Write Landon a Letter


Elder Landon Aldana
741 Plummer Road (appt 1503)
Hunstville Al, 35806

Monday, June 22, 2015

the secret to why all of the food down in the south is so great

I guess I have started to learn a little bit more about Alabama now so I’ll give you a little bit of what I’ve learned, this week was a lot of tracking and we only met a few people but I’ll give you some stories anyway that I hope you can learn if you ever decide to come down here.

This week was a very good week; it was the first time that we had gone fishing on p-pay. One of the members was asking us if we wanted to come catch some fish in his pond in his backyard. It was a lot of fun to get out and relax and catch some fish. We were fishing for "brim?" We were using this GIANT bamboo rod that was about 15 feet long. You would put a cricket on it and plop it in the pond. We had a lot of fun.

I have also discovered the secret to why all of the food down in the south is so great. The trick is that you have to wrap everything in bacon....... EVERYTHING. We had green beans wrapped in bacon, chicken, and JalapeƱos it just gives everything a little bit better of a taste...... and makes you a little bit bigger.

Black people are HILARIOUS!!! Not only do they just have a great sense of humor, but there just have so much energy, there not afraid of what people with think or say so you can just have a lot of fun and be yourself around them. I’ve met some of my best friends down here in just a short little while getting to know them.

From our mission president we got some quote from other missionary's, from what they had said about their area. THEY ARE PERFECT for describing the church and just the place down here. They make me laugh every time I read them because of how true they are. Here my favorite ones. Just to give you an idea. :)

       "In the Bible it says that Jesus was olive skinned. There are only two types of olives, green and black, and Jesus definitely wasn't green." How could I argue with that logic?

      Priesthood meeting was one of those Southern moments where the first 15 minutes was talking about guns. 

     You know you're in the South when you see a chicken on the other side of the road and a farmer with no shirt on wearing a straw hat comes running up to you yelling; "Ma chicken got loose! Help me get ma chicken fer me! Gonna eat that dern thing fer dinner tonight I'm so mad!"

I love this place, if I had to move down here I don't think I would be super pumped but it does have some of the best moments for sure. I’m super glad that I’m able to be here, the church is true. God is moving the work forward every day. P.S. Happy father’s day pop, love you.

love you guys
Elder Aldana

Monday, June 15, 2015


MOMS GOING ON TREK!!! She might die. Are you sure that you want to go and sleep in the middle of nowhere in a tent.....  I think it’s going to be a blast, I love the birthday present. The cookie dough blew up in the package.... so there was oats, and flour, and who knows what else all over everything, but it worked out just fine. Also I’ve been taking a few pictures... I’ll have to take some pictures this week and when we go to the temple next week I’ll send my card home so you can’t have some pictures. That's good that Chance is in good ol Texas. If he thinks everyone’s Baptist over there... ooooo boy. I could count the number of people that are not Baptist down here on 1 hand.... just kidding it’s a very large majority down here are Baptist, then Methodist, then church of Christ, then Presbyterian/Pentecostal, then Catholic, then the Mormons... but most of the Baptist are really nice and open to talk, you just got to watch out for the preachers. They will get ya and they’re not very nice haha.

Today we're going fishing with the ward. And we're going to have like 5 fish fries. So summers coming. our friend JP, he’s the one going on his mission to Brazil, had a party on Saturday, his dad was telling us about "REAL REDNECK".... he said they took their tractor and would drive it as close as they could to the creak without driving into it. Would then raise the bucket up as high as it would go, and climb up onto the tracker and jump off the bucket into the creek. Haha, I can’t even tell you most much I wanted to go with them but we can’t swim so we were not able to join in the fun.

Camden is doing super good, and yes I feel like I literally have met everyone in Camden. :) but that's what makes it so much fun haha, it’s really hard to stay working "hard!" down here because there's not a whole lot for us to do. But we are working, even if that working is just talking with the random person at the store for the 5 time this week and getting to listen to their week and what's happened. And trust me I think we should chance church to 2 1/2 hours everywhere, it’s just super good haha. One of my friends in my last area was just saying that he wished church was 2 1/2 hours some days :)

Something that happened this week happened when we were tracking in a part that we had not gone before but kind of had an idea of what was over there but hadn't gone ourselves. So we started off tracking, and a few houses in I knock on this one door, who then responds as most people do "COME IN!!!!!" so you pretend you didn't hear them because I hate walking into houses blind, so you respond with "ITS THE MISSIONARIES!!!" they then follow "I SAID COME IN", by now you have already opened the door about half way and stick your head around the corner to see what all is going on.

This time the house that I peeked into was FULL. There were about 10 people in there T.V. Blasting; the mom is putting a weave into their daughter’s hair. The house is full of smoke, kids running around. so you don't want to hold them up anymore than you are so you yell into the room "we’re missionary's and were going around sharing this book called the Book of Mormon" as I wait for a response I go to look over to Elder Anderson, but the doorway is too small for the both of us, so I’m the only one in the house and the only one that can see what’s going on. After a few seconds of no one daring to say anything, you have to assume they no one has any idea what’s going on. So you ask if it would be all right to say a quick prayer before you leave

Now you got everyone's attention, everyone starts to quiet down and turn off the T.V. and wait for you to pray, I LOVE PRAYING IN THE SOUTH. Nothing is better than praying and every now and then you hear this, "AMEN!" or a "YES PLEASE!" I’m telling you, I could pray all day if that how everyone was for my prayers. I totally understand why people like preaching so much. I think we should have some amens in our church back at home. After I finished praying we asked if we could come back,- no response so we left.

When y'all told me that Alabama was a different world, let me testify that this place really is as far from anywhere else in the U.S. Right now I’m in the poorest county in all of Alabama. I would dare say one of the poorest counties in the U.S. but the love that these people show to us, regardless of how the feel about our message, really shows me how people can be happy, truly happy even when they have nothing. "Do something good today" that's what I try and live by every day.

I love Alabama, I Love Y'all at Home. Missions are the best/worse 2 years of your life, but never regrettable.

Elder Aldana

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yes sir..... We are starting to sweat!

Yes sir..... We are starting to sweat! This week was HOT, haha. I don't know how hot everyday has been but I know Saturday it was 91* and we rode about 15 miles. I got COOKED. Never in my life have I sweat so much. I didn’t know you could get that wet and still ride a bike. It was like we were just swimming down the road haha. Even walking gets you starting to sweat. But it’s been really good down here. Everything is starting to come together better than we ever thought it would.

Here’s a cool fact for y'all. Montgomery south Zone of the mission (or my zone) has had 0 baptisms in the last 7ish months. Last month we had the highest baptisms in the mission, we got 8. THAT’S CRAZY!!!!. It really goes to show that it’s your attitude that shapes your area, or at least played a major factor. It’s amazing to see a Zone that was dead for a long time jump back into life, as we missionaries are obedient and go to work. A clip from our mission president a few weeks ago.

I have great confidence in each of you missionaries in the Alabama Birmingham Mission. This isn’t just any old mission. They can send any old missionary to any old mission. This is the Bible belt. This is the buckle of the Bible belt! This is plain old difficult fun! And they only send ROCK-SOLID STARS to this mission. 

I add my testimony that the south is not a place where you can come out halfhearted and find any joy out here. Just like our good old mission president says, these are the 2 rules of the mission. 1) I know my mission president loves me. 2) Never Give Up.

It’s very easy to find problems with your mission but these last few weeks I’ve watched Camden where I was told nothing happens and everyone didn't like missionaries, go to a place I don't know why people could ever hate. It’s just so GREAT! This place is the coolest place I’ve ever been. Right now I’m sitting across from 5 people. Of the 5 I know 4 of them on a fairly good basis; I just talked with the librarians about Utah, and my family, and learned more about their family and about what they did the last few days. I don't know any other place that I can walk outside, and know about 50% of the people I see.

This week I’ll give you a little bit of a taste of what it’s like on an average day here. We’ll get up, I'll clean the dishes and work out my knee for a little bit. We’ll take a cold shower, (because our water heater blew up) now that I’m more than 110% awake we eat and start our studies. We’ll study for a few hours and then get on our bikes/or car, and we'll go for as far as the road takes us. Once we hit a 4 way stop we park the car and get our bikes. And start riding.

Once you find a house and talk with the person, your next house is about a 5 to 10 minute bike ride, down a dirt road, or the paved road. And that's how you go about finding people. It’s CRAZY, Yesterday we rode our bikes for 2 hours and met 5 people. We rode down a dirt road for most of the time. We’ll come home, cool off for about 10 minutes and then go to the church for some branch activity we have planned. Enjoy the company of the 1 branch member that showed up and return home for the night.

WOW that's Alabama.... That's the south, all the while it takes you all of your brain just to understand what people are saying. This week we were walking around dollar general, and one of the workers, E started talking with us for a little bit. She’s this SUPER funny black lady that we see a lot around town and in the store, but just talking with her about really what we do, has made me really see how were effecting this place. I love this place here. I can’t put into words how much I love this mission. It’s no doubt the hardest thing in my life, but it’s the most rewarding thing in my life.

I love you all

Elder Aldana.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It’s only JUNE, we're in for a hot summer

It sounds like everything is moving along just as well over there on that side of the world as it should be. I just hope y'all are not all getting washed away with all the rain that we have been getting the last few weeks. Down here it’s a little different, because it rains all night, and then in the morning the sun comes out and it gets SUPER humid outside. A few days ago we were out bike tracking and I swear by the time you start riding, and you get down the gravel, you’re already starting to sweat. And it’s only JUNE, we're in for a hot summer haha.

But on a better note THANKS FOR THE BIRTHDAY WISH. I was just thinking about it, and was like WAIT!!!!. It’s my birthday this week, yaaaa I’m so old. but then I remembered it was just on a Friday so we were going to be doing the same thing anyway, but next P-day were going to have a party of something fun. Who knows, I’ll have to send you some pictures home from the last few weeks. They have been some fun few weeks. We skinned a snake. We played some super fun street-ball with the kids in Selma. Got a picture with an alligator. Found this super middle of no where place called Coy. Where the typical conversation goes something like this. "Hi I’m Elder Aldana"..... "I'm Martavious... don't go next door there’s a crack head..." and we move on haha. It’s a trip but I love it.

Last week was a super good week. Elder Anderson and I are working together much better than we were the last week or so. We have been getting out of the house a lot more, and are able to really go around and work in Camden. We have been having a lot of what we call T.O.A.S.T. situations. TOAST is Take Over Awkward Situations Toast. It’s something we try and use a lot when we "Teach where we find." What I mean by that is most of the time the people that we get to see are in- Parking lots, Windows, and Doorsteps. For the most part you just have to start planning on teaching everyone that you see. Not just the people that you want to.

Something SUPER cool happen this week, we were riding our bikes super far down this road called hi28, and we had been riding a good bit. I would guess we were about 7 miles away from home. We had just finished teaching a lesson, to this fellow that had pulled into his driveway right as we were leaving. We're at the top of the dirt hill about to pull back onto the road when we looked up. I KNEW we were going to get soaking wet before we got even close to our house. So I was kind of bummed out, because I hate getting soaking wet.

All of a sudden this man pulls down the dirt road and stops us, he’s an older fellow. He gets out of his truck doesn’t really say anything, but kind of looks over and gives us this super nice/ crooked smile. Shakes our hand says, "Hey I’m Glen, how are you guys doing?" this guy was just one of the best people that I’ve ever met. He was I think about 65 years old, he would drive to different states and just walk around. He lived in this trailer way out in the middle of nowhere. He was just sooooooo cool. He just invited us to come on over anytime, and then says throw your bikes in the truck, I’ll take ya home.

It was just a really good experience for me. We were not only able to see someone that we had not ever met, but it was also just a super good feeling that this man Glen brought with him. We haven't been able to see him again because he was driving up to Michigan to walk around everywhere, but I can’t wait to get to see him again. He’s super cool, he's just awesome.

The work down here is good. We are able to go out and see a lot of people. This week we were able to have a second lesson with this lady named Lekisha. She’s the first lady that we have been able to have 2 lessons with, so we're super excited. We’re hoping to stop by this Thursday again and try and teach her again, she’s a really awesome lady also. She lives in this trailer with her husband and her 2 year old girl. We’re both just really excited to be able to go see her again. She’s very nice and always welcomes us.

Anyway, I love this place. I feel like I fit right on in with everyone. Once I started talking about 50% slower I was basically part of the family down here. I miss you guys sooo much, love ya lots. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE BIRTHDAY VIDEO.

Love Elder Landon Aldana