Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

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

Email -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

a quick note from Alex

Hey mom!!! Well, I had a crazy week awesome week with a crazy ending... I am being transferred to Craiova where I will finish training a new missionary. I was not expecting the move at all! I have to attend training meetings and stuff this week, and I don't think I will be able to email tomorrow. I will try to email when I get to Craiova on Thursday.... 
a note from mom: I'm guessing Craiova is about seven hours from where Alex has been currently serving in Otopeni (near Bucharest).

I had a really wonderful week teaching the gospel. WE FOUND A FAMILY TO TEACH! We had a couple other wonderful experiences this week as well that I will write  about. I grew a lot this week. I am pretty nervous to train... I am not sure why the Lord needs me in Craiova now when I feel like I was doing so much good in Otopeni, but it is not about me. Super excited for the new adventures that await! My new companion's name is Elder Miller. 

I love you and tell the kids and Dad that they rock and I love them! Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts. I miss you guys but know that I am here on the Lord's errand. xoxo -Alex

Update:  hey mom!! Well I only had about 45 minutes so I decided to write the kids instead. My weekly next week is gonna be superrr good though!! Abia astept sa-ti povestesc!!! Te iubesc atat de mult!!! O saptamana placuta. Ma bucuri ca calculatora ta merge mai bine acum (translation: I can not wait to tell you !!! I love you so much!!! A nice week. Glad your computer runs better now.)

a note from mom:  I was missing my long email from Alex this week but was delighted when I looked on his mission facebook page and found this picture that someone had posted.  What a treat!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Applying the Truth!

Hello everyone! 

My another week just flew by and we are nearing the end of this transfer. So crazy! Living in Alexandria seemed like forever ago, yet it feels like we are just starting the work here in Otopeni! 

I thought I'd just share a couple of highlights from this week to start...
Life is Good!

I played ''fotbal'' for the first time on my mission with our awesome neighbor, Tita. I learned two things: Being on a mission doesn't give you super athletic powers like I thought it would and I am a littllleee out of shape. DANG IT. I am starting a healthy diet and new workout routine because I am freaked out haha!
Love my comps

Soccer with the neighbors

We played "ninja" in the metro station... the beauties of being in a trio!

Witnessed a man playing a saw as an instrument... that's right! 

Met a man named Alexandru who is a carpenter and blacksmith. You never know what kind of people you will meet when you are on the Lord's errand. 
Meet Alexandru. He is a rad blacksmith-carpenter who has a house full of random stuff

In the fortress of stuff

Comp pic with Alexandru

An extrenal view of Alexandru's home

Alexandru's forge

Working hands and a cool statue

Ringing this random bell thing that Alexandru made

Also, I saw a child pooping on a street of Bucharest... that was really sad and depressing. Romania is a beautiful country with amazing history and people but it is so sad to see the oppression and poverty that so many people- young and old- still experience.

And now for some more spiritual highlights...

I finished the Book of Mormon this week! The reality of the truthfulness of this book has really come to life over the course of the last few months. I have come to realize that this book is the Word of God- guidance for us in these latter days- as I have applied the teachings that I have learned into my own life! I have not had a super miraculous experience from God that this book is true, but I can truly say that it has changed my life, and that the truths found in that book truly are from God. 

I quote Joseph Smith when he says that, "the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”" 

I, too, can say with all my heard that I have grown closer to God as I have abided by the book's precepts! I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have to share this book with others, that they too might come closer to God.
The main part of Otopeni

Can you spot Elder Ditto?

Which leads me to my second experience. Paul, a member in Otopeni, invited us to this workshop that he was putting on. We had gone to a similar one a couple weeks ago and just assumed that it was at the same location. We got to the location and not a single person was there! We gave Paul a call and learned that the workshop was actually at his office in Otopeni. Due to the immensity of Bucharest, it was going to take us at least an hour by public transportation to get back to Otopeni. We had a part in a demonstration so we had to get there quickly. We ran to find a taxi but none were willing to take us to where we wanted to go! 
Spring is here!

Finally, a nice man in a run-down taxi agreed to take us to Otopeni. I sat in the front seat and casually started a conversation with him. The conversation took a natural turn to our purpose here as missionaries. He was just stunned and impressed that we would spend two years of our lives serving others. We explained to him why we wanted to do this, which led to sharing with him the Book of Mormon- another testament that Jesus is the Christ, and that God loves all of his children. There was a moment of quiet at some part of the conversation and the man, Costel, told me, "Ah, abia astept sa citesc cartea!" (Ah, I can hardly wait to read the book!) That really impacted me- am I as eager as him to read the Book of Mormon?

How has the Book of Mormon impacted your life? Why is reading this book so stressed in our religion? As I thought about this, I reflected to when I finished reading the Book of Mormon the other day. In the book we learn that God has a plan for each one of his children and that joy is found through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to read all of this, but when you truly apply it, that is when the truth is manifested. And that is what I did- and am doing! 
Cismigiu Park... I was here 5 months ago!

So back to Costel, he told us that he really wanted to go to our church and so we gave him the address of the church. In no time, we arrived to our destination, exchanged numbers, and parted ways. We talked to him once more that week and he told us that he was still planning on coming to church.

Flash forward to today, and we received a call from Costel! He told us that he went to church and loved it. He wants to go again next week but also wants to meet up with us to learn more. WOW! What an incredible guy. This man is a truth seeker and we are going to give him more truth! It is incredible to see how the Lord worked all of this out. I know that God places people in our lives that are ready to not just hear the truth but apply it to their lives!

It is funny how hearing that Costel went to church made my whole entire week, but to be honest, how could it not? Seeing people make steps towards Christ is truly the happiest thing in the world. I love being a missionary!
Elders Ditto, Baker, Forsyth take over Bucharest

An angry librarian just told me to leave, so I better leave!

Love all of you and am praying for you!

Keep on being awesome!

Elder Ditto
Majestic Elder Baker

Is this helmet too big for me?

Elder _Four-scythe_
Borrowed our friend's scooter for this pic
Bucharest's version of "The walk of fame"

Monday, March 13, 2017

Success and More Love

Buna zuia si prima vara fericita! 

This week was another crazy one, but also filled with a lot of success... wait- SUCCESS!? Come to think of it, we actually had a lot of success in the classical missionary way- the way where you meet people who are actually interested in the message that God still talks to his children today and so you teach them the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ya, that was kind of a new one for me!
A nice European picture

So I have two of these kinds of stories for you guys today. The first one takes place on a rainy day, on the 2nd floor of a block where a group of positive thinkers where discussing how religion has shaped society. This group was open for anyone and provided the opportunity to make new friends and be refreshed with new ideas. This meeting was run by a nonprofit called CARP, and basically is to help young people maintain positive values in their lives. The topic of the week just so happened to be religion! We all got in different groups and read an article and then discussed it. Many wonderful ideas were brought up and I just loved hearing how people include God in their lives and seeing that there are still people who VALUE morals in this moral-degrading society. I, of course, got to say a couple things and what I really felt impressed to talk about was just the reality that we DO have a Heavenly Father and he LOVES us and he does NOTHING, save it be for our benefit. I got to testify about this to 30 people and the spirit was just so present. I realized two things that night.
Some cool skater dudes

1. People everywhere have morals. All religions have truths. Everyone wants to be happy- that is the pursuit of life! And with these three facts in mind, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just expounds upon all of these. This church is built solely upon truth and knowing essential truths opens the pathway to more happiness than can be comprehended. How badly I want to help people understand this!

2. The MOST important truth that anyone can know is the fact that God loves you. GOD LOVES DAD, MOM, TYLER, ALYSEE, NATHAN, COOP, CHLOE, and EVERYONE who is reading this letter. And EVERYONE in the whole world for that matter! Just imagine how much better this whole world would be if everyone understood their divine potential and heritage. We are all literally sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us. What do good fathers do for their children? They give them guidance and provide for them opportunities to grow! That is what our Heavenly Father has done for us!

Just think about this for a minute... This is what I am trying to help people understand- that God loves us so he has given us guidance to know how to be happy and return to live with him. I will come back to this statement...
Casa Poporului

Super old and fancy restaurant

So after the meeting, a guy in my group came up to me and we started talking. He is a super rad dude who produces electronic music. After a while, he finally popped the question- what does my church believe? Why am I here in Romania? So I shared what I believe and I shared with him something that has really helped me feel God's love in my life... The Book of Mormon! 
Keepin it real in Otopeni

I read him a verse and he felt the truth. He told me, "I know this is true!" I testified to him that I do too and that this book can truly help him find greater purpose and happiness in his life. I testified that God still speaks to us today and that he loves us. As I was testifying a great feeling of love for him and for God just filled my soul. THIS IS WHY I AM HERE. I am helping others realize how awesome they are and how awesome God knows they are! It was all about Cosmin right then. It was a real amazing realization that God loves all of us individually and wants everyone to have the opportunity to accept his guidance.

I am so excited to meet up with Cosmin again and continue to help him come closer to his Father in Heaven! 
Met some cool scooter dudes

Of course I had to do this... Kaufland is having a sponge bob sweepstakes

Dang I don't have too much time left, but real quick, I met my Romanian adopted mom. Her name is Ramona and we met her on the bus ride home from Alexandria. She had such an amazing positive spirit about her and we met up with her again the other day. We went on a walk and then had a nice little tea in a really old restaurant. We talked about a lot of stuff, like how we can live moral lives, why you should buy from nice brands instead of cheap ones, and most importantly that God loves us.
Ramona.. our adapted Romanian mother

And from that we shared with her how God has showed us his love in our day- through restoring his church through Joseph Smith. As Elder Baker shared Joseph Smith's wonderful and miraculous experience, it seemed as if everything was silent, and a great sense of peace was surrounding us. Ramona was listening intently and the spirit truly testified of the truthfulness of our message. So awesome!!! I love experiences like this. 

Due to the lack of time, I just want to finish with this scripture...

Ether 12:4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

The Trio

THIS IS MY GOAL. THIS IS WHO I WANT TO BE. I am going to get out there and help others realize that this is their potential too. 

I love this gospel. I love you guys!!

A kendama gang spotted

Elder Forsyth studying Romanian 
Fratele Radu... a great man

My brotha...Elder Baker

My brotha...Elder Forsyth

Monday, March 6, 2017

Time is going, and I am growing!

Wonderful family,

Hello again!!! Holy mackerel time is flying by. This week was my 6 month mark... WHAT THE HECK. That is so cray to me. I really don't know where the time went. This whole mission thing is going WAY too fast. I truly love Romania and everything it has to offer. This feels like home- the smells, eating salam and eggs every morning, wearing skinny pants, crazy traffic, talking to endless amounts of amazing people, being in a small branch, taking awesome pictures everyday, preaching the word of God, and making friends- the list just goes on! 
The world's heaviest building with my bros!

I guess you could say I am on a sort of "high" as far as being a missionary goes. I just love this way of life! I love not having to worry about school, work, social media, girls, etc. Life is simple!
Discussing the wonders of life

I have talked to a lot of my companions about how unique this opportunity is. Being a missionary is truly an experience that few people in the whole world get to have. To think that I was thrown into a country six months ago, knowing zero Romanian, never living on my own before, and completely homesick just sounds crazy. BUT I have had the Lord's help every step of the way, whether I realized it then or not. 

I have done a little reflecting about how I have changed as a person and I don't think I could be the man I am now without the experiences that I have had in the past six months. The mission is truly the Lord's workshop- and I am his project! 
Celebrated my 6 months in old buc with a gyro!

It is definitely hard to see progress in oneself and I think that is a good thing. I also think that is one benefits of keeping some sort of journal; so that you can witness how you were however long ago!

I feel more confident in who I am. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is stronger than it has ever been in my life. My testimony and knowledge of God's plan for us and the reality of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has deeply rooted. My ability to speak Romanian has sky rocketed! Attributes like patience, long-suffering, charity, and service have started to become apart of me. I have a love for reading and playing the guitar. I love photography. I have learned of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and can TRULY say that it is the Word of God. 
A nice clock in a nice city

A orthodox cathedral

Arcul de Triumf

Greek dude playing a Greek instrument

Ping pong with Paul

Intense matches of ping pong

Dang sorry I was tooting my own horn there, but I just wanted to illustrate how I feel like I have changed. None one of this happened over night, and I am still working on all of these things, of course! BUT through striving to do the little things and making God the center of my life and trusting in His will has made all the difference. When we keep the commandments of God and strive to live like Jesus Christ and learn all we can, AMAZING things happen! 

This is just such an incredible, true principle, that I will continue to use throughout my life and the next. Dang and I still have so much more time in Romania- I can't wait to grow even more!!!
So enough of that spiritual mushiness- THIS WEEK WAS INSANE. I think every week as a missionary is insane, but when you are starting a new area, and still go to church in your old area that takes about three hours to get there, and you also keep up the area that your third companion is still in charge of... ya the craziness adds up!

Which reminds me that I forgot to mention that Elder Baker- my MTC companion- joined Elder Forsyth and I for the rest of the transfer!!! His companion had to be flown to the US to get some eye treatment stuff done, so things got a little crazy! It has been a lot of fun to be with these two awesome dudes and we are learning how to work most effectively as a trio. 
A CHURCH BUILDING IN ROMANIA... So crazy to go in it for church

I also need to tell you guys about the first time villa knocking in Otopeni... Elder Forsyth and I had a little extra time before we needed to be home, so we decided to try and get to know our neighbors. We spent one hour in the nicest neighborhood I will probably ever be on my mission and THREE PEOPLE wanted us to come back. That is CRAZY. I have never had that happen in the six months I have been in this country. The people in this area are so much more open and willing to learn. I have very high hopes for the northern Bucuresti area and am so happy to be apart of the beginning. Each zone in Romania has different kinds of people. The people of Arad are WAY different compared to the people here. I don't really know how to explain it but people in Bucuresti are a little bit more like the western society and have a more positive outlook. And that is perfect because I am here to help enhance that! 
A new friend named Alex. Alex from Arad in fact!

Dragomirescu- A photographer

Man, we met so many cool people this week. In about an hour and half we are gonna meet this rad Nigerian dude so that will be sick. I also met some really cool photographers and a lady that I think is going to accept the gospel soon. We met her on the bus ride home from Alexandria and talked about the Plan of Salvation, about life in general, happiness, etc. She loved being around us so much that we walked with her for another 1.5 hours, enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon and continued to have an amazing conversation with her. She told us that there is something different about us that she just loves. How awesome to know that that "difference" is simply the knowledge that God is our Heavenly Father and that he has a perfect plan for us! It is so simple, and so magnificent.
graffiti metro
Elder Forsyth being a goof

Better go hop on the metro to meet up for some tea with Nigerian dude (don't worry it is fruit tea).
Two things for this week: SMILE and PRAY. Life is great when you do those two things.

All my love,

Beautiful building at night


Romanian pride!

Some nice clouds

Vlad Tepes's Original castle!

Wonderful Sunset in Bucuresti- Arcul de Triumf