Alex's Mission Address:

Elder Alex McLean Ditto

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

Email -

Monday, July 31, 2017

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

Hey family!! 

This week was an interesting one. Kind of a week of opposites in fact. There were some incredibly uplifting experiences with friends who are looking for truth and more happiness in their lives, and then there were some experiences that were not so much like that. 
Just enjoying life as a missionary.
To start with the most amazing experience of the week- it begins with our friend, Florin. We have known Florin for quite a while now, and after a series of amazing meetings with him, he began to deeply consider our message. He began to read the Book of Mormon, to pray, read talks from the prophets and apostles, you know, all of the things that qualify you to receive the promised blessings from God! As he did these things with real intent and a sincere desire to find out if it was true, God gave him an answer, that the Book of Mormon is true, and the He really does care about Florin. This alone brings so much joy to my heart. To see a young man who is pure in heart and eager for truth something is awe-striking. 
European architecture... never gets old

Church squad of Mihai Bravu

We asked President Hettinger and his wife if we could have a lesson at their home with Florin. They were of course extra nice and prepared an Italian dinner equipped with monster cookies (yes, my favorite!) at the end. The Hettinger family are some of the nicest people that I have ever met. I can see the light of Christ in them and their desire to follow the Savior with true purpose of heart. 
Cismigiu model shot in the rain

As we talked after dinner with Florin all together, the spirit began to fill the room. It was fitting, considering the fact that the lesson was focused on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. As we shared our own experiences with one another, read verses from the Bible and Book of Mormon, and testified, there was no doubt that everyone in the room was filled with the conviction that what we were speaking about was true. 
Photo credit- Elder Bontempo

I felt the spirit especially strong two times. Well three. No four... AH JUST SO MANY TIMES!

The first was when I shared a story about receiving guidance from the Holy Ghost in a crucial moment of my life, when I was deciding whether or not to do Running Start. I could feel the truth and power in my words as I testified of the reality that the Spirit does guide us in our lives. 

The second was when Sora Hettinger invited Florin to be baptized... the invitation to be baptized is an invitation to follow Christ and receive the blessings that he has promised us when we make the covenant of baptism. 

The last one I will mention is when Florin bore his testimony. Whether he knew it or not, he was bearing witness of truths that were so simple and pure, ones that the Savior taught long ago, but are ever so much essential in our lives. The Book of Mormon, repentance, following the prophet, all of these things he testified with a pure heart. And the spirit was incredibly strong. His testimony strengthened mine, the spirit at that time witnessed to me again that this work is true- that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again to the earth! Hallelujah!
Our favorite means of contacting

Got stuck outside in a rain storm..

Well now I don't even want to talk about the negative experiences... to keep it brief- a lot of people this week also questioned and challenged the idea that one can receive a divine witness from God that something is true. Placebo effect, energy, there is no God, being raised in a certain environment... these are some examples of the doubts that were presented to me. It saddened me, because these people weren't willing to experiment upon the word- to take the challenge that by the power of the Holy Ghost you might know all things. Yes, that means reading with a heart willing to change and do the will of God! I realized that no matter how much you try to talk them into it, my words are at no use if I don't have the spirit, or if they are not willing to listen to the feelings that they receive that come from the Holy Ghost- the source to finding all truth!

John 1426 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

This is true, and how wonderful is it that I have the opportunity to help other people receive the gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost! I know that the Holy Ghost is real, that the feelings we receive when something feels true, or the feelings of comfort we get when we are down or distressed don't come because of psychological feelings, but because of the fact that we are children of God, and He sent his son that through him we might be saved and have someone who will never leave us hanging- the Comforter- that same one that is mentioned in like a million verses of scripture not just in the Book of Mormon but the Bible too!!!
A little bit of English class promotion

Language study

It is really neat seeing these principles in a great light as I strive to live the gospel more fully and help others do the same- what a blessing!

Each one of you are a blessing in my life too- lets have a great week!

Your brother and friend rooting in Romania,


A pigeon pic for Chloe and Alysee!


University area

This dude had a sick bike... I showed him the sick book!
Real Mexican food... I am in heaven!

Monday, July 24, 2017

He's in the details

Woo nelly!!! Another fast-paced week here in the capital of Romania. 
The streets of Buc

Well, turned 19 this week which is crazy to me! I am really grateful that I chose to go on my mission at 18- this year has been full of adventures, opportunities, triumphs, heart-aches- all for my good. I am truly grateful that I can be a missionary for the Lord, and see His children of Romania a little more like he does. 
George... a true friend.

La Multi Ani!

PUMPED about the ultra star!

Flower from Mirela and cake from George 

Birthday party!

Dream come true.. Bucharest Open!

Fun birthday night

The longer I am out, the more I realize how simple my mission should be. I have used a lot of different contacting, teaching, and studying methods in the pass year and I think I am finally starting to understand what really works for me, and what the Lord wants and expects from me. 

There is this book. It is called the Book of Mormon! Most of the world doesn't really have a clue about what is really contained in the book. Those who read it understand that it is a book claimed to be written by ancient prophets that lived in America before and after Jesus Christ, that contains the record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent. Those who truly study out the words, with a desire to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, will come to the realization that it is so much more than just a history book, but holy scripture that is written for these latter days! It contains the word of God- the Gospel of Jesus Christ in it's purest state! It contains stories of the triumphs and heart-aches of fathers, brothers, kings, and servants, and if carefully read and applied, it will change your life and you will feel the love of God for you more fully.

This is what I shared this week with a whole heap of people. We decided to do "Book of Mormon" contacting with a lot of the elders in our zone... the most success I have had on my mission regarding teaching people about the Book of Mormon! We stood near the entrance of a park and just started conversations with anyone who was willing to talk. It is incredible to see how so many people have the desire to strengthen their relationship with God in this world... it is a universal craving because GOD IS OUR FATHER. What a miracle it is that God gave us another book of scripture to help remind us of this and help us come closer to him. I know that this is true because I see it in the details of my life everyday.

Back to the part where I said that God is our father. He is more than just a father, he is our LOVING Heavenly Father. This is something that I have truly come to more fully understand not just this week, but every day of my mission. 

Here is a little witness-

It was blistering hot on my birthday, and there we were, at the entrance of Cismigiu park doing what we do best. After a solid two hours of talking and testifying, we decided to head out. As we were walking down the street we heard a loud "pop" noise and saw an old car pull over on the side of the road. We noticed the tire was flat and so we ran over there. 
Team Les Schwab

Thirty minutes later, the old lady's spare wheel was all snug on the axle and ready to be driven away (there might have been some minor issues along the way like having one of the lug nuts supporting the weight of the car as we had to readjust the jack...). The kind old lady was so thankful and was in a rush trying to get to a ceremony of some sort. She was able to leave quickly and not be too late to her event. 

I love two things about this experience.

1. All of the Romanians who passed by us just stared and many told us that we were not going to be able to fix the tire. I think they forgot that they were talking to four Eagle Scouts who are from the land of Les Schwab...

2. And most importantly... I realized that the hand of God was in this. God knew that we would be walking down the street right when the lady's tire would pop. We were able to answer the call of duty and help her out, just as Christ would have done. Truly, God cares about that woman and wants her to be happy, because he IS her loving Heavenly Father. He cares about each one of us and wants us to have success and happiness. What a blessing that I got to witness this!

Well, I am currently out of time, but just in some other news, my birthday was great; I was really treated like a king by many people. I had an incredible birthday dinner form the amazing Sora Gorzo with homemade tiramisu cake... YUM! I also got to go to the Bucharest Open tennis tournament... wow that was incredible. Yup, just living the life!

I love you all,

Elder Ditto
Cruisin in the maxi _taxi


The Brinarus!
Exchanges with Elder Cowser

Monday, July 17, 2017

Agency and Anchors

Hey everyone!!!

Man I forgot how busy summer is at our house, glad everyone is safe and happy! I have so many fond memories of the many activities that I did during summer throughout the years. When Dad told me I did that beach hike five years ago, I literally could not believe that... way too long ago!!! I really miss hiking in the northwest, but the Lord is making it up as he blessed me with many learning experiences and miracles this week.

Bucharest is a really special place. The work here is thriving, some may say it is because there are so many people in this immense and complex, communist-feeling city, others say because we have members and two chapels, cool places to meet people, etc. I think those points all have their place, but the biggest reason and factor is our dedication and faith in the Lord that we WILL find people. 
I love Romania!!!!

We were blessed with finding a lot of interested people, whether it be through our contacting efforts, calling area book contacts, or referrals from already investigator friends! We had the opportunity to have many lessons with our investigators with some of our awesome members from the Mihai Bravu branch, which was a huge blessing. When I see a Romanian testify of the truthfulness of the gospel to another Romanian, my heart melts a little. Christ is truly the head of his church and is strengthening his children in Romania to help others. I am reminded that it is not just my efforts that matter, but the collective effort between missionaries, members, and even friends of the church. Every action counts! People notice how members of the church behave! 
Coming home after a visit at a member's house

Chilling at the piata in Universitate

Some kendama slayers near our apartment... they were pretty impressed that I could play!

This week I learned a lot about myself through analyzing how I choose to act each day. To be honest, I was a grouchy-pants a couple of days this week. I was doing work, but I was letting some really small things get in the way of my attitude. 

Practicing my photography

Crazy how elaborate these churches are!

Some saints in the orthodox church

The church is designed like a cross

Where the priest chants scriptures from the bible

Witnessing painters paint some orthodox saints in a cathedral

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had the opportunity to stay in the Garden of Eden forever and have all of their needs taken care of. They were warned that if they partook of the forbidden fruit, they would "surely die." They weighed their two choices and used their agency to choose to partake of the fruit. This meant that they would be thrown out of the Garden of Eden and would become subject to temptation of the flesh. BUT this also meant that they would have the opportunity to overcome these temptations and PROGRESS. They fell that they, and everyone after them, might have joy. 
Me and my friend Lee from Korea

As I reflected on this over the past couple of days, I realized that I have the opportunity to choose for myself every day if I want to take part in this joy that will surely come if I progress, if I overcome the "natural man." 

2 Nephi 2:27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."

Where does this joy come from? Another scripture that I really loved this week has the answer...

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."

I know that this joy come from anchoring yourself to Jesus Christ. When we get a little shaken up on the surface, we can always re-direct ourselves if our anchor is our Savior. I know that joy comes from following the Savior and doing as he did and still does. I am grateful that I have the knowledge of the fullness of His gospel to help guide me in paths of righteousness in the midst of great darkness that surrounds us each day. 

This is what I learned as I taught others about this same principle. What a blessing it is to be on the errand of the Lord, and seeing His gospel give people the peace, the hope, the purpose that they are so desperate to find!

I love you all, and am thankful that I have such a wonderful family to be anchored to!

All my love,
Soccer on Pday!

Lunch with the Elders

Incredibly delicious dessert

Elder Bontempo and I... bros for life!
Elder Green and I on exchanges

Monday, July 10, 2017

God is Good, He Will Tell You!

Hey everyone! 

I am going to lightning write this letter because time is limited this week... just know that I am still 156 pounds, eating really healthy, I do my push-ups, and am 100% ALL IN. I love my mission.
Learning the trade of photography

Our 4th of July Feast.... the brownies weren't too shabby!

This week was actually really incredible. Number wise, we did not succeed, but that is a result of the agency of others- we spent our time preaching the gospel and receiving great training from the wonderful mission president and his wife. 
We love President Hettinger!

I have really enjoyed having this new opportunity to lead the masses, as it means special training. On Tuesday we had an incredible seminar with the leaders of the mission as to how we can move the work forward with more urgency and spiritually. Then on Thursday we had the Bucharest Zone Conference. 
Bucharest Zone... We are looking sharp!

Elder Giron and I enjoying the Leadership Conference and the 4th of July!

Elder Trottier and I... buddies for life

Elder Bontempo and I put it on and turned out to not only be a success food wise (KFC, veggies, and smoothies for all), but also spiritually. It is a great blessing to be apart of this great work and have no worries but for the welfare of others and my own relationship with my Savior. 

Elder Bontempo and I really used these two experiences to fuel our work the rest of the week- and we saw the Lord guide us to people who needed to hear our message daily. It is interesting to look at the two sides of being a missionary- 1) what regular people see and 2) what I see. I am positive (because of awkward experiences happen all the time) that most people think we are crazy, brain-washed dudes who never take off their suit and tie even when we shower. 
Everyday is a blast with this guy!

13 kilo watermelon... worth it!

The other side is what I see- this message that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the fullest has been an incredible source of peace and happiness and my life and I know that it can do this for not just me and my family, but for everyone! The catch is that we all have our own agency whether or not to accept.
Awesome Architecture

Which means, there is a third party of people... those who listen and choose to learn and apply. This is when my role as a missionary becomes very important and this is when I experience the most joy.
My brother

I have learned that sharing my testimony with others is a very essential part to this work. When people choose to listen to the message, they let go of the weirdness of the external situation, and turn inwards, even to their own relationship with their Father in Heaven. I spoke to some people who (thought) they weren't interested in religion, to then have a slight desire to know more, to hear the word of God. 

My favorite experience was having a conversation with an English student after class (we teach English classes weekly for service) about Jesus Christ. I pointed to the picture on the wall (Christ washing the Apostle's feet), and asked him if he could do what the King of Kings did... after all, the apostle's feet must have been pretty smelly!
Jesus washing disciples feet

A half hour later, we concluded our conversation that was truly lead by the spirit and pricked the heart of the man, to perhaps take action to the things we had talked about. I found it so incredible that someone who seemingly wasn't interested at first, could become so curious and open up his heart to the point where he asked his questions that his soul yearned to know. 

Moroni 7:16
 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man,that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

I know that all good things come from God, and he wants us to have happiness in our lives. He has provided EACH OF US a way to obtain this, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this is REAL... try it- if it is not of God, God will tell you!

I love each one of you, be safe this week with all of your travels!




Mirela suprised me at church today... She woke up at 5am and took a 4 hour journey to come to church her with me! It was amazing to catch up with her and see how the gospel of Jesus Christ has changed her... this work is real, and how grateful I am for her and her desire to come closer to her Savior!

Mirela Minunata!!!