Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

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

Email -

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Hey Mom and Dad!!!

Well, I'm safely here in the MTC! I already had a little exposure to Romanian, and even though I feel like I'm back in Spanish 101 as I can pick up bits and pieces of the words, but most of the time I had like no. clue! Our teacher seems really awesome and he mainly only speaks Romanian but that is the best way to learn!!

Leah and Geoff took me to J-Dawgs before I arrived, and then they dropped me off and I had my own little cheaffeur who took my bags for me! Immediately I got the shivers. The spirit is so dang strong here and I am so excited to get started with the mish!!! Everyone is so friendly and I have already heard "Welcome to the MTC" like a thousand times hahahaha. So I decided to start saying it to the newbies too haha.

I am in a three-some- Varstincul (pronounced voorsteenkool) Baker and Loder! They seem really awesome and I'm excited to get to know them! 

I was really glad that we said goodbye before I got to the MTC- it would have been way harder saying goodbye here. 

I love you guys so much, tell all the kids hi for me and that they are awesome!!!

Talk to you guys soon!!!!

Varstincul Ditto

Cousin Kate, Aunt Leah and Uncle Geoff

Farewell picture in front of Provo Temple

108 lbs of Goodness!!!

I had my own personal chauffeur that helped me with my luggage and took me right into the MTC for my first stage of my mission.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

1.5 Days Pre-MTC

Note from mom:  It was hard seeing Alex off at the Yakima airport but knowing he was going straight into the arms of family made everything so much better.  
Uncle Matt picked me up from the SLC airport

Saw Lizzie and Sofia off to school in the morning

Then off to the SLC Temple to participate in an Live Endowment Session; so special to go with Great-Grandma Virginia, Uncle Matt, and Aunt Jessica

Beautiful Salt Lake City Temple

That night Andrew and Jenna picke me up and I got to have dinner at their new home and spend some time together.

Juje and Jenna took me back to the Wright's home and Geoff and I had great chats about mission work and Romania.
Aunt Leah made my favorite breakfast E.V.E.R. - Blueberry Scones!!!

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Yield:8 scones

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lemon, zest finely grated


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
You can make the lemon glaze in a double boiler, or for a simpler alternative, you can zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners' until dissolved in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water for the double-boiler method, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Either nuke the glaze for 30 seconds or continue whisking in the double boiler. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Riding to school with the Wright kids
Morning run in the foothills in Mapleton, UT - can't wait to come back to BYU after my mission!!

Last lunch - J Dogs with Uncle Geoff, Aunt Leah, and Kate

Off to the MTC!!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2016


We packed the day with an early morning father/son tennis match, scooter date with Tyler, finishing last minute packing, lunch at Kyotos, and then off to the airport.

Mom's post on facebook the day I left...

"To raise a child, who's is comfortable enough to leave you, means you've done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own." Just returned from taking Alex to the airport to open his wings and boy, did he soar!!! The morning was wonderful with one last Father/Son tennis match, drinking POG and eating mangos for breakfast, shoving in the last bit of luggage, building a model car with the boys, lunch at Kyotos, and then off to the airport. We promised to not cry...too much (we've had a lot of tears shed the past few weeks). We all stayed until the last speck of the airplane soared over our heads. I'm so proud of this boy!!! I've thought a bundle of times this past month how true the saying "It take a village to raise a child." I'm so thankful to scout leaders, neighbors, home teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, church leaders, sport coaches, etc... that have helped raise Alex. My heart nearly burst two Sundays ago when I looked around at church to see the pews full of friends and family there to cheer on Alex and our family. We are blessed!!! Crossing my fingers that I taught him enough to keep soaring (and wishing I had maybe invited him into the kitchen a bit more to learn how to cook). Romania/Moldova -- I give my son to you -- may you love him as much as I do!!! Keep flying Alex!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Getting Set Apart

Sunday night my dad was able to set me apart to be a missionary.  Due to President Hendricks being out-of-town my dad (whom is the Second Counselor in the Stake Presidency) was able to give me this blessing.   The spirit was really strong in our living room.  It was a wonderful blessing where my dad blessed me with safely, the gift of tongues, and many other wonderful promises.  After I gave everyone in the family a big hug.  It was a really emotional time!

Chloe Hug

Nate Hug

Coop Hug

Alysee Hug

Tyler Hug
The past few days I have been able to take each one of my siblings on a date.  I loved being able to spend a little bit of one-on-one time with each one of them before leaving for two years.  Chloe and I went to Walmart and did a little shopping together.  Nate and I rode scootered to Burger King for lunch.  Cooper and I went to the skate park and rode scooters after getting a treat at Starbucks.  Alysee and I went to Shopko and she tried on clothes and then we got a treat at Starbucks.  Tyler and I rode scooters to the school together.  I would have loved to have spent more time with each sibling but I only had a little bit of time between working and then going on our Harvey Family Reunion at Bear Paw Camp.  I am sure going to miss everyone!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leading Up To The BIG day...

 Being ordained an Elder - July 31, 2016

Some of the men that have made a huge influence in my life - Mike Stapleton, Ryan Andersen, my Dad, and Scott Holt

Most of my family - Chloe was in Spokane at her cousin's houses
Going through the Columbia River Temple for the first time...August 5, 2016
August 5, 2016

The temple was filled with loved ones.

Uncle Kelly and Aunt Annie

Just me and my dad
I couldn't stop smiling.

Uncle Ryan and Aunt Emily

Mom and Dad
 Evening Baptism of Chloe...
Then that evening I had the privilege of baptizing my little sister, Chloe.

We've always had a special bond.

Many of who came to celebrate with us all weekend!

Uncle Luke came to visit for two weeks prior to be leaving to the MTC - we had a great time together!
 Farewell Weekend...August 20-21, 2016
LOTS and lots of family and friends came!  Saturday we spent just hanging out, playing games, and eating.  It was relaxing and special to spend so much time with everyone.

Aunt Tavia and Uncle Vaughn came from Idaho with their kids.

Game night with Grannie.

 My Farewell Talk... (the Young Women in my ward sang a beautiful song called "Savior Redeemer Missionary Medley - before I gave my talk)

I am humbled to speak today as a servant of the Lord, about to serve Him with all of my heart, mind, and strength for two years in the beautiful country of Romania, apparently pronounced Romania in romanian!
A few facts about the call to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: A mission is totally voluntary, but for young men of the church, is a commandment from God. We read in in Matthew 28:19 that Jesus commanded his disciples to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, and so is the call extended to all worthy and able young men of these latter days.
We believe that each missionary called in this church is by revelation from God through his apostles. What wonderful and comforting fact this is- that God has called me to this mission because this is where he can use me the best, and where I can grow the most. I look forward to seeing evidence of this throughout my mission.
In Romania, there are 3,043 members of the church in a country with 20 million people- that means 1/10000 of the population is Mormon! There is much work to do in this nation, and I feel so humbled to be in the forefront.
Story of not wearing crampons (define) walking across the side of an icy steep hillside and unable to walk across successfully, had to use ice axe to inch my way across (my boots were slipping). Thinking how miserable and scary it was
“Humbled” ourselves and put on our crampons. Because they were old, they took a while to get them fitted on my boots just right. After beginning the next traverse, I immediately felt the aid of the crampons, and climbing the mountain
Had we not humbled ourselves and put on our crampons, climbing up the mountain on our strength would have been dangerous and near impossible for us.
The Lord taught us in the BOM how to recognize our weaknesses and make them into strengths.
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
The same principle is taught by Paul teaches who us that it is only through God’s grace that we can be made perfect like Christ!
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
My experience hiking brought this principle to light, manifesting to me the importance of not relying on my own strength to cover my weaknesses, but to humble myself and use the proper equipment to get up the mountain, or in spiritual terms, using the grace and power of God to help me overcome my weaknesses, and become a better disciple of Christ.
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing… I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Why is it so important to make our weaknesses become strengths?
Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
… To become perfected! That is the beauty of Christ’s atonement -it is not just to cleanse and console, but also to transform- and that takes patience, humility, and endurance- Just like we are taught by Paul and Moroni.
As we neared the summit of the South Sister, the mountain face got very steep, and each step required faith that those metal spikes of the crampon would give me enough traction to hike up the final stretch.
Like each metal spike in the crampon which give us traction to the icy sides of a mountain, there are several actions that we can take that will allow us to improve ourselves in following Christ’s plan for us, ensuring continual progress in becoming like our older brother.
  1. Following the prophet’s (something I love about this church is that we believe in a modern day prophet who receives revelation from God)
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
When we follow the prophet’s council, we are following Christ, for through the prophet “God revealeth his secrets”, or speaks to YOU AND ME. I know that when we follow the prophet we cannot go astray. Although it is easier said than done, it takes humility to follow the teachings of the prophet. When we do though, we are submitting ourselves to what the Lord wants for us!

  1. Submitting ourselves to the Lord’s timing. When we do this, we are showing God that we love him and trust him enough to let Him bless us in his timing. (Just like Moroni and Paul learned) Sometimes the blessings or strengthening of a weakness may take longer than we would like, but always remember that the Lord knows best!
  2. Another spike is repentance. When we repent we are humbling ourselves from our tendencies of the natural man and showing our desire for bettering ourselves and becoming like Jesus Christ.
Talk about dating experience (relates to all three spikes)
Although many other spikes, the final one I would like to speak about is constant nourishment from the Words of Christ.
2 Nephi 32:3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
I love the last part of this scripture. The words of Christ will tell you all things we should do! As we continually study and ponder all words of Christ, our testimonies will burn strong and we will be humble enough to do God’s will.
Share experience of developing a habit of constant nourishment from the scriptures.
So many more
These 4 metal spikes- Following the prophet, trusting in His timing, repenting, and feasting on the words of Christ- have been essential for preparing to serve a mission. It is amazing to see the blessings that have come from humbling myself to the Lord’s will, and I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do with me as I continue to strive to do better at these things.  

Evening Open House...
That night we had a Farewell Open House with around hundred friends coming to wish me well.  Alysee and Chloe served "Yakima Nachos" all night long - sliced apples drizzled with caramel, crushed peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream.  Everyone made me feel so loved!  I couldn't stop smiling!