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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Monday, February 20, 2017

Hitchhiking, Bucuresti, and Smiling all the Way!

Happy almost spring!!

It rained in Alexandria instead of snowed, which is a sure sign that spring is coming in Romania! Boy am I glad because I need some constant sunshine in my life. This week was a whirlwind. Like woah. I don't think I could've even dreamed up this week even if I tried! 
The pose lives on!

Just enjoying a rainy, cold Sunday evening!

So a little diddy about Alexandria, where I currently live. This is city has COMMUNISM written all over it! Literally this city was erected for the purpose of housing people to work in the nearby factories... which are now abandoned and creepy. The majority of the town are 8 story communist blocs, that wreak of mold and are literally cement blocks stacked on top of each other. They look gross on the inside and out. We also live in one of these bloc. We live on the 4th floor and I have to plug my nose as I go up the first two floors because it smells so bad. The stenches of Romania are unreal! We walk everywhere, and Elder Forsyth literally knows everyone since he has been here for 6 months. I kinda feel bad for him.
Sora Emanuela and the missionaries... a stellar woman

Comp pic...So grateful I am serving with Elder Forsyth

Abandoned factory in Alexandria

Heading on into Alexandria
Alexandria centru

Alexandria at Sunset

The lucky thing about me being here is that we are moving March 1st! Or so we hope. We are indeed opening the area of Otopeni (north of Bucuresti). It is a very nice little city and has so much potential for finding people who are truly ready to hear our message. I had the chance to spend two days there this week, and we walked the streets, getting ourselves familiar with everything, and looking for opportunities to get involved in the community. I really love it over there- it feels kind of home-y and the people are kind and have a future ahead of them. 
Soon to be our new home...
Look mom...I'm at IKEA!

That is the sad thing about serving in these other cities like Alexandria- a lot of people don't really want to change or don't even have a future. This sounds bad, but it is true. Which shows the need for my efforts in offering these people a new way of life. It is just really hard for Romanians to do this, especially when their culture and traditions of everyone is centered around the orthodox church. It makes me think about the Book of Mormon and how so many people were stuck in the "wicked traditions of their fathers." The only good thing I have gotten out of the orthodox church is their cool churches and this weird dessert called "coliva" that they make in memory of loved ones that have passed away (A lady randomly gave us some when I asked what was in her basket the other day). haha 
Romanian Orthodox Cathedral... unreal

Inside a Romanian Church. Pretty creepy but cool

Creepy crows above the church

Beautiful architecture

Anyways, I had a lot of great experiences this week that helped me reflect on my testimony of the Book of Mormon, how the Lord is using me as one of His disciples, and some adventures that probably shouldn't be shared but they are just too crazy to not to!
A farm house in Romania

Classic country-side gypsy means of transportation

So it was a beautiful, sunny day in Alexandria, and Elder Forsyth and I planned to go out to the country side a visit a member that we heard had just returned from Germany. How are we going to get to the country side, you might ask?? Well, we hitch hiked. As in, stand on the side of the road, and stick out your thumb in hopes that a decently-sane Romanian driver will have a heart and pick up two tall white boys who want to go into the heart of Romanian culture. So ya, we did that! Luckily, going out to this town, Laceni, wasn't too bad. A micro bus ended up stopping and took us all the way to the little village. We walked to the man's house, only to find that he had not returned yet. We ended up talking to some really humble people, and decided to take some photos of the area, which also stemmed to talking with a very, very Romanian man (see picture), and gave him a Book of Mormon. 
Classic Romanian Man

Then, we walked about a mile, a quarter of it in the snow, to a potential investigator's house. They live on a crazy-horribly smelling little farm, with a ton of chickens and their house consists of cement blocks and a stove to keep it kind of warm. We had a fantastic lesson with this lady about the Book of Mormon, and will return next week to talk to her family. After the lesson, we trekked all the way back to the highway road through the mud and snow, and then stuck out our cold little thumbs, praying that we would be able to get back to Alexandria.
Hitchhiking Part One

As we were waiting on the side of the road, I couldn't help but think about how crazy and cool it is, that here I am, in a place that 99.9999% of people in the world have never been, on the Lord's errand- sharing the glad message that everyone...EVERYONE needs in their lives. Then my mind turned to gratitude and awe as I was blessed to be raised in a family who's foundation is built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that I will be with them for eternity. The Lord has sent me to Romania to give these people an opportunity to find joy in their lives! He loves the people that I met in the little village of Laceni, in the south part of a country that most people think is in South America- just as much as he loves me and you. 

Truly being in that little village testified to me that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he has prepared a plan- a perfect plan- for every single person on the planet, and I am here to deliver it to a few. WOWOWOWOW. That is so humbling and amazing. 
Good thing it was still light outside...

Hitch hiking selfie! Notice the homeless man in the back

Well, after about 15 minutes, a nice old man stopped his Opel and told us to get in. We were with two other women, who we thought were related to him, but learned that they were just fellow hitch hikers. What a nice old man! I said a little prayer in my heart, thanking Heavenly Father that we were not with a crazy driver, and that we were going to make it home safe. A short while later, the old man stopped again, seeing that there was a homeless man just plugging along the side of the road. I was like, there is no room! But the old man had a plan! He opened up his trunk of the station wagon and told the homeless man with 3 teeth and a grocery bag with random stuff (classic homeless Romanian thing to have) to get in the back! So he did just that and our little band of 5 hitchhikers and a kind old man made our way into the little city of Alexandria. 

Funny story? Yes! Random? Yes!!! Tender Mercy? You know... I think it was! 

So that was the time that I hitchhiked on my mission. I won't be surprised if I had to do it again to be honest... yup! You just never know what the mish will throw at you.
Disgusting meat-filled intestines

Well I have other stories, but to keep it short, Elder Forsyth and I made our way around the insane city of Bucuresti by ourselves with public transportation (ew not going to describe the smell of some of the buses) a couple of times this week, which is actually pretty impressive, considering we don't know anything about that city. 
On the Micro Bus heading out to the countryside

Romanian Parliament Building in Bucuresti

I guess I am just a regular Romanian traveler now! It is such a blessing to be able to understand and speak to people kinda comfortably after 5 months of being here. The Lord is truly watching over me, and helping me find success.
Varstnicul Ditto. Of course, I had to take advantage of this mustard colored wall.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. I love each one of you and hope that everyone has a action packed week of awesomeness!!!

All my love,
Varstincul Ditto

Turf field in the middle of the city.

Cheesy Missionary Pic with the Book of Mormon


  1. I I love your observation that the Lord loves each person in each place is not she is she loves us. It does remind me how much responsibility we have to help those that haven't been blessed with the resources and houses and education and cars and everything we have. I love your observation that the Lord loves each person in each place is not she is she loves us. It does remind me how much responsibility we have to help those that haven't been blessed with the resources and houses and education and cars and everything we have. Thank you and Elder Forsyth for loving the Lord and the Lord's church enough to give up two years of your life to help people you didn't even know. Surprisingly, I'm sure that you're blessed as much as they are. I love you, and I'm praying for you and your amazing companion.
    Sister Greene

  2. Wonderful letter Alex! I love that you get the big picture, and appreciate how much you love serving the lord, growing your testimony, being courageous and faith-filled!!! It's always good to hear from you... I'm sorry I haven't always kept up on reading your letters. I sure miss them when I don't, but you're in my prayers daily! Love you
    Sister Green, I'm usually the one with all the typos... Your message was wonderful and more or less understood I'm sure!