Welling

Enjoying the view.

Crazy to think that just a couple of months ago this change was announced, and now all of this has happened! I know that this change is a sign of the Lord's work hastening in these latter days. The church is true!
Happy Day!

Bogdan and us

So much more to say, I hope to tell you all more next week.  
In Hungary with a Hungarian Book of Mormon!
Sweet cheese covered in chocolate... not too shabby

Love you all, enjoy the summer!

Elder Ditto

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bucharest to Budapest

Hey fam bam!

Today is July 2nd, which means our mission has merged with the Hungary Budapest mission! This is pretty dang crazy, as the sweet little country of Moldova has been annexed, and is now apart of the Kyiv Ukraine mission. Elder Welling and I have been preparing all week for this moment, because we will no longer have the office in Bucharest, which will make things difficult. 

Tuesday was the big day when Elder Trottier and Elder Jacobson went home, which meant that Elder Welling and I would be in charge of all the transfer stuff, as well as the final ceremony at the place of dedication for the preaching of the gospel in Romania... the hill in Cismigiu Park. This has been a tradition for some time, all of the missionaries, the new ones and the ones going home have a little meeting at the top of the hill. I have many fond memories at dealul cimigiu- getting into the country, meeting Elder Krieger for the first time, welcoming the Hettinger family, and now this! 

Missionary Leadership council was Wednesday. We had prepared and studied really hard in order to make the discussion with the other leaders of the mission be effective and revelatory... indeed it was! 
Closing up the office

The rest of the week was spent doing a lot of behind the scene work to ensure all is in place. We closed an apartment, prepped documents for a car to be registered in Hungary, coordinated travel, and a bunch of other things that are almost too complicated for me to explain, because I barely understand! Its been a super fun adventure, I have learned a whole heap about life, how to act in professional settings, patience, learning to be slow to anger, and most importantly how the Savior and his atonement fits into our daily lives.

I wanted to share a really cool story about my friend George, who just left on his mission to England.

George has always amazed me when it comes to his stalwart faith and understanding of sacrifice. On Tuesday (the day of transfers), I got a call from another friend who had spoke with George and heard that he would be taking public transport all the way from his house (20 km outside of Buc), to the Hettingers house (north buc), to get set apart as a missionary and from there would travel to the hotel with the other missionaries (that is another miracle story), and then leave the next day. My friend asked if we would pick up George from the outskirts of town. George had not said anything, and we all knew that he was too humble to ask for that kind of help, so he was going to do it on his own. 
George was baptized about 18 months ago.

With permission from President Hettinger, after the cismigiu ceremony we booked it to Patelimon and awaited George. The sight was really incredible. In the rain, he and his sweet nonmember mother were walking towards us with George's belongings for the next two years. 
My hero, George

When they were about to part ways, I could see the uncertainty of his mother, yet willingness to trust her boy that it was all going to be ok. I saw in George a flame of determination and excitement to serve the Lord. After a big hug, we got in the van and took off. Later that night, Elder Welling and I had the privilege to stand in with President to set George apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was a powerful moment.

George is going (and already is) an incredible missionary. I have been blessed to know him and grow with him over the past year. Oh the places you'll go! I am off to Hungary, I love you all and can't wait to tell you all about it!



Love,
Elder Ditto

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Beginning and the End

Hey everyone!

Today marks the beginning and end of an era. Transfer day is tomorrow and two of my best friends in the mission go home. I am sad to see them leave, but Elder Trottier will live practically right around the corner from me at college, and Elder Jacobson and I are life-long friends. I have learned a ton from both of them and have had so much fun working together in the office. It has been a team effort preparing for this mission change, and each one of us brought unique talents and abilities to the table. As a missionary you are always with your "colleague" (as we say here), and it is definitely one of the most unique things about serving a full-time mission. You learn so much about each other, and whether you like it or not, you need to work together! This makes for some funny stories and teaches you how to communicate effectively and incorporate two different styles and personalities. I feel privileged to have had so many different companions that have all been awesome and have helped me grow in so many ways. 
The new comp... Elder Welling (he is from Finland)

On that note, Elder Welling is my new companion! We have known each other for practically our whole missions, and have been eager to serve together. Elder Welling and I will be serving as President's Assistants (AP's) in Romania. We will have a lot of great opportunities serve the mission including zone conferences, missionary trainings, exchanges, as well as some other administrative work. There will no longer be a companionship of office elders in Romania, so it will be my responsibility to ensure things run smoothly, as well as to unfold all information to Elder Welling about these things that I have been learning for the past four and a half months... it's a lot, but it's gonna be great!
Last pday sports in Bucuresti with this many elders 😢

The Mihai Bravu District. These are some pretty incredible missionaries!

I am just super pumped for this last transfer in Romania. I think all of the things that I have learned and experienced since day one have helped prepare me for this final chance to be a leader and to do my very best. 

This has been and is still my motto...

D&C 107 99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
100 He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.
Billiards on a nice preparation day afternoon.

Dani and I... this kid is impressive!

Here it goes!!!! 

Love you all!!

Elder Ditto