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, April 24, 2017

So much more than a teacher, but nothing without The Lord!

Hello my friends! 

I hope you all are enjoying this spring season and the warmer weather that comes with it. Thankful that Romania is on the same longitude as Washington, because I feel right at home with how the weather is here! This last week was one of those weird fluke weeks where it was rainy and then sunny and then windy, etc. BUT this week looks like it will be full of blue skies and sunshine!!! 

I realized this week that I don't think I will ever be able to live in a place where it rains everyday... I feed off of the sun! Thankfully the Lord knows this and even though the weather didn't always cooperate, he blessed us with miracles this week. MIRACLES.
It all started on Monday morning. Elder Miller had just finished his 2000g protein whey jug thing and needed to get some more. This was obviously a need that needed to be replenished. It poured rain all day, which meant our regular sport activities for P-day were cancelled. We hopped on a bus and started our journey to what we thought was just to get protein. 
Our friend Vicky... went for a nice walk and some afternoon tea!

We had no clue what bus we were actually supposed to take and after asking a man for directions, we realized that we were going the wrong way. Something I love about Romanians is how friendly they are when you ask for directions. This man went out of his way to walk us IN THE RAIN, to the bus stop that we needed. What a guy! We are going to meet up with him and his family soon I hope. 

So we then waited for our bus stop. It was just us and another older lady. I struck up a conversation with her, and soon she was telling us about her grandaughter, what she does for work, etc. The conversation then turned to why we are here in Romania. For the whole us ride we talked about God, and at some point she mentioned that she was "separated from her husband a couple of months ago." I assumed that she meant they got a divorce, but then she asked me what I believe happens after death... Our stop quickly arrived, so we rapidly exchanged numbers and were on our way to get our protein. 

I was super excited to meet up with this lady, but didn't think much about the magnitude of our meeting. 

The rest of the week was just golden! We were blessed with finding some more individuals who are wanting to make changes in their lives and strengthen their relationships with God. I taught probably six lessons to our friends this week... that is more than I have EVER taught since being on my mission!

This wonderful opportunity to teach so many more people (ok "so many" means like four, but that is a whole heap in Romania, and four more than we started with!!) has reminded me that this gospel is for EVERYONE. The gospel of Jesus Christ and God's Plan of Happiness is designed for every single person who has and ever will live on this earth. Though universal, it is also designed to meet the needs of YOU individually. As a teacher and a representative of Christ, it is sometimes daunting to help your friends recognize the personal benefit that it has specifically for them. That is why in the Missionary Training Center we spent so much time focusing on teaching towards the NEEDS of those who you are teaching. 

Elder Miller and I had some great conversations about how to teach towards the needs of our friends. I have really enjoyed the challenge of teaching and learning how to be more effective. Preparing to teach is only half of the game, though. Without the Spirit of God to testify of the truth, it is almost near impossible to help the person being taught be truly touched by what I am saying. Often in my case, it is not even so much the words that are said, but the feeling that is manifested through my own desire and love towards the specific person or the testimony that I already have about something. 

Doctrine and Covenants 50:14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.

I truly felt like the Lord guided my words as I taught these wonderful children of God about their divine heritage and about eternal truths that will truly benefit them the rest of their lives and beyond. So thankful that at every hour, that which the Lord needed to have me say was given to me. 

So amidst other crazy happenings that just come from being a missionary in Romania, Saturday came around and we had scheduled to meet with the woman, Victoria, that we had met on that rainy Monday morning. 

We met up in the biggest natural park in all of Europe- Parcul Nicolae Romanescu. The weather turned out to be in our favor, so we decided to go for a little walk and then sit right next to the lake. We got to know each other a little more, but then the conversation quickly turned to what was really on her mind... her husband.

So first biggest piece of information- I found out that when she said, "separated" from her husband, she meant that her husband had passed away. And just seven months ago. 


And she started to get teary. As I looked at her and listened to her deepest feelings, it was clear that she just felt lost, in fact, she said, "I don't even know if I will see him again." My heart ached for this broken-hearted lady. 

Elder Miller and I had just had a talk about how the Plan of Salvation gives us so much perspective and comfort in our lives, and that we honestly don't know how we would live without the knowledge that we can live with our family's forever. To see the exact opposite of this was just moving.

As we sat on that bench with the sun reflecting off the pristine lake, I testified to her that I know she will see her husband again. Right when I said these words, she broke down. Those were probably some of the most important words that she will ever hear in her life... FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER. How is this possible? Through God's perfect plan and because of Jesus Christ!!!

We then taught her the Plan of Salvation and she loved it. It makes so much sense and that is because it is TRUE. We were able to comfort this lady when the whole world seemed to be crashing down on her. But it wasn't truly us, we were on the Lord's errand- being His hands and healing this woman's soul. This lady is so ready for more. I am just counting down the hours until I can help her have more peace and help her see the importance of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I have reflected a lot about this experience, and I am just more and more amazed at how the Lord, in his own way, sent us to this lady on a rainy day, to tell her that she would see her husband again... and it was so much more that just that! Aside from being this lady's friend, she is now on the path to finding more peace and happiness than she has ever had in her life. This is all a result because of God's great and merciful plan for us. 
This picture... would require a lot of explanation. Just enjoy laughing at it.

I know that God is REAL and loves us individually. This week I saw evidence of this. How humbled and honored am I to be on His errand and do His work. Being a missionary is so much more than being a teacher, it is about doing what Christ did while he was here on this earth: healing, comforting, ministering, serving. Each day I get to strive to be more like the greatest missionary of all. Hallelujah! 

BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE BEST WITH ALL CAPS. My heart is bursting with new found joy that truly comes from only being in the service of our God. Serving a mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life... and I am only a quarter of the way done!!! 
Games night with our friends (the two members of the branch in Craiova)

I love all of you and pray that we might always be worthy to be the Lord's servants!!




  1. I love reading your words. I also love ❤️ how you apply the weaving of narration, description, and dialog to make Romania come alive for me. (Sitting by a "pristine" lake on a sunny day as you taught our friend about eternal families--I felt as if I was sitting there too, feeling her dispair--and then joy!)
    I love that you love being on the Lord's errand!
    PS My niece just got her call last night to Budapest Hungary! She just got the highest award at Utah State--in music--opera--and she is way outgoing, so Budapest is lucky to get that girl!

  2. I am a friend of your grandparents. (And I can't believe those two very young looking people are your grandparents.). I am not a Mormon/LDS member but Tom keeps telling me to read The Book of Mormon and I will KNOW its all TRUE. I'm a tough sell BUT I keep telling him that I doubt whether reading the Book would have as strong an impact on me as just reading your blog entries. Reading them makes me feel better about where the world is headed. I especially like the way you emphasize the Christian/religios experience, rather than the doctrine and you find your way to the TRUTH through the experience and the knowing you find in your experience. I also really love to hear you explain how the Holy Spirit is there with you as you witness (that would be the old Baptist term--you seem to call it "teaching")--and that you can ACTUALLY FEEL the presence of the Spirit. Keep up the good work. This Presbyterian in Wilmington DE is learning a lot about what it means to be a Mormon/LDS member and to know the TRUTH through your experience. So your mission is having effects even beyond Romania. Tom will still want me to read, of course, but I'm learning a lot of what I think he wants me to know from your Blog!

    --John Johnston. May 1, 2017