Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

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

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Refiner's Fire

Howdy y'all!

Another week in the books!! Time is flying by and I can't believe I've been gone from you guys for 3 full weeks! Only 3 more to go till I get on one of those big 'ol 747's and fly to the best country ever. Throughout the past 3 weeks, I have developed an even deeper love of the people of Romania. I know that the Lord has called me to bring certain people to the fold there. He knows who they are and as I work diligently and stay worthy, he will help me find those precious souls. I have already seen so many evidences of The Lord's hand in my short time of being a missionary, as well as how he has been blessing our family. 

I would like to start with a "miracle of the week." In a devotional on Tuesday night, the wife of President Clayton (Senior President of the 70's) promised us that one of the ways that I can get the most out of my mission is to "Note the miracles." Miracles happen everyday, and we just need to sit back and recognize them!! 
Elder Krogue and me

So.... there were a lot of little miracles this week. A small one was when I ran into former Elder Krogue! I know it wasn't by chance that we crossed paths. I remember really looking up to him when he served in our ward, and it was great seeing a familiar face at the MTC. There aren't too many of those here for me, so each person I know here gives me a little taste of home! 

Probably the best one this week, though, was the miracle of my companions and I not getting sick. The cold bug is still going around here, and there are a lot of anziani getting it in our zone. We have all been diligent in staying sanitary, and I have been using the essential oils twice a day. On Tuesday, Varstnic Loder woke up feeling pretty crappy. We were debating whether or not to stay and sleep longer to try and help him feel better. We decided it would be better for us to go about our regular schedule, and it was hard for Varstnic Loder, as he still felt pretty bad. I had been praying with a lot of faith that He would heal him so that we could continue our normal studies here at the MTC. I have learned that EVERY day hear is vital for my preparation for the field.

Doctrine Covenants 88:84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;

I liken this to the MTC by adding "Tarry ye in the MTC, and labor diligently..." So I need to use every moment I have to better my ministry as an ambassador of the Lord. So.... I really don't want to get sick as that would hinder my ability to study with all my might. I have complete faith that Dad's prayer that I will be healthy in the MTC will continue to come to pass, as long as I am doing all that I can to become a better missionary.

Back to the day- Varstnic Loder... I had been praying for him all day, and also for Varstnic Baker's and I's health. We all were feeling a little under the weather by bed time, but we got to bed promptly and slept like babies. Fast forward 8 hours and we all woke up feeling refreshed and healthy. Truly the Lord answered my prayers, and is blessing us for our obedience and diligence. I recognize that Heavenly Father will not always bless us like this, but for us this is what we needed and I am thankful for his great watch care over us. I have had many other wonderful experiences with prayer throughout the past couple of weeks, and my relationship with the Savior and my Heavenly Father has greatly increased. I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and wants so badly to bless us, but we need to do our part in being obedient to Christ's commandments!! 

This week has had it's fair share of trials for me too! At times I have been struggling to remember that the mission isn't about me. It is much easier said than done! I have caught myself judging my companions at times, and realized that this really hinders our companion ship unity, and if we don't have unity, than the spirit can't dwell with us constantly. I have learned that I am naturally inclined to do things my way, but I need to let go of "my way" sometimes, and respect other's ways of teaching and living. When I have been selfish, I have noticed that I am less receptive and keep to myself. THIS IS NOT GOOD!!!  A couple of days I caught myself doing this and prayed to Heavenly Father that he would give me a greater love and appreciation for my companions. He helped me, but not until I created a  plan of action! I decided that I would listen with more intent to what my companions, and that I would compliment what they did good in our lessons. Immediately after I started doing this, the mood of our companionship changed. I felt a greater love and value towards my companions and we could better listen to what the spirit would have us say. I have learned that everyone has quirks and everyone lives life a little differently, but the sooner you can learn to respect their differences and short comings, the better off both people will be! (mom you might want to record this in a special place so that you can bring it up when I complain in the future haha).
Three Musketeers

This week I also learned the importance of goal setting. When we WRITE our goals down, we have an exact road map of where we want to go, and how we can accomplish them. This has been a great blessing to me, and I think this is a skill that I will use throughout my life. I encourage all of you to take some time and create some family and personal goals for the week during FHE. When we make and keep our goals, we will progress faster and be able to recognize how we can become more like Christ. 

I have a testimony of the importance of exact obedience. I KNOW that when we show the Lord that we can obey his commandments (and for me the missionary rules with exactness) He will bless us more than we can imagine, and He can entrust us with his power. There is a reason that this gospel is centered around obeying Christ's teachings. When we do this we are ENDURING to the END! "When obedience becomes our quest, we are endowed with power"!  Being on a mission, if nothing else, is about showing that Heavenly Father can TRUST me, and can use me to serve others in other callings throughout my life.

We watched Ephraim's Rescue Sunday night, and man I forgot how awesome and powerful that movie is! You guys should watch it Sunday night. I cried three times and once was because I was reminiscing when we first watched it as a family. Alysee, I thought about you when Albert was talking! haha. Learning about our ancestors is so important. Our testimonies of God's love for us can greatly increase  as we learn about them. I hope that I can have the faith that Ephraim had as he used his Priesthood power to bless those around him, and even preform many miracles! The opportunity to exercise the power of God itself is a miracle. I am so thankful to be entrusted with that sacred responsibility and blessing. 

We taught about 8 investigator lessons this week. Many of them were really awesome, but we have been struggling about how to meet the needs of one of our investigators, Căti. We have taught her 6 times now, and she is still interested, but I felt like we have been missing something. We talking with our teacher last night and came to the realization that we were not teaching her complete lessons, rather parts of the restoration, and part of the plan of salvation. Essentially, we were giving her pieces of the puzzle, but we need to give her the whole puzzle! We feel like she needs to have a better understanding of the restoration and what the significance is of having Christ´s church back on the earth, and why it is so important to have prophets who give us modern day revelation from God. I am excited to help her, and feel confident that the Lord is guiding us and showing us how to better teach his children.
The field is ripe and all ready to harvest
With this experience has also given me an understanding of the importance of patience. I think this is one of my biggest weaknesses- it always has been a challenge for me. There is a reason why one of the main virtues is patience! Christ was patient with those who he taught, and so should I with my investigators, my companions, and myself. Wow I think I am now going to study about how Christ was patient during his ministry for my next personal study!!! Ah I just love how much the spirit is teaching me here at the MTC. I just get giddy learning about how to make myself a better tool in the Lord's hands. That is truly all I want in this life- to be the kind of person that the Lord can always trust with assignments- whatever they may be- I pray that I might be ready to accept, and not a week or a day after, but the moment He calls me to do something. I am so thankful for this opportunity to be refined through being one of the Lord's missionaries! 

So as far as the language, I am steadily cruising along! I learn so much everyday, and am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach so much throughout the day in Romanian. I testify that there is no way that I can learn Romanian this fast, save it be by the grace of God and the gift of tongues!!! I have also felt nervous while speaking, and I talked to my teacher about this one day. I explained to her that sometimes I felt like it distracted me from feeling the spirit. She told me to read:

Doctrine and Covenants 84:85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

Personal Study Time
Ok, now for some funny/interesting happenings...

Each Tuesday morning we have the opportunity to do some service! Our assignment is to clean one of the residence halls. This week we had the wonderful opportunity to... you guessed it- clean 64 toilets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha it was a scaring experience, considering that there are like hundreds of young men using them each day. Ya. I'll just leave it at that. It makes me appreciate my Saturday job of cleaning one toilet! Siblings- remember to keep the bathrooms clean!!!

Thanks to loving family members, we have received many wonderful packages full of "nutritious" foods... Just kidding not nutritious but definitely delicious!! So we had like 3 'fiestas' this week full of chips and salsa, hi-chews, cookies, the works!! One of the times we had a fiesta, our whole entire zone came barging into our room yelling "FIESTAAAA" haha it was pretty funny and crazy considering there were like 30 people in our room again. The anzioni just really love us haha. 

Also, I just wanted to say how much I love and miss Washington... I truly love it there and enjoy every moment being in the great northwest!! Washington will always be my home. Please go on some beautiful hikes for me so you guys can enjoy the majesty of God's creations!! Doing the Little Naches Peak Loop in October would be incredible. Maybe you guys will have a free day an can go do that!?

One more story- the food here is- well let's just say I miss mom's cooking. So one day this week we were pretty hungry but weren't really feeling MTC food. Luckily, a restaurant called "Aloha Plate" was catering. WE HAD ALOHA SHOYU CHICKEN AND REAL RICE AND EVEN GOOD MACARONI SALAD!!!!!!!! It was HEAVEN. Not as good as mom's Aloha Shoyu chicken but it was definitely good enough to remind me of what hers tastes like. I had 3 servings it was that good. Needless to say we took advantage of the good food and our tummies were full and happy!
Aloha Shoyu - BEST soy sauce!

Thank you all for your love and support in this adventure. I love you guys so much, and I extend my love to all friends and family!!! I pray for you guys everyday. 

Till next week, Keep winning the World Series of Family Awesomeness!!!!

Love, Varstnic Ditto
MTC Intersection

Beautiful Provo Canyon

Dying to make this into a t-shirt logo

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow Alex - what wonderful letters you write. We are proud of you and pray regularly for your blessing in the MTC. Before long, you'll have to leave "the garden of Eden" and go out into Romania. You'll be as prepared as one can be. May the Lord bless, comfort, and strengthen you. We love you with all our hearts ~ Ami and Poppy